Monte Bello 2020

Ridge: Monte Bello 2020

Zum Winzer

Cabernet Sauvignon 84%, Merlot 11%, Petit Verdot 4%, Cabernet Franc 2%
rot, trocken
13,5% Vol.
Trinkreife: 2030–2065
Verpackt in: 3er OHK
voluminös & kräftig
seidig & aromatisch
Lobenberg: 95–96/100
Galloni: 87/100
Parker: 85/100
USA, Californien
Allergene: Sulfite, Abfüllerinformation

Heiner Lobenberg über:
Monte Bello 2020


Lobenberg: Nachverkostet von der Flasche am 21. März 2024. Viele Gerüchte im Markt von wegen eventueller Kontaminationen durch den Rauch der Feuer im Spätsommer 2020. Und im Wissen darum kann man dem Wein schon eine rauchige Nase attestieren, ganz ohne Zweifel. Wenn man es nicht wüsste, käme man eher auf gut getoastete Barriques und viel neues Holz, was ja definitiv auch der Fall ist. Dazu Leder und Kaffee, grüne Kaffebohnen. Die große Irritation vieler Verkoster und kritischer Blogger, inclusive des versierten und anerkannten Verkosters Antonio Galloni, vermute ich eher aus der gesamten Ausgestaltung des total untypischen Monte Bello 2020 kommend. Früher gelesen, konzentrierte Frische und deutlich anderes Fruchtbild als üblich. Cassis, Holunder, Sauerkirsche, Cranberry, Kumquat, Sanddorn nebst sehr säurebeladener Schwarzkirsche, grüne Kaffeebohnen und rohe Kakaobohnen, etwas grünliche Amkarenakirsche und Rumtopf. Blaubeere nur am Rande als getrocknete Schalen. Pinke Grapefruit, Maracuya. Aber geniale Intensität im Mund und ein never ending Nachhall mit roter, sehr focussierter, etwas säuerlicher Frucht, Veilchen, etwas Chillie. Viel mehr 'schräges' Burgund aus Hochlagen denn Kalifornien oder Bordeaux, auch 1200 Meter Mendoza kommt mir in den Sinn, eine Art früh gelesener Richebourg oder Super-Malbec aus einem kühlen Jahr und aus denn hohen Bergen. Faszinierend schön und eben etwas schräg. Reduktiv, Carinena aus dem Priorat scheint durch. Ich trinke den Wein über zwei Tage und verstehe immer mehr, dass die Skepsis mehr aus der Atypizität denn aus irgendeiner Fehlerhaftigkeit stammt. Nichts wissend und ohne Historie, so habe ich die großen, schräg-kühlen chilenischen Weine von Garage Wine oder die extremen argentinischen Weine von PerSe aufgenommen. Das würde ich hier auch machen, denn der völlig untypische 2020er Monte Bello ist großer, nur ganz anderer Stoff als üblich. 95-96/100


Galloni über: Monte Bello

-- Galloni: The 2020 Monte Bello opens with a burst of dark red fruit. Leather, tobacco and mocha open nicely in the glass. There's no getting past smoke taint in this wine. That's a shame, as the flavors are nicely delineated and the tannins are well balanced for the year in this small-scaled Monte Bello. The 2020 has signs of taint when I tasted it from barrel, so I can't say I am terribly surprised. 87/100


Parker über: Monte Bello

-- Parker: Unfortunately, the 2020 Monte Bello is a victim of this harvest's devastating wildfires. Smoke taint is evident from the first pour, after which it receded and then reappeared on and off over the two days I spent with the bottles. The palate tells the same story, with the retronasal signature of campfire smoke and hollowed-out, gritty fruit on the finish. This was only more glaring in the context of a vertical spanning 2021-2015, many of which are banner vintages for Ridge. While an otherwise technically well-made wine is there behind the smoke, albeit with noticeably less depth and concentration than is typical, due to Ridge's decision to bulk out of 90% of the pressed wine, this flaw is unavoidable. In the interest of thoroughness, a sample of the bottled 2020 Monte Bello was submitted to ETS Laboratories in St. Helena, where a series of tests to detect glycosylated smoke markers were carried out (glycosylated tests specifically separate sugar-bound markers from volatile markers that can be imparted by oak élevage). The results confirmed significantly elevated levels of 4-methylguaiacol rutinoside, cresol rutinoside, phenol rutinoside and syringol gentiobioside, all of which correspond to elevated levels of smoke exposure and heightened sensory thresholds by up to a factor of four from the 99th percentile of a non-smoke-affected vintage.

