Ridge Monte Bello Vertical Tasting 1974 - 2008

Switzerland

Tasted September 29, 2012 by Wine_lvr with 821 views

Introduction

All bottles tasted in standard 0.75l bottles. Approximately 2 hours decanted

Ridge Monte Bello Flights:

Flight 1: Ridge Monte Bello 1990/1993/1995/1998/1999
Flight 2: Ridge Monte Bello 1991/1992/1994/1996/1997
Flight 3: Ridge Monte Bello 1974/1976/1978/1984/1987
Flight 4: Ridge Monte Bello 2000/2001/2002/2003/2004
Flight 5: Ridge Monte Bello 2005/2006/2007/2008

Other Wines Tasted:
Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 & 2008
Ridge Monte Bello Chardonnay 2008
Rieussec 2002

<textarea cols="20" rows="5" wrap="hard" disabled="yes">

Flight 1 - Flight 1: Ridge Monte Bello 1990/1993/1995/1998/1999 (5 notes)

Wines out of "irregular" vintages during the 90s

Red
1990 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
93 points
First wine of the vertical tasting and this was already a real beauty. Clear red showing some signs of aging. Leathery and coffee flavors with hints of ripe berries. Sweetness, berry flavored black tea, a bit dry but very well balanced. Great wine. Drink now - 2020.
Red
1993 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
90 points
Intensive red. Taste of minerals and ripe red berries. Chalk, red berries (cherries), chocolate. A bit dry and mineralic. Still performed well for this off-year. I would not wait any longer. Drink now - 2020.
Red
1995 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
flawed
Where is the 1995 going? I expected much more from this wine. Still a nice intensive red color with a bouquet of coffee, licorice and red berries. Dry notes and surprisingly short. Would this wine have not been for the past 15 years in my ownership, I would have blamed bad storage for not performing better. Maybe decanting could help. Drink now - 2025
Possibly a suboptimal bottle
Red
1998 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
86 points
Intensive red. Nose of tin can and minerals. Dry tannins and short, tends to dry out. Was the weakest wine of the evening. Drink now - 2015
Red
1999 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
94 points
Intensive deep red. Nose full of cherry jelly and chocolate. Tannins are a bit dry but the wine has lots of power and is long in the finish. Flavors of coffee, chocolate and cooked cherries. I would decant the wine for at least one hour. I have had this wine several over the past year and it is constantly performing at 94 points. Drink now - 2025

Flight 2 - Flight 2: Ridge Monte Bello 1991/1992/1994/1996/1997 (5 notes)

Wines out of classical vintages during the 90s

Red
1991 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
95 points
Intensive red still dark at the corner. Taste of coffee, chocolate and licorice with a hint of leather. Plums, red berries, minerals, very long and nice sweetness. This is a very nice Monte Bello. Drink now - 2025
Red
1992 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
94 points
Intensive red, a bit more mature than the 1991. Taste of leather and coffee (reminds me of a Pauillac). Sweetness and ripe berry notes, well integrated tannins, balanced and long finish. Drink now - 2025
Red
1994 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
94 points
Deep red. Taste of leather and black cherries. Tannic and long finish. Yummy chocolate and coffee notes and well integrated mineralic finish. Drink now - 2039
Red
1996 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
95 points
Intensive deep red. Taste of minerals, red berries, pencil and creme de cassis. Very rich dark berry flavors, classical Bordeaux style Cab, concentrated but long and elegant. One of the great wines of the tasting. There is no hurry to drink this Monte Bello. Drink now - 2030
Red
1997 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
91 points
Cherries, caramel and ripe berry notes. Sweetness (red berries), still tannic but very balanced. I am not sure in which direction this wine is going. Maybe decanting would help. If I have to bet on the 1996 or 1997 I would put my money on the 1996! Drink now - 2025.

