A Wine for the Ages: Ridge Monte Bello 2017 (JD 100)

If California had a classification system like that of Bordeaux, Ridge's Monte Bello estate high atop the Santa Cruz Mountains would certainly be named a First Growth. Originally planted in 1886, Monte Bello's unique situation and limestone soils yield Cabernets of unusual restraint and elegance, evidenced by their relatively low alcohol levels, high natural acidity, and fine-grained tannins. Since the late 1960s, Ridge has produced world-class clarets that can compete with the best from anywhere, and today Monte Bello remains one of the most consistent and ageworthy wines on the market. Estate Wine Brokers is thrilled to offer the 'perfect' 2017 release in both standard bottles and magnums, with each listed at the lowest price in the country:

Ridge Monte Bello 2017 750ml - $205
Ridge Monte Bello 2017 1500ml - $419
100 Points Jeb Dunnock “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. (JD)” (08/2020)

98-100 Points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Destined 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. (WK)" (05/2018)

Monte Bello is always a hot ticket among collectors, click the links above to add this American classic to your cellar.