2011 Ridge Vineyards - Monte Bello (94 pts) @ridgevineyards6/21/2021, 7:19:35 AM
2011 Ridge Vineyards - Monte Bello (94 pts) @ridgevineyards · 🙋♂️ Thoughts on American Oak in wine❓· ℹ️ This wine is 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc from the estate Monte Bello vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA of California. This is by far the most famous wine of the appellation and one the most acclaimed of California. The 2011 vintage had one of the coolest summers in Northern California covered in persistent fog. The Monte Bello vineyard is at the top of the Santa Cruz Mountains (1300-2700 ft) and sat above the fog, allowing the grapes to stay in the sun. That being said this is the California's coolest Cabernet Sauvignon producing region. The grapes were hand harvested, destemmed with whole berries, native yeast fermentation, and 8 days of skin maceration. The wine was aged for 16 months in 99% new American oak barrels. 1% was new French oak for comparison· 👁 Deep ruby color with a pale rim· 👃 Medium+ intensity on the nose. Aromas of ripe blackberry, black currant, black plum, oak, sawdust, cedar, sun-dried tomato, tomato leaf, graphite, and vanilla· 👄 The wine is dry, medium+ acidity, medium+ spicy tannins, medium alcohol, and full body. A long length finish of blackberry, graphite, and tomato leaf· 🔔 Tasted blind against 2 other 2011 California Cabernets and while they were all good, this was phenomenal 🙌. It was super complex with great black fruit concentration, ripe pyrazines, and the prettiest American oak ever put on a wine. Seriously most new American oak can be clumsy, but they work closely with coopers to pick staves that are air dried for many years. The alcohol is only 12.8% ABV 😱. These wines are a perennial favorite and showcase the underrated terroir of the Santa Cruz Mountains.