1993ridgemonte1993 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello, Santa Cruz Mountains.
At 23 years old the 1993 Ridge Monte Bello is shockingly fresh and youthful, after having this wine a few times in the late nineties and that last time about 10 years ago, it was amazing where this wine is today, I think it must be the best wine from the vintage and maybe the most underrated or overlooked of the Monte Bello, squeezed between the fantastic vintages 1991, 1992 and the ultra glorious 1994, but it certainly has gorgeous sibling years to compare to, and over time I think it has, if not equaled them. 1993 was an odd year, in Napa the pigments were not quite right for the Cabernet and many thought the wines were not as deep or complex, but honestly I found them wonderfully true to varietal and lovely, Caymus didn’t even do a Special Select that year and put all their best juice into their regular Napa bottling, which I drank many of happily, even without the deepest color these wines were solid. That said, Ridge high above Cupertino in the Santa Cruz Mountains did not suffer from any such issues, but back then if Napa had problems the whole vintage was down graded, no matter where you were in the state, so some of these 1993 wines never got the credit they deserved, and that certainly is true of this beautiful 1993 Ridge Monte Bello, ten years ago I tasted it along side 1994 and 1995 with winemaker Eric Baugher, and while the 1994 is and was a masterpiece one of California’s all time legends, the 1993 was very very close to it! Today, or yesterday Dec 5, 2016, tasting it at Ridge from Coravin, it was true stunning in every way with vibrant detail and length, showing purity and class, the deep garnet hued 1993 was 86% Cabernet, 7% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot and was 12.9% Alcohol, it has a real Haut-Brion feel about it with layered elegance and medium/full density showing blackberry, dusty plum, cassis and red cherry fruits, hints of smoke, dark floral notes, cedar and loamy earth as well as mineral tones, tobacco leaf, sage and black licorice lingering with vanilla, blueberry and briar spice. I was blown away at how young it still tasted, vivid and with firm, but supple tannin, this was really an exceptional bottle for sure, but anyone that has this wine still cellared away is going to want to drink it, it is stellar right now, though it should, if like this particular bottle, last another 10 to 15 years easy! It is always a pleasure to taste at Ridge, and to time travel, I’m grateful to everyone at Ridge for a magical winter Monday experience.
($185+ Est.) 96 Points, grapelive

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