Ridge's Estate Cabernet Sauvigon is what we call "baby Monte Bello" and an amazing buy in Cabernet.
previous vintage 94+ points Jeb Dunnuck: "The Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Estate comes from the Santa Cruz Mountain estate, and it follows its big brother Monte Bello's style with a terrific sense of elegance paired with richness. Lots of crème de cassis, crushed violets, vanilla, tobacco leaf, and cedar notes flow to a medium to full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, layered Cabernet Sauvignon that has terrific purity, building tannins, and a great finish. It offers pleasure today yet won't hit prime time for another 5-7 years, and it's going to evolve for 15-20 years (probably longer)."
previous vintage 94 points Vinous:"Once again an overachiever, Ridge's Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is regal. Aromatically intense and deep on the palate, the 2016 proves to be utterly captivating from the very first taste. Dark fruit, chocolate, licorice, dried flowers, leather and menthol infuse the 2016 with remarkable complexity. In 2016, the last year of the drought cycle Ridge made one of the very best editions of this wine. Just as remarkably, the 2016 is incredibly harmonious for such a young wine."
The Monte Bello vineyard was first planted when the winery was built, in 1886. 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 sixty years old - produced the first Ridge Monte Bello in 1962, and subsequent vintages until the mid-seventies. By then, blocks replanted during the sixties were maturing, and their fruit considered for use in the Monte Bello. A number of those consistently produced a softer, more accessible wine and were combined as the stylistically distinct Santa Cruz Mountains Estate.