2009 Ridge Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, Perrone, Monte Bello Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains.
The single block Cabernet Franc Perrone was planted at Ridge’s Monte Bello estate in 1972 and it has always been a small percentage of the blend when it is a compliment to the famed Monte Bello red, here it is solo and I was thrilled by what comes through in the glass, this is ripe and classy stuff, pure and with the power and grace of a fine Saint-Emilion! The 2009 Ridge Vineyards Perrone Cabernet Franc is wonderfully textured with a gorgeous full bodied and ripe mouth feel, it’s class and complexity are second only to the winery’s signature Monte Bello and this wine’s performance is nothing short of awesome, it’s layers unfold in utter brilliance, it’s very sexy and hedonistic stuff. With a dark garnet/red hue in the glass, only just less purple than Ridge’s Monte Bello and Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, the Perrone Cab Franc starts with lavish smoky oak, deep red fruits and an array of spice, cedar and rich cassis with sweet plum, currant, black cherry fruits, dried violets, sandalwood, a hint of green pepper, sage, earth and mineral notes. The effect of the American barrique is overt, with it’s creamy/smoky kiss of sweet vanilla, coconut oil and faint dill, like a great traditional Rioja, but without taking away from this beautiful and substantial wine, while the lush tannins hide the Perrone’s firm form, this wine has ages of life ahead, I only wish I had been able to get a few more bottles, as this is an extremely rare offering from Ridge, it is a wine that I begged for at their tasting room, throwing myself at their mercy, as I recommend anyone that goes to their tasting room(s) do, always ask about limited bottlings, like this one. With air things get even better, losing a bit of baby fat, adding a seductive delicacy and gaining an inner beauty and stunning length, at one point I just lost any words, I just had to admire every detail, it’s a remarkable American wine. Wow, Ridge never disappoints and I love this wine, it’s stellar now, though I suspect it will turn on the afterburners and get even better in another 5 to 7 years in bottle, with a projected peak between 2020 to 2028.
($55 Est.) 95+ Points, grapelive

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