One of the many highlights in this range, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is terrific. The effects of the drought and resulting heat stress come through in the wine's structural feel and bold, incisive flavors. Even with all of its intensity, the 2014 has a certain silkiness in its tannins that makes it approachable today. Of course, the 2014 will be even better in another few years, but opening a bottle on the early side is not a crime. The 2014 spent 27 months in French oak. Readers who are looking for a more affordable alternative to Ridge's iconic Monte Bello should consider the 2014 Estate. Look for the Estate to be a real overachiever in 2014 as well as one of the best - possibly the best - California Cabernet in its price range. (AG)
Moving to the Bordeaux blends, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate from Ridge is an inky colored, ripe, downright sexy Cabernet that gives up ample notes of blueberries, cassis, vanilla bean, and licorice. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, this full-bodied 2014 has a big mid-palate, good freshness and lots of chalky tannin on the finish. It has plenty of baby fat currently, but should round into form with 3-4 years of bottles age. (JebDunnuck.com)
Made in a style that demands patience and cellaring, this is taut, firm, dense and sturdy. Not showing much now, but like good Bordeaux, this is built to age. (JL)
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)