2018 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon
Santa Cruz Mountains, California
2018 was a TINY vintage for Monte Bello but the quality is through the roof. The vintage received the second-highest score from Wine Spectator in its history of reviewing the wine. 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, all grown organically. Opaque, saturated ruby in color. Aromas of cassis, fennel, cola, clove-nutmeg spice, toasted oak, wet crushed stone, black tea, and sweet dry chaparral. Palate of ripe cassis, blackberry, and mountain bramble. Lively acid and polished velvety tannins with a smooth, full body and long finish showing limestone mineral and forest floor. Drink this over the next 20 years.
97+ points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. "I tasted the 2018 Monte Bello as a finished barrel sample during the annual Ridge Monte Bello Tasting Final Assemblage event; the blend was 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 11% Petite Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. It has a medium to deep ruby-purple color and youthfully primary nose with boysenberry, blueberry jam, blackcurrant, dark chocolate-covered cherries, cigar box, graphite, loamy earth and oodles of floral character. The palate is medium to full-bodied and packed full of flavor layers, knit by very fine, ripe, pixelated tannins and great freshness and finishing very long."
97 points, James Suckling. "A bright and beautiful Monte Bello with dark and black fruit, such as blackcurrants, as well as walnuts and hints of vanilla. Full-bodied with creamy tannins that are there from start to finish. Turns lightly dusty. Beautiful length. Really pure and focused. Needs time to come together completely, but already a beauty. Drink after 2025."
97 points, Wine Spectator. "Very expressive, with warmed blueberry compote, menthol, sweet bay, steeped açaí and zesty sassafras notes all in the mix, carried by brambly grip and a cold cast iron spine. Late echo of mesquite completes this remarkably complex and vivid offering. Should be fun to watch this develop in the cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2042."
96 points, Antonio Galloni's Vinous. "The 2018 Monte Bello is a wine of extraordinary finesse. Although it doesn’t have the body or overt richness of some recent vintages, it more than makes up for that with its total sense of harmony. Lavender, mocha, spice, licorice and dried flowers all develop in a sublime, refined Monte Bello that will thrill Ridge lovers. This is an especially elegant, lithe vintage for Monte Bello that is marked by a dry year with no heat spikes and a very long harvest that wrapped up in late October."