So of course I looked through my lists of suppliers to see what they had to offer states wise. There were quite a bit to choose from, London does have that advantage point to have close links with the States as well many Americans do live in London. I made up a list and highlighted which ones should be taken in consideration. Ridge Monte Bello Proprietary red wine was one of them.
So I ordered a couple of cases and when delivered he was of course intrigued to try, so thankfully, he had a dinner planned, so the opportunity presented itself effortlessly. The vintage I purchased was the 2005. Of course I had a taste before presenting to make sure it was at the right temperature, had enough breading time and if it had no default (corked). I still remember the look on his face, spoke a thousand words. Moving forward, last weekend in full surprise Ridge Monte Bello 2005 represented itself and boy what a feast it was.
I was at a friends place for a casual dinner with some of his friends and he was quite upbeat from the moment I entered his house, He is in general a very positive and friendly guy, but this time the buzz was definitely affecting all of us. We were all a bit intrigued why and what is there to come, as I knew his affinity for wine, I was hoping it might have to do something with that, damn right I was.
When the bottle arrived on the table, all smiles and shine was there to be seen 360 degrees.
He told us that he could lay his hands on 6 bottles and that he knew how I spoke about this wine some time ago and that you should definitely try it if you get the chance. Well, I can tell you that memories came back as if it was yesterday when I taste Ridge Monte Bello for the first time.
Ridge history begins in 1885, a man named Osea Perrone a doctor and prominent member of the San Francisco Italian community. He bought 180 acres of land on the top of the Monte Bello Ridge. In 1892 he produced the first wine under the name Monte Bello winery. In 1940 it was bought by William Short bought the abandoned winery and vineyard. He replaced several parcels to Cabernet Sauvignon, but quickly it was bought up by Stanford research engineers, Dave Bennion, Hew Crane Charlie Rosen and Howard Ziedler. This cabernet sauvignon was already then one of the finest wines in California. The first Zinfandel was produced in 1964, followed by the first Geyserville Zinfandel in 1966. In 1969 Paul Draper joint the team and the estate was then producing under three thousand cases a year. Paul shaped things even sharper and quality became very consistent, Ridge built and settled its reputation on a global level. In 1991 they acquired Lytton springs in Sonoma county, reinforcing the brand even more. Today world wide this estate is known for its persistent high level quality wine and one of America's greatest.
1885; San Francisco Doctor Osea Perrone buys 180 acres on Monte Bello Ridge
1886; Dr. Perrone plants vineyards and begins construction on the stone and redwood Monte Bello Winery.
1892; Construction complete on the Montebello winery and the first wine under the label Montebello winery is produced.
1920; The original vineyards are abandoned due to enactment of prohibition in the United States.
1949; WIlliam Short who owns abandoned vineyard land adjacent to the Perrone property replants Cabernet sauvignon and plants Chardonnay for the first time on Monte Bello.
1959; Four scientist , Dave Bennion, Hew Crane, Charlie Rosen and Howard Ziedler, purchase the property from Mr Short and produce a small amount of the Cabernet sauvignon ten year old vine in the small winery on the property.
1962; The new owners from a partnership and become Ridge Vineyards. They re-bond the winery for commercial sale. First official vintage of Monte Bello.
1966; First vintage of Geyserville.
1968; Ridge purchased the old Monte Bello winery and a small part of the Perrone vineyard property.
1969; Paul Draper joins Ridge vineyards as wine maker.
1972; First vintage of Lytton Springs.
1976; Ridge becomes fifth among ten French and Californian wines, at the Paris tasting which later became known as the Judgement of Paris.
1986; Ridge vineyards is purchased by Otsuka pharmaceutical co.ltd.
1988; Paul Draper appointed as Chairman and then as Chief Executive Officer, Ridge buys replanted portions of the Perrone property.
1989; David Gates, Vice President of Vineyard operations, joins Ridge.
1991; Ridge buys Lytton Springs winery and the old vineyards surrounding the winery in Sonoma county.
1994; Eric Baugher, wine maker at Monte Bello, joins Ridge.
1995; Ridge's buys the large Western portion of the original estate of Captain Litton in dry creek valley.
1995, John Olney, wine make at Lytton Springs, joins Ridge.
2000; Paul Draper is named "Man of the Year" by Decanter magazine and receives the "Distinguished Service Award" from Wine Spectator magazine.
2003; Paul Draper receives first "COPIA Award" for wine making.
2004; Ridge completes the construction of a new winery at Lytton Springs, with a focus on the production of Zinfandel.
2005; Paul Draper receives the "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the German magazine " Wein Gourmet".
2007; Paul Draper is giving The James Beard Award for winemaking.
2008; Monte Bello is served at the welcome dinner on the 34th G8 summit in Japan.
2012; Ridge Celebrated 50 years as a bonded winery.
2015; Paul Drapes is named as one of the 5th most admired winemakers in the world by Decanter magazines poll by his peers.
2016; Paul Draper retires as CEO and winemaker, but stays as chairman of the board.
Ridge Monte Bello Santa Cruz, 2005.
Grapes: 70% Cabernet sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6% Petit verdot, 2% Cabernet franc.
Price: €201 $270 £170 average ex tax
Visual: Pouring into your glass a warm dark ruby coloured wine appears, with stamina, bravour, power, class, attitude, quite exceptional. It shines perfectly and it transparency is top, the brilliance is very seductive and it asks only for one thing" do try me".
Nose: The invasion of aromas is just mindblowing, clove, vanilla, spices, juicy dark/red fruits (blackberries, black currants, dark cherries), layers upon layers of seduction and perfection. A wine that reaches all desires one wants in a wine. Just superb.
Palate: It comes in big and powerful, but with well controlled brakes, so it doesn't blow you backward over and invades aggressively like some new world wines do. No here it comes in style and balance, the tannins are beautiful round and still well packed, mid-palate appear those juicy luscious black fruits again, holding the structure together with the acidities perfectly balanced as a wine should be. It lingers on for moments on end, pure joy.
Conclusion: It was such a long time I had the opportunity to taste this wine again, and boy does it go well, utter joy and feel good factor. A wine that gives you an uplift and a positive vibe. I just love this wine and it is made with such expertise and craftsmanship. I only praise and ask to taste it again and again.
Score: I rate this wine 19.5/20 98/100.
Until the next time please do drink responsibly.