The 2010 growing season was long and cool, reflecting the influence of an El Nio year, defined by a short but intense heat wave in late August. But whereas Ridge's Sonoma County vineyards experienced a high of 117 degrees Fahrenheit for two days, Monte Bello ridge only reached 105 degrees. The ensuing 2010 Monte Bello is very classic in profile, offering up aromas of crushed cassis, plums, cigar tobacco, rich loamy soil, black tea and dark chocolate. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, with a deep and concentrated core of vibrantly crunchy fruit framed by velvety tannins, concluding with a long, tangy finish that's still youthfully chewy. Though the two vintages are very close in quality, the 2010 is very different in profile from the somewhat larger scaled 2012: it's less expansive, but built around a brighter vertical line. I'd recommend cellaring it for an additional three or four years and don't expect it to truly hit its stride until after 2025. The blend is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, and it attained 13.2% natural alcohol.
96 Points, William Kelley - 31/05/2018