2015 Ridge Monte Bello (Magnum)

Santa Cruz
77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc

100 points James Suckling

Stunning depth, power, purity and elegance. The blackcurrants and plums are fresh and intense on the nose with blueberries and gently herbal notes, too. The palate has a keenly articulated array of vibrant tannins that hold long, fresh and pure. It invokes a sense of wonderment at the finish. So long and so pure. This blend of 77 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 11 per cent merlot, seven per cent petit verdot and five percent cabernet franc, is just at the start of a wonderful journey. Try from 2021.

98+ points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous (Aug 2017)

In this tasting, the 2015 Monte Bello will soon take its place among the greatest Monte Bellos ever made. Powerful, deep and explosive, the 2015 possesses magnificent concentration and richness in every dimension. Even with all of its raciness, the 2015 has terrific aromatic presence and regal tannins. The 2015 is a bit less showy than it has been in the past, but it was also just bottled two weeks before this tasting. Readers who own it will be absolutely thrilled.

95+ Points The Wine Advocate

"At this early stage, the 2015 Monte Bello is all about potential. I followed a bottle over several days and only witnessed improvement. The wine unfurls in the glass with a rich bouquet of cassis, ripe plums, espresso roast, black tea and baking chocolate, lavishly framed by minty, spicy new oak — which is often at its most prominent at exactly this stage, when the wine is shutting down after bottling. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with rich, velvety tannins and beautifully succulent, even tangy acidity that lends amazing lift on the finish. The most obvious analogy is the 2005 vintage, though it also evokes a more elegant version of the 1995 Monte Bello. It’s a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc that attained 13.5% natural alcohol. Since the wine appears to be shutting down, I’d recommend forgetting it until its tenth birthday. Given its structure and balance, it should enjoy remarkable longevity." (95+ pts.)

Ridge Winery

Donated by the winery, this is a magnificent magnum (1.5L) bottle of Ridge Monte Bello. This wine will easily age in this format for 25 years.

Notes from the winery website

Winemaker's Notes

Dark ruby in color. Cassis and blackberry aromas, barrel spice, fennel, scented juniper, and cedar. Rich mountain fruit on entry, violets, black olive, refreshing acidity, and elegant tannins. Strong minerality in a long finish. EB (1/18)

Vintage Notes

A mild winter brought early bud-break. Unfortunately, cold temperatures returned and storms swept through during bloom reducing yields. Summer’s warmth hastened ripening for a September harvest. Grapes from twenty-four parcels fermented separately. Once barrel malolactic fermentation finished, we made our first selection in January. In April three wonderful lots were added at the second assemblage. This elegant vintage shows superb intensity. It will develop fully over the next thirty years.

77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc

100 Points – James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com
98+ Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
98 Points – J. D'Angelo, International Wine Report
95+ Points – William Kelley, The Wine Advocate