Ridge Monte Bello 1981-1999

Gauthier Soho
Tasted Tuesday, July 12, 2011 by Rupert with 519 views

Introduction

A splendid lunchtime offline which reinforced what a superb, reliable and characterful wine Montebello is. The char and vanilla of the Ridge oak is quite distinctive, and the fruit is quite berried - smoke, berries tobacco are the word which keep cropping up in the notes. The wines today confirmed how gracefully the wines age - the tannins gradually melt, the texture gets silkier and the flavour soars.

Flight 1 (1 Note)

Flight 2 - with Soft Lobster and Crab Salad (with taragon & fresh tomato relish, crispy peach) (2 Notes)

Flight 3 - with Spring Truffle Risotto (with brown butter and parmesan) (3 Notes)

  • 1998 Ridge Monte Bello

    USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains

    Ripe, smoky, with a sweet tobacco core, dense with lots of tannin, but the tannins are soft and this is very approachable. A lovely start

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  • 1997 Ridge Monte Bello

    USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains

    A similar flavour to the '98 with its smoke, berries and tobacco, but finer, more poise and focus - brilliant

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  • 1995 Ridge Monte Bello

    USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains

    Somewhere between the 97 and the 98 - had the softer focus of the 98, but without the dense tannins - the berries more prominent - lovely wine

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Flight 4 - with Roasted Guinea Fowl Breast (slow cooked leg, cèpes, broad bean fricassée, thyme aromatic jus) (4 Notes)

  • 1999 Ridge Monte Bello

    USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains

    Way more assertive than anything in the first flight, earthy, high acid, grippy, altogether more muscular, with greater penetration of flavour. (One or two present detected some TCA at the start, although all agreed that this blew off - I had this experience last time I had the 99)

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  • 1994 Ridge Monte Bello

    USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains

    Less expressive than the 99, tight, coiled, the fruit deep and more blackcurrant - very fine

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  • 1992 Ridge Monte Bello

    USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains

    Smooth, a lactic tone, more volatile than the preceding bottles, and hotter too, with the berries more prominent

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  • 1991 Ridge Monte Bello

    USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains

    This had a streak of TCA, but was counteracted by sweet chocolatey fruit and high acid, and was quite palatable

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Flight 5 - with Cheese (Brie, Comté, St Nectaire) (3 Notes)

Flight 6 - with Classic White Peach Tatin (with peach and mint sorbet) (1 Note)

  • 1996 Château Climens

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac

    Another white with a waxy nose, lanolin palate, brown sugar sweetness - like a lot of 96s - I'm not sure 1996 was as good a year for sauternes as was originally thought.

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