Ridge Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains, Monte Bello 1996

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By US 101

98 points Vinous

Ridge's 1996 Monte Bello is an absolute stunner. The bouquet evokes a top Left Bank Bordeaux in a great vintage. Not surprisingly, the Cabernet Sauvignon in the 1996 is very high at 80%. Every bit as compelling on the palate, the 1996 simply exudes class. I am not sure words alone can capture just how vivid the wine is at twenty years of age. Graphite, smoke, tobacco, licorice and a core of dark fruit unfold on the palate as the 1996 shows off its pedigree. Readers lucky enough to own it can look forward to another two decades plus of exceptional drinking. The 1996 is an uber-classic, Médoc-leaning Monte Bello. What a wine! (AG) (7/2016)

97 points Jeb Dunnuck

As always at visits to Ridge, they like to show older vintages, and I’m always amazed at how well these wines age. The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Mont Bello checks in as 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot, and comes from a low-yielding vintage due to poor weather at set, which was followed by a warm growing season and early harvest. Aged all in new oak, it’s classic Monte Bello all the way with its Bordeaux-like bouquet of tobacco leaf, Christmas spice, cured meats, and sweet currants and plum fruits. Full-bodied, classic, and elegant on the palate, it’s drinking brilliantly today yet will certainly keep for another 10-15 years.(2/2019)

96 points Decanter

Storms severely reduced the crop in this year, which may have enhanced the quality of this superb wine. The blackcurrant-scented nose is rich and sturdy, showing considerable power and intensity. Sleek and polished, the wine displays great charm and has impressive clarity of fruit. It's discrete rather than flashy, and an oaky mocha tone adds complexity and finesse. Very long with impeccable balance and harmony. (SB)(10/2022)

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