Flight 3 - Flight 3: Ridge Monte Bello 1974/1976/1978/1984/1987 (5 notes)

Legends out of the 70s & 80s

Red
1974 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
89 points
Likely a bottle which came out of a slightly too warm cellar. Still an intensive red showing some brick color at the corners. But youthful for its age. Taste of malt, eucalyptus and black tea. Acid is present but there is still a bit of sweetness remaining. For its age still in good shape. Maybe not the best bottle sd I already tasted well-stored bottles at solid 95 points. Drink now.
Red
1976 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
88 points
Still youthful in color. Taste of leather and coffee. Acid is present, strawberries. A bit short in the finish but surprisingly fresh. This was the last Monte Bello with 100% Cabernet. Drink now
Red
1978 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
94 points
Wow! How nice can Monte Bellos age! Intensive red. Ripe black berries and coffee flavor. This wine still has lots of power in the finish. Very balanced and nice sweetness of red berries. Drink with lots of pleasure for the next decade. Drink now - 2025
Red
1987 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
flawed
Text book cork ;-(
Tasted a few years ago and it was a realy beauty that can age for a few more years. Tasted in 2008 with a score of 95
Red
1984 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
93 points
And another well aged Monte Bello. Nice aged red. Taste of Coffee and Chalk. Nicely integrated acidity and lots of dark berries. For me a tick behind the great 1978. Drink now with no hurry. Anticipated maturity now - 2020.

Flight 4 - Flight 4: Ridge Monte Bello 2000/2001/2002/2003/2004 (5 notes)

The 2000s No.1

Red
2000 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
92 points
Intensive red, but lighter as the inky 2001. Taste of tar and leather. Acidity supported by a nice sweetness of red berries. A bit short but elegant. One of the surprises of the evening as I did not expect too much from the 2000. No reason to wait as I do not expect this wine to get any better. Drink now - 2020
Red
2001 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
94 points
Intensive deep red. Creme de Cassis in the nose, alcohol is present reminding me a bit of an Amarone nose. Very tannic and complex, lots of dark berries, chocolate. Acidity is present but well integrated. One feels the high percentage (36%) of Merlot in this Monte Bello. This wine needs time to involve in a legendary Monte Bello. Currently at 94 with the potential of 96-98. Drink 2016 - 2035
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2002 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
94 points
Similar bright red color (like the 2000). Taste of red berries. Tannins still present, acidity but supported by sweetness, Boisenberries and black currant. Drink through 2030
Red
2003 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
flawed
Corked. Smell of butter. On the bottom good wine but unfortunately flawed
Red
2004 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
93 points
Bright intensive red. Taste of coffee and tar. Alcohol and acidity is present, lots of dark berries, very concentrated with tannins still present. You can drink it now but I would wait another 3 to 5 years. Drink 2015 - 2030

Flight 5 - Flight 5: Ridge Monte Bello 2005/2006/2007/2008 (4 notes)

The 2000s No.2

Red
2005 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
94 points
Intensive red. Taste of red and black berries. Taste of alcohol, very rich flavors of black currant and concentrated. I would wait for another 5 years and this will be a superb Monte Bello. Currently at 94 Points with upward potential when fully mature. Drink 2018 - 2030
Red
2006 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
92 points
Intensive red. Tast of red cherries. Dark chocolate, black currant, very concentrated, tannins still present. Needs more maturity to "calm" down. Drink 2018 - 2030
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2007 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
94 points
Intensive red. Taste of cinnamon, coffee and red berries. Tannins still very much present, rich fruit notes. Wait as this wine is now pretty blocked. But as the 2008 it will benefit from 10 more years cellaring. Currently at 94 with upward potential when reaching full maturity. Drink 2018 - 2035
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2008 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
96 points
Intensive red. Taste of caramel, cinnamon, coffe and dark red berries. Very approachable already, black currant jelly. Great wine. If you wait 10 more years this will be a legendary Monte Bello. Drink now - 2035

Flight 6 - Additional wines tasted during the event (4 notes)

White
2008 Ridge Chardonnay Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
90 points
It is like a mix between a good Burgundy and a oaky Californian Cab. Great wine that makes a lot of fun drinking. Drink now - 2018
Red
2008 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Estate USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
92 points
This is a beautiful Estate Cab. Was able to stand up against many of the Monte Bellos. Small sibling of the wonderful 2008 Monte Bello. This is a wine to buy and enjoy. Drink now - 2025
Red
2005 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Estate USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
90 points
Great wine, very rich flavors. Long finsh. Similar to the Monte Bello but all a bit "downgraded". Ideal wine to drink while you are waiting for the 2005 Monte Bello to mature. Drink now - 2022
White - Sweet/Dessert
2002 Ch√Ęteau Rieussec France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
88 points
Intensive yellow. Lots of sweetness, acidity. Good but lacking complexity. Drink now. Will last for many more years to come but I doubt it will ever become a good Rieussec.