Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 2018

Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 2018

 

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Ridge Vineyards
Monte Bello 2018
  • Vintage : 2018
  • Country : USA
  • Region : California
  • Subregion
  • Type : Red
  • Style Deep Full Bodied
  • Format : 75cl
  • Alcohol : 13,5°
  • Grappes : 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc

Experts Score Vintage
JS James Suckling 97 2018
WS Wine Spectator 97 2018
RP Robert Parker 97 2018
VN Vinous (Antonio Galloni) 96 2018
CG Connoisseurs' Guide 93 2018
JD Jeb Dunnuck 100 2017
W&S Wines & Spirits 98 2017
JR Jancis Robinson 18.5 2017
WE Wine Enthusiast 95 2017
DCT Decanter 95 2015
More information on wine critics and ratings

James Suckling (JS) : 97 Points (2018)
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.

Wine Spectator (WS) : 97 Points (2018)
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.

Robert Parker (RP) : 97 Points (2018)
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. Barrel Sample: 94-97+

Vinous (Antonio Galloni) (VN) : 96 Points (2018)
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. (AG) 96+ (9/2020)

Connoisseurs' Guide (CG) : 93 Points (2018)
 74% Cabernet Sauvignon; 17% Merlot; 7% Petit Verdot; 2% Cabernet Franc. With a mid-volume nose of currants, black cherries and plums all wrapped up with a nice bit of sweet oak and accented with subtle notes of graphite and cedar, the latest edition of Ridge’s flagship Cabernets is a solidly structured, well-muscled wine that is rich without playing overly to ripeness. Very deep and insistently fruity, yet not a wine that is close to being ready to drink, it is noticeably, if not abrasively, tannic and finishes with no small amount of youthful grip. As with most Monte Bello Cabernets, it asks for at least six to ten years of age and, under the right cellar conditions, is sure to be very long-lived.

Jeb Dunnuck (JD) : 100 Points (2017)
Pure perfection, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello is a sensational effort from this estate that should be snatched up by drinkers and collectors. Based on 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc that was brought up mostly in new American oak, this saturated purple-hued beauty is legendary Monte Bello in the making and has a stunning yet primordial bouquet of crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, graphite, chocolate, and chalky minerality. Full-bodied, incredibly powerful, and one of the most concentrated versions of this cuvée ever made (I've had most of them), it needs a solid decade of bottle age and will have 50-60 years of overall longevity. Despite the long drinking window, it offers plenty of pleasure even today. I followed this bottle for two days and it showed best right out of the gate, closing down and becoming more brooding and backward with air. It's an incredible wine that I promise you won't regret having in your cellar.

Wines & Spirits (W&S) : 98 Points (2017)
This wine may have the most intense and vibrant color of any of the 2017 cabernets we tasted. It definitely has the most vibrant length of flavor, with a complexity that lasts for minutes after each taste and makes it seem disrespectful to spit. Everything about it is a seamless pleasure, particularly the way it incorporates the freshness of cabernet grown in limestone into pure black- cherry flavors, saturated without any sense of weight. The fruit, organically grown and spontaneously fermented, has nothing to get in its way, delivering a fragrance of roses and black raspberries over that dark cherry core, the fruit tannins reading as depths of umami earthiness completely integrated into the silken texture. This wine advanced for several days after it was first opened, then retreated, then came back on the fifth day as a dark, seductive beauty, a Monte Bello that will live for decades. (JG) (12/2020)

Jancis Robinson (JR) : 18.5 Points (2017)
Inky garnet. Aromas of pencil shavings and American oak layered over darker black plum and cassis. Beautifully sculpted tannins wrap around a core of cassis, black cherry and blueberry fruit that has a stony, earthy depth. Excellent acidity and balance contribute to this wine's characteristic of utter seamlessness that is so compelling. The cedar, coconut and whiskey-barrel notes of the American oak are present, as are the muscles that wood brings to the tannins, which stiffen as the wine finishes with notes of herbs and blackberry. Most Monte Bellos benefit from ageing, and this will be no exception. It is darker and a bit more brooding on release than the 2016 or 2015. Outstanding. (AV) 18.5+/20 points (9/2020)

Wine Enthusiast (WE) : 95 Points (2017)
This iconic bottling, which hails from mountaintop vines that produce less than 1.5 tons per acre, begins with aromas of roasted plum, clove and nutmeg. The blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc is framed by elegantly tense tannins, as baked plum, mace and cardamom flavors consume the midpalate, while the finish stays quite fresh. This epitomizes the definition of Cellar Selection. *Cellar Selection* (MK) (12/2020)

Decanter (DCT) : 95 Points (2015)
If any Cabernet Sauvignon has a track record for quality and ageability in California, it’s Ridge’s Cabernet from the Monte Bello vineyard. (The wine came in first in Steven Spurrier’s 30 year re-enactment of the Judgment of Paris tasting). The Monte Bello vineyard is 109 miles south of Napa Valley in the cool Santa Cruz Mountains. For 47 years, it was made by legendary winemaker Paul Draper who formally turned over the reins to Eric Baugher in 2016. The 2015 Monte Bello (which has a touch of Cabernet Franc) is sleek, tight, and precise, with fine tannins and a quiet elegance. Drinking Window 2020 - 2045 (KM) (10/2019)

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Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 2018 Reviewed by James Suckling 23-03-2022 . Score: 5