Ridge Fall Release Party

Monte Bello Vineyard
Tasted Saturday, September 3, 2011 by danstrings with 1,398 views

Introduction

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A gorgeous September afternoon in the Santa Cruz mountains, fall releases, two great vintages of Ridge Montebello, wood fired organic pizza, and Paul Draper mingling with his huge snowball of a dog. There was a lot to like about the Ridge fall release party! Guests were welcomed with a nice taste of the Montebello chard, a perfect summer sipper...

Flight 1 (1 Note)

Flight 2 (4 Notes)

Next came the zin and blends from then fall release. Absolutely perfect with the wood fired pizzas, these were classic Ridge. And the pizzas evaporated before the eyes almost as fast as the wines did!

Flight 3 (2 Notes)

With the legendary Paul Draper himself! Paul Draper loves to mingle at these events and happily talks history, vineyards, blends, et al while valiantly keeping his huge poofy dog on the leash and keeping an eye on the dog's whining. The dog rules the roost, and lack of attention for a zillisecond or more and you'll hear all about it :-)
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  • 1992 Ridge Monte Bello 92 Points

    USA, California, Santa Cruz Mountains

    80% cab, 11% merlot, 9% PV. Effusive nose of crushed stone/charcoal, tar and mushroomy loamy earth. Some of that dried berry, dusty cavey goodness. Tannic and still youthful. Nice.

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  • 2008 Ridge Monte Bello 93 Points

    USA, California, Santa Cruz Mountains

    72% cab, 28% merlot. Wonderful, youthful nose -- spices, cherry, loamy minerally earth, thyme... oak present but not intrusive. Juicy and unctuous yet balanced.

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Closing

The final treats were the '92 and '08 Montebellos side by side. '92 is of course a legendary vintage and kinda kicked off the "new age" of sought-after California cabs. Kudos to Ridge for keeping pricing in line and sticking to their style. The similarities were striking in the wines -- although sixteen years apart. Good earthy, loamy, mushroomy minerality are threads throughout. The '08 of course being younger, wilder and sexier. The '92 was still absolutely gorgeous and at a great balance of fruit and development.

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I’ve tried several Montebellos over the years, Including a ’91 out of half bottle recently that was still youthful even out of .375. If there’s a California red you can chalk up to ageworthiness it’s Montebello for sure. Like older Dunn cabs, it ages beautifully.

And I remember tasting the ’08 Montebello at Ridge at their barrel tasting a few years back. 2008 was a very dry year (remember the Bay Area water warnings?) and yields were low but quality was good. Out of barrel the ’08 was sexy and wild, with good spicy oak used judiciously. Interesting how after three years all the components have settled and mellowed some, but the juicy unctuousness is still there.

These wines are almost in slow-motion how they age, if this is sixteen years!

A final stroll through the vineyards and a great afternoon at Ridge...

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