2017 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello
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Description2017 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello, Santa Cruz Mountains, San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California, USA
Wine AdvocateDestined to rank as one of the all-time greats from Ridge, the 2017 Monte Bello opens in the glass with youthfully complex notes of ripe plums, cassis, espresso roast and black truffles, with little apparent trace of its time in 100% new oak. On the palate, it's full-bodied and incredibly concentrated, with a rich, layered mid-palate and immense substance that marks it out as the most richly tannic Monte Bello since 2013. As ever, the acids are vibrant, with a classic pH of around 3.5—notably lower than most Cabernet Sauvignons from contemporary Bordeaux or Napa Valley, thanks to this site's limestone soils and high altitude. At the time of writing, the blend is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, though that may change by the time it's bottled. Eric Baugher observes that fermentations were slow in 2017, which protracted the period of extraction, partially accounting for this vintage's power. It's still a baby, but this is a strong contender for a perfect score when it's bottled in over a year's time—and it should see out its 50th birthday in style.
VinousThe 2017 Monte Bello continues to develop beautifully. A heady, opulent wine, the 2017 also has tons of supporting structure to balance things out. Layers of dark red/purplish fruit give the 2017 remarkable primary intensity, with hints of licorice, mocha, dried flowers and menthol that build over time, hinting at the wine's ultimate potential. Sensual and exotic, but with plenty of tannic clout, the 2017 has a very bright future. Today, it is decidedly explosive. In 2017, the berries were small, and that high skin-to-juice ratio yielded a Monte Bello that is quite imposing in the early going.