Weingut über: Monte Bello

-- Weingut: At the start of 2020, there were excellent prospects for a wet winter. After all, the Pacific Ocean's El Niño condition was still intact. Once the 2019 vintage was finished, several large storms swept through California bringing heavy rain in November and December. It appeared that we would receive abundant rainfall. Sadly, as COVID-19 upended the world, winter seemed to fade, and the storm track dissipated. January and February were two of the driest months on record. The lack of rain kept cover crop growth sparse. In organic farming, a healthy cover crop provides a natural source of nutrients to the vines. The mild temperatures also prompted early bud-break, pushinggrowth ahead of schedule. That brought on early flowering that coincided with late spring storms that disrupted fruit set. While the late rains helped save this vintage, the impact on bloom reduced yields at most vineyards. Fortunately, cover crop growth accelerated, and the vineyard received its benefit. It was truly a miracle to get the late spring rain to carry the vines through a dry summer.Summer fog at Monte Bello was unusually heavy from June through early August, keeping temperatures down. The cool weather allowed the vines to make slow and steady progress throughout the growing season. In Sonoma County, zinfandel and carignane both showed veraison in mid-July, two weeks earlier than normal. The smaller crop and lack of water accelerated ripening, especially once heat arrived in the second week of August. The higher temperatures remained through Labor Day, pushing ripening along at a decent pace. Fortunately, the prolonged heat did not result in overripe conditions with zinfandel.In the early morning of August 16, a monsoonal weather system passed over Central and Northern California. It brought powerful winds and thousands of lightning strikes. Given how hot it was the day before, it was a welcome surprise. It cooled the night air, and the lightning bolts racing across the night sky were magical to watch. Unfortunately, the lightning sparked an overwhelming number of complex wildfires throughout the state, which was already threatened by a persistent drought. The smoke began to fill the sky, moving in and around mountains and valleys, carried by the wind off the ocean. Vineyards in close proximity to the fires had difficulty with access for sampling. Eventually, after a couple of days, we could get in and check the crop, pulling many grape samples to analyze and taste for smoke damage. Fortunately, both analysis and taste showed no significant issues for most of our vineyards.Those with issues were not picked. High in the atmosphere, the haze reduced the sun's intensity, slowing photosynthesis. Though the sugar increases were slow to develop, the flavors were still coming along nicely.Chardonnay at Monte Bello was also behaving similarly to zinfandel, with flavors developing ahead of sugar. Our first parcel was harvested on August 22, the earliest recorded harvest to date, quickly following the rest of the vineyard. The bordeaux grapes at Monte Bello were behind on their growing season due to the cold spring weather. With each passing heatwave in August and September, the vines started catching up. Once veraison was complete and a few weeks passed, vineyard sampling started. The earliest samples showed variable herbaceous flavors and astringent green tannins.Finally, as late-season heat arrived in early October, ripe flavors intensified, and the seeds had hardened. The vineyard's foliage began to yellow, with the shoots and canes lignifying, signifying that harvest was ready to start. At that point, picking was done at a steady pace over nineteen days to finish. We separately fermented fifty-three lots from forty-five parcels, making strategic breaks within blocks for water-stressed and green vines. Utilizing our smallest fermentors, giving us greater extraction of color and tannins, twice-daily aerated pump-overs were performed. By taste, we modified the pump-overs so that tannins remained balanced. As usual, Monte Bello and Estate parcels received different handling in the winery. Those tanks destined for the Estate were pressed early, keeping tannins soft and supple. Monte Bello's remained in their tanks longer, receiving more extraction, to develop greater depth and tannin definition. Though tannins are more significant in the Monte Bello lots, the ripe and rich fruit carry them well; they have a fine, velvety texture. As of now, every wine lot is resting in new oak, allowing natural malolactic fermentation to finish. Assemblage will likely occur late in the first quarter of 2021. Some preliminary blending trials have been conducted in order to study the character of the vintage and see how the new oak is integrating.Quantities in 2020 will be less than normal due to below-average crop size and some grapes' loss due to smoke damage. Despite the incredible challenges of COVID-19 and the fires that we faced in 2020, we are excited about the quality of the wines we have been able to make.

Anja Breit über: Monte Bello

-- Anja Breit: Diese Flasche des ikonischen Ridge Monte Bello wurde Anfang 2024 mit etwas Flaschenreife nachverkostet. Die Nase ist dunkel-beerig – vor allem saftige Schwarzkirschen, Blaubeeren, Brombeeren und ein Hauch Cassis steigen aus dem Glas. Zunächst kommen charmant würzige und florale Aromen hinzu: etwas Vanille, Muskatnuss, dunkle Schokolade, Veilchen, getrocknete Blüten, aber auch klar erkennbare, rauchige Noten. Nach einigen Minuten im Glas entwickeln sich diese rauchigen Aromen mehr und mehr: Mokka, Weihrauch, frisch entfachtes Kaminfeuer und Zigarrenduft – schließlich dominiert der Rauch den Wein. Ich verkoste den Wein über einen Tag hinweg, um die Entwicklung weiter zu beobachten. Hintergrund dieser Aromen ist, dass der Jahrgang 2020 nach einer bis dahin nahezu ideal verlaufenen Wachstumsperiode in Kalifornien ab August von Wildfeuern geprägt war. Die dezent rauchige Komponente des Monte Bello, die bereits im Fassmuster zu schmecken war, ist leider nicht wie damals erhofft verschwunden, sondern inzwischen dicht mit der Frucht verwoben und fester Bestandteil des Monte Bello 2020 geworden. Im Mund zeigt sich der 2020er Monte Bello in Form eines klassischen, kühleren Jahrgangs. Er ist geradliniger und schlanker als der 2019er mit feinkörnigen, griffigen Tanninen. Sauerkirschen, schwarze Johannisbeeren und Blaubeeren führen auch hier auf frisch entfachtes Streichholz und rauchige Kaminwürze hin. Im Nachhall dominiert diese eindeutige, vom Wildfeuer hervorgerufene Rauchigkeit den ansonsten klassischen Monte Bello, der Nachhall schmeckt nach Rauch. Das ist etwas schade, denn der Wein unter dem Rauch ist ein klassischer Monte Bello, leider gibt es aber kein Entkommen vom dominanten Rauchgeschmack des Weins, daher werte ich den klassischen Wein unter diesem Rauch dennoch mit 90 Punkten.

Mein Winzer


Gut eineinhalb Stunden südlich von San Francisco liegt das legendäre Weingut Ridge in den Santa Cruz Mountains, auf dem Gipfel des Monte Bello. Die letzten 15 Kilometer führen über verschlungene Serpentinen durch Redwoods und Eichenwälder bis hinauf zum Weingut, das auf 700 Metern liegt und...

Monte Bello 2020