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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.
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