2006 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello Santa Cruz Mountains.
The Ridge Monte Bello is an iconic California wine, one that has a long and remarkable track record for greatness, so it is always a pleasure to taste it, and especially to be able to try a vintage a few years after release, like this 2006, so many thanks to Ridge Vineyards for letting me sample this wonderful wine. I always think Monte Bello is like crossing Chateau Margaux with Chateau La Mission Haut Brion, but all the while being a true California wine with a sense of it’s own terroir. The 2006 Monte Bello is close to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon with a good dose of Merlot, plus tiny amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot all of which is close to normal for Ridge and it works beautifully in this pretty and elegant red. Monte Bello usually takes a few years in bottle to fill out, and the 2006 is just starting to flap it’s wings and flex it’s muscles showing acacia flowers, graphite, smoke and creme de cassis before a richly textured palate of blackberry, plum and lots of cherry fruit while tobacco leaf, sage spice, mineral tones and cedar all add to the complexity of this refined Bordeaux blend. The spicy and sweet wood notes frame the wine in a very soft and subtle way and while the tannins are silky there is lots of grip and a long life ahead for this classic wine. As a note, wine buyers that are considering top wines for their cellars should invest in Monte Bello, these wines are as good as the First Growths and the price is less than a fourth, making it a fantastic value, and for the record I bought one to put away and will continue to buy them, as well as the Estate Cabernet.
($145 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive

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