Inky colored, the sensational 2012 Monte Bello comes all from the Santa Cruz Mountains and is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot. It's backwards and tight, with classic black cherry, crushed violets, cassis, espresso roast and crème brulee notes all flowing seamlessly to a full-bodied, concentrated, structured and layered Bordeaux blend that has bright acidity, a stacked mid-palate and firm tannin. It needs 5-6 years of cellaring and will hold for two decades beyond that.
This was a terrific set of wines from Ridge. The 2012 Bordeaux releases all have brilliant purity of fruit, with surprising freshness and focus. They'll need short term cellaring to be approachable, especially the Monte Bello. The 2013s are similar in style to the 2012s, with tight, fresh profiles and solid tannic grip. I think the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello has slightly more depth than the 2012 (the blends are quite different as well), but both are lively, structured wines that will need bottle age. I don't think either hits the heights of the '91 or '05, but time will tell. The 2013 releases from the North Coast all showed beautifully and had solid concentration and fresh, lively profiles.