In 1886 the first blocks of the Monte Bello vineyard were planted and construction on the winery begun. The first vintage was the 1892. In the early 1940s, the last of the old vineyard was abandoned; in the late forties a few blocks were replanted. Those cabernet vines—now over sixty-five years old—produced the first Ridge Monte Bello (1962) and subsequent vintages until 1974. By then other abandoned blocks had been replanted and their fruit considered for use in the Monte Bello. A number of those consistently produced a more accessible wine that developed its full complexity earlier and these were combined as the “Santa Cruz Mountains.” With the 2008 vintage the name of this stylistically distinct wine became the Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, stressing the principal varietal and the Monte Bello estate vineyard as its source.
A cool, foggy spring delayed budbreak, but warm weather during bloom created ideal conditions for the vines to set a full crop. To maximize extraction, pumpovers were extended during fermentation. At assemblage, eighteen parcels were chosen for their alluring fruit and elegant tannins. After sixteen months of aging, the oak has integrated and the wine has begun to soften. It will continue to evolve and be most enjoyable over the next ten to fifteen years.
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