A wine of finesse, elegance and complexity. Focused, vibrant, fresh, layered flavors dominated by cassis and earth with a medium body, silky texture and impeccable balance. This is simply a beautifully made wine.
Third bottle of 375ml. This one showed better than the previous two. Pnp. Nose had mushroom, velvet, caramel, cedar wood and black currant. Palate was very balanced with black currant, purple fruit and cinnamon.
PnP, I thought this wine was past it's prime initially. However, after an hour or so in the glass is started opening up. I enjoyed it over the next couple of hours. My suggestion is to decant for an hour prior to pouring.
Drunk in good company, no TN, from memory. Decanted for about one hour, drunk over the next two. Mushroomy on the nose at first, then it cleans up and shows mostly primary notes, but intriguing complexity, slowly gaining balance and finesse. Well balanced and beautifully fresh on the palate, which is also on the young side, but shows already great complexity and persistence. Beautiful and classy.
Nose with deep darker fruit, oak & vanilla, lead pencil, fine herbs and a touch of earth & gravel. Palate displays soft and fine tannins, sour red and black berries, sweeter fruit some heat but fine overall balance and good acidity on the medium length finish. Some toasted oak at the very tail was present. My blind guess was Italian Cab based Bordeaux blend (Bolgheri) from a somewhat warmer vintage, but that was of course not the case. Nice Ridge, from a herald vintage. Can easily be saved for another decade, and most likely gain from that. (Lex Ridge Montebello 1997 for example) Good effort, I especially like that the alcohol level made the whole package much more balanced than many similar wines from booth this vinery and this region. Well done. (90 – 92)
Darker than I expected. Purple center with dark red brick edge. The nose is floral with tobacco leaf, dark sour cherries, and rolling cranberry notes at the close. Less cab franc and merlot in the blend than I expected given the nose. The wine tastes lively which likely reflects the the 13% alcohol. Very balanced mouth feel and a soft round finish with lingering red fruit and acidity that shows up just as the train is leaving the station. Very nice. Drinking well now but should have legs for years+. Beautiful wine. 5+14+18+8=95
Opened and poured into a decanter. Let sit for about 1 hour. Then served with food (roast pork loin and roast potatoes, in case you were wondering). Wonderful nose of cherries, some brown spices, cedar and tobacco notes (cigars), and herbs. Good depth of flavors, showing blackberries, cherries and a hint of licorice along with the mint/basil herbal component. Good acidity helps carry the depth of fruit and keeps the wine fresh. Touch of oak on the finish.
Open too young- I opened the bottle 5 hours prior to 1st pour and decanted 90 minutes before that 1st pour. I thought this was a good wine- but wasn't wowed. I think I put it on a pestle before drinking- so tough to live up to.
Good dark fruit, some oak, & tobacco. Was looking for more deep and complex flavors. Chalking it up to be too young.
Popped and poured from a 375ml. It started off with big dark fruits, caramel, mocha, tobacco and ink. This can be drank young in Ridge standard (3-5 years from now). With time in the glass, the wine opened up nicely. The palate was good but not great for Ridge. I am sure the wine will be better with aging. Give it more time. The layers did not really open up tonight.
A 375ml. Cinnamon, caramel, new french oak and dark fruit on the nose. The ripeness was there, but not super sweet like many US cab. Still very tight upon opening. At least 5 years before revealing itself.
So many well written tasting notes on this wine. I believe this is still too young, bright, fruity, and not showing the depth of flavors and nuance that will come out in a few years to drink now. Having said that, it was still really, really good! I'll hold off drinking any of my other three for at least two years.
After a 1 hour decant the wine had more to offer. Double decanted and served after 5 hours decanted with a prime ribeye. This was the groups wine of the night- layers of dark red fruit, sweet spice notes, sweet tobacco, with some spice and, after some time, well integrated tannins through a long finish. Very nice with a long decant, might peak in 2-5 years but will drink well for at least another 10. Absolutely delicious with the prime ribeye.
What a beauty on the nose, Overwhelming with lots of red fruit, freshness, spices. All continues in the mouth, acidity is added as freshness. No roundness, no power, no balance. Length, yes. Probably it needed more air, perhaps more years, however it will never become an intense powerful wine, it might become balanced and teasing. Kicking and alive!
Decanted this bottle and waited 15 minutes to drink. Deep dark red wine with medium body. Excellent nose followed by superb fruit (blackberry and others) with a hint of chocolate. Very nice finish. This wine is very drinkable now and a pleasure.
Dark purple, opaque. Smells like a tool shed with a damp dirt floor - old rubber work boots, dried leaves, pine..... Also, wild blackberry, cherry.
In the mouth it's Pine trees, powdered cocoa, Cassis, Luden's cherry cough drops. Complex and very enjoyable. Great balance. Firm back end and grip. Drinking fine and well... still no hurry to drink others
This is going to be great, but it is still pretty tight. Nose full of dark fruits, but it's not too expressive and seems to be hiding quite a bit. The palate is full, balanced and just buttoned up with tannins. I can't wait to try this at 20 years old...
Sunday Night Dinner (RPM Steak - Chicago, IL): It's been over three years since I last tried this and this still has greatness in its future but was a touch less expressive than before. Still has the powerful black fruit core to it with some beautiful spices and smokey notes. The tannins seemed to get to me just a bit more this time...they're pretty gnarly. Worth noting that its aromas of florals and smoke were very nice.
Popped & poured with pizza at a friends' home. Black cherry, currants, kirsch and even some incense with the wonderful violet/floral overtones I love. Full-bodied and open, with loads of fruit- this is open and drinking very nicely in its youth. Flavors of black raspberry, cherry and currants with floral qualities here as well. A hint of vanilla on the finish, which lingers for well over a minute. I can't help but think this vintage will just remain open and drink well/change for a number of years but never shut down.
Beautiful nose of wild berry, garrigue, and crushed slate. Truly profound aromatics. Unfortunately the pallate wasn't giving up much. Tannins and acidity are still too powerful to allow the fruit to show. My first time trying Monte Bello and everything I've read warned me about opening these wines too soon. You can definitely tell there is a stunning wine underneath but patience will definitely be rewarded. 92 for now.
Double-decanted 4 + hours. Ruby color with medium depth, slight haze with heavy sediment on bottom. Powerful aromas of tar, green pepper, eucalyptus with slight barnyard, Bordeaux like. Full-bodied, tart acidity. Sky high tannins. Fresh sage, dried cherry, glycerin, green pepper, dried herbs & raw powdered cocoa. Too tightly wound. Will not touch remaining inventory for 5 + years.
After several hours decanted, this bottle still yielded very little fruit. Lots' of tar and wood notes. Vegatal, Bell Pepper, eucaulyptus, and some mid ranch black cherry. Very Brdx like at this stage. Balanced, and very tightly wound. Did I mentioned woody? This has many years left to show it's true Character. Would recommend a hold on this one for another 3-5 years. Tried with some Dark chocolate, and it yielded a little more cherry fruit. Tannins are smoot, but very persistent at this stage. Would imagine this would get a higher score once fully integrated.
Decanted for 45 minutes Rich Dark garnet color with ample Blackberry and black currant. Cedar and eucalyptus. Excellent texture and mouthfeel. Long long finish and well structured with perfect tannis and balance. Easily a 25 year wine but was the star of the table tonight at 6 years old.
Very tannic and tart. Needs at least another 3-5 years in the bottle. Color and smoothness holds good promise.
This bottle was opened and aired for 3 hours followed by decanting for another hour at the restaurant.
Perhaps the vineyard's different process of grinding and including the seeds brought its bitter finish forward. Bottle was not fully enjoyable and tastes like it is not yet within the drinking window. The wine drinkers at my table declined a second glass due to the bitterness.
Would sample again but not before 2020. Also, would like to learn more about the use of the seeds in their processes.
Decanted 1 hr, recorked for 4 hours, and then decanted again at restaurant. Exquisitely exciting aromatics, perfuming the entire room during the initial decant. Lots of cassis, flowers, and dark cherry. The tannins are substantial, but melted away when chasing a big bite of steak. Then the fruit was beautifully revealed with a blast of bright ripe plum. Next bottle 2017. A point added for exciting potential.
Decanted for three house, utilizing a funnel. Dark violet, then a garnet that lightens. Electromagnetic on the engulfing nose: Violets, black cherry, sage, Kona coffee and gravel. So long and this ageless beauty wraps around every corner of your palate. Silky tannins with a powerful grip on the end. She could use a little nap to really exhibit all potential layers. Drink 2017 - 2037.
Tasted at the winery. This is very classy, offering a nose of blackcurrent, blackberry, earth and cedar. I really love the level of extraction which has resulted in silky, elegant tannins and there is excellent acidity running through the palate. The finish is long and clean. So elegant and refined, but with good concentration. There is nothing over done. This is precisely the style of Bordeaux blend - which reminds me of Dr John Middleton's Mount Mary Quintet - that more new world wine makers should be striving for. Let this sleep for another 10 years.
Dark purple in color. Dried cranberry & currants on the nose. An earthiness that was overpowered with clove & plum. This is tannic & chewy & the 2 hrs in the decanter did wonders. Expressive & juicy. This is a hearty fruit forward Bordeaux blend thAt is not for the faint of heart. Exquisite finish that races on. Remarkable & something to try again. Ill be in napa for 8-10 days & ridge is definitely on my list.
Opened after bottle number one was corked, so this did not have the benefit of two hours in a decanter. Notes of violets and blackberries. Powerful, with firm, fine-grained tannins and flavors of black fruit and cherry.
Tasted twice with consistent notes, once from 375 at the winery. Probably the best young Cabernet-based wine I've ever had. Fantastic nose of mocha, blackcurrant, and spices. The dark fruit gives it gravitas, but it goes down so easy, without any obtrusive tannin--an outstanding flavor-to-weight ratio. I was very surprised by how forward this was, though the format probably helped. Given the pedigree I imagine this will age gracefully, but I'm not sure it can get much better than this--only different. It'll be fun to check back in some years down the line.
Paired in second dinner flight with 2007 Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvigon. Opened 2 1/2 hours prior to dinner, decanted 1 hour prior to pouring. Approachable, young, lively full, bright - another "Oh Wow" wine around the table, expansive, integrated, much life left in this. This is an outstanding wine, and in its light the Estate Cab paled.
Nose of wet gravel, red fruit, and cigar. Stuffing of cherry, cigar, leather. Probably the lightest MB I can remember but a fine tannin back bone with plenty of puckering acidity. Length is moderate. Drinking well as we find this wine in a bit of adolescence, but it's built for the long haul. Needs another 5 years at least. 93+
Rich aromas of bacon, tobacco, black cherries, berry jam and leather. Rich and creamy at the start with dark cherry and leathery flavors. Dry, puckery tannins hit hard in the mid-palate along with bright, refreshing acidity. Cherry character continues through a moderately long finish, with spicy and woody notes. Excellent, but needs a few more years to mellow those tannins.
Off the wine list at the Anvil Club. Opaque inky purple color. Notes of black currants, violets, cherry, and florals. Full-bodied with firm, sweet tannins and loads of black fruit and floral tones. Long finish. Immensely enjoyable for its abundant fruit at this young stage. 94+ pts.
Ridge Monte Bello Vertical Tasting 1974 - 2008 (Switzerland): 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
$98 off the wine list at the Anvil Club. Opaque ruby/purple color. Decanted for about two hours to this point. Notes of cassis, violets, cherry, chocolate and incense. More florals and cedar as it continued to unwind over the evening. Full-bodied with firm, sweet tannins supported by a wealth of fruit- black currants, cassis and black raspberry. Floral qualities on the palate as well. Long, satiny finish. Juicy and hedonistic in terms of the fruit at this stage- though a long way from peak. 94-95 pts.
I am kicking myself for drinking this too early. A 3 hour decant, and still extremely tight. Finally opened up on the third day (yes, third) and by then it was exquisite. The purity and the fruit, magnificently integrated with the structure was a crystal ball into its future. Maybe someday I will pick up another bottle...
Friday Slide!!! Cherry cola. Dense blackberry aromas. Med + intensity of aroma. Vs the basic SCM, this has the concentration on the palate and depth in the nose. Medium plus fine grained tannin. Medium acid. Medium plus body. A touch of kernel on the nose and palate. Really feels pretty ready to go right off the cork pull.
Wonderful aromas of black fruit, ash, sun-dried tomato, graphite and gravel. I really liked how this smelled, instantly brought a smile to my face. The palate starts off with bigger fruit than you would expect but is very balanced, cherries, plums, graphite, grape skin, gravel, ash. Wonderfully integrated and balanced already. Elegantly textured and weighted. I really like this. I believe this is worth the price of entry, and would gladly purchase a few to age.
Medium dark red. Very intense nose, red fruit, cassis, mineral and spicey oak, just a hint of herb/tapenade. Very berry flavours, great concentration and a very tannic red fruit tinged finish. Although very tannic it showed a lot at this time. Needs 5 years plus and could improve for a decade.
Tasted at Lytton Springs. Big savory notes on the bouquet- tobacco leaf, earth, shoebox leather; rich and deep with cassis and currant peeking through. Rich and fine on the palate with layered fruit and depth- still very dense and tightly wound. Fine tannins and lengthy finish.
When first opened, the wine was pretty shut down.....absolutely no finish. Poured into decanter and waited a couple hours. The wine came alive! All sorts of things happening on the nose.....eucalyptus, cassis, sweet tobacco, dark fruit. Smooth palate through to a lively finish of vanilla and cherry. Earth showed after an hour.....balanced nicely with the dark fruits. After a couple hours in the glass, the wine began shutting down again....fortunately there were only a couple sips left at that point. Fun experience.
Medium-dark ruby color. A bit fumey on the nose, faint mineral, and odd oak treatment that is not especially clean, complex or inviting. Similar palate, clearly Old World in its fruit and style, but lacking any real beauty or depth. Not a wine I would lay down for long aging, despite its structure. Rather disappointing, but decent drinking with food.
Ripe aromas of licorice, blackberry, vanilla and earth, rich, full bodied, concentrated, tannic and structured to age, this elegantly styled, California Cabernet Sauvignon, made from a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc is a perfect ringer to insert into a blind tasting of California versus Bordeaux.
Private Tasting: Best of the US (Waterford Wine, Milwaukee): Tasting was called Best of the US. This wine (IMO) is the best of the US. I'm happy for others to invite me to tastings to prove me wrong! Classic Bordeaux blend aromas - blackcurrant, cassis, tobacco, spice, touch of forest floor and truffle. Smoooooth and silky on the palate, with chunky black berry fruit. Oh so deliciously long, juicy and incredibly moreish. Not too sweet or overextracted. Lovely fresh acidity. Actually drinking very splendidly now, but I suspect will keep for another 10-15 years or possibly more (especially judging by the 1997 we tasted next)...if you can keep your hands off it!
Purple in color and fresh nose of blackberries, violets, red currant, with some obvious oak that I am positive will integrate well within the next couple years. Smells and tastes very similar to young Bordeaux...as was the reason I purchased it. The only thing that may take me away from Bordeaux is the high amount of glycerin. Definitely has lots of potential based on the structure and balance.
Ridge Monte Bello 1994-2000 Vertical with Eric Baugher (Handford Wines, London): Very dark, dense colour. Big sweet core, some cedar on the nose but feels a bit thin on the mid palate. Good sweet/creamy tannin, lots of extraction here too (Eric said that 07 had twice the maceration year than normal to combat the high rains during harvest) . Lots of ripe fruit. This can easily be drank now and Eric does not believe this is a MB to age. 92 drink from now.
A Visit to Ridge Lytton Springs Estate: Inky purple color. Aromas of violets, graphite, black currants, black cherry and dark fruit. Full-bodied with firm but fine-grained and sweet tannins and wonderful balance. Flavors of dark fruit, black cherry and florals, with a long, long balanced finish. 13.1% abv, $158/bottle. 93+ today, and will undoubtedly be a great wine.
Tasted at the Lytton Springs winery. Honestly, quite disappointing. I'm a big fun of Monte Bello but this one was very mediocre. Medium-bodied, fruit forward, very oaky, extremely tannic. If I had tasted this blind I wouldn't have been able to pick it out of a line-up of $20-$30 cabs. Maybe time will do this wine a favor?
Visting Ridge Vineyards: Tasted at the winery. This was decanted, don't know how long. There's a lovely sweet black fruit perfume, accented with touches of vanilla, herbs and dill (from the American oak) and a hint of chocolate in the background. Classy, deep, and layered, with gobs of sweet black fruit and a touch of glycerin but on an agile frame that is not at all heavily thick or viscous. There's some herbal notes and a dusty, earthy flavor in the background. The structure is there with some slightly drying tannin on the back end but mostly it's hiding in the background and this is surprisingly accessible for a young Monte Bello (way more open than iirc the 05 and 06 I tasted recently). Just excellent and I would love to try this in 2033 or so.
Tasted at the winery. On the nose, lovely