Wine Advocate 97+ points - Composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, the 2005 Monte Bello should be one of the all-time greats made at this estate. It offers a dense purple color, an extraordinary bouquet of spring flowers, blueberries, creme de cassis, black fruits, and a hint of oak. It also has an unctuous texture. As with all rich wines, the oak component plays a complementary role in the wine’s nuances. A seamless integration of acidity, wood, tannin, and alcohol is found in this rich, elegant, pure, dense beauty. There is a certain accessibility to the 2005 that is unusual by Monte Bello’s standards, and it will age effortlessly for 25+a years. (Feb 2010)
The Monte Bello (originally Monte Bello Cabernet; until 1975, 100% cabernet) is the wine that introduced Ridge to the world, and the world to Ridge. It is a blend of bordeaux varietals. Cabernet sauvignon still predominates; exhaustive tasting of test blends during assemblage determines how much — if any — merlot, petit verdot, or cabernet franc will be included in the finished wine. Almost every vintage (an unbroken chain from `62 on) has something substantive to recommend it. Every decade has its high points. Taste and opinions differ. But the just-concluded decade of the nineties has been outstanding. Generalization does a disservice to the individual wines. There`s structure, there`s complexity, there`s balance. And they develop for a long, long time.