Three-Vintage Vertical of Ridge Estate Cabernet: The Other Half of #CabernetDay!

Have I been remiss? In exalting the wonders of our “Three Decades of Monte Bello” #CabernetDay tasting, did I inadvertently give short shrift to the three-vintage vertical of Estate Cabernet that we’ll also be tasting? Heaven forfend if I have!

This trio of wines comprises three vintages of what is, for my money, one of the absolute best price break-to-quality Cabernet offerings out there, anywhere. And yes, I am biased, but I really believe it! There is a tremendous amount of complexity and character on offer in these wines, and they are consistently made available at what I think are mind-bendingly competitive price breaks.

Don’t believe me? All the more reason to attend our very special #CabernetDay tastings! You might have heard these wines referred to colloquially as “baby Monte Bellos”, and while there is certainly some tangential validity to the comparison, I think you’ll find, should you be able to join us, that these wines speak for themselves, stand up for themselves, and very much demand recognition in their own rights.

For more about our #CabernetDay tastings, please click here, or if you just wish to cut to the chase, you can purchase tickets here.

And should you be interested, here are my most recent tasting notes (i.e. yesterday!) of this remarkable Cabernet vertical:


2006 Ridge Vineyards Estate Cabernet

(Santa Cruz Mountains Estate/Monte Bello Vineyards)

Good rush of opulent fruit on the nose, dominated by sweet red plum, co-mingling with some hints of black cherry skins. Shy trace of classic Monte Bello minty/eucalyptal herbaceousness woven throughout, and a dash of both black and white pepper; very complex aromatics all around … Nice round mouthfeel, with a gentle tannin underbelly supporting some layered baked blackberry and ollalieberry fruits. Tannins are elegant and nicely coated throughout … Acidity manages to be both bright and subtle, and the Petit Verdot brings a lovely floral layer and just a hint of cooler climate rusticity. A very complex, multi-tiered panoply of flavors wrapped into a very approachable, fruit-forward construct. An excellent reconciliation of easy drinkability and complex layering.


2005 Ridge Vineyards Estate Cabernet

(Santa Cruz Mountains Estate/Monte Bello Vineyards)

Good, strong amount of fruit on the nose, in congress with a dark and decadent low-tone layer, and a touch of forestation. Big, rich front palate at point-of-entry, with a strong presence from the tannin architecture, particularly in the lip-to-tooth realm. Mid-palate shows some very pleasing vanilla notes emerging, discreetly sweetening up the combination of umami savoriness and tart red fruit that continues to expand as the wine moves towards the finish. The finish itself is intensely structured; tannin forward and muscular. This is a wine that likes a lot of air at this point in its development; double-decanting and hearty swirling are highly recommended! As the wine opens, the wine shows more and more of its fruit-driven opulence, and this, combined with a good amount of structure, makes for a rich and full-bodied mountain offering.


2004 Ridge Vineyards Estate Cabernet

(Santa Cruz Mountains Estate/Monte Bello Vineyards)

An almost impossibly complex nose, with all the layers one wants from a cool-climate, mountain Cabernet-based blend; bright red fruit and dark black fruit, herbaceous fresh herbs and funkier dried herbs, sweet vanilla oak notes, and tart, piquant grapeskin notes … Every varietal is already doing its full dance by first sip; rich berry fruit from the cab, plushness and structure from the merlot, lavender and lilac florality from the Petit Verdot, and acidity and herbaceousness from the Cab Franc; just exquisite. The mid-palate gets good and country funky, and shows some nice, chalky tannins … The finish is long and vibrant, with a lot of acidity dancing over every portion of every taste sensor; not overtly structured, but certainly elegant and complex. Certainly rustic, and less fruit-centric, but rewardingly rich all the same.

Categories: Cabernet Sauvignon, Events, Monte Bello, Offerings, Santa Cruz Mountains Estate, Social Media, Tasting Flights, Tasting Notes, Varietals & Blends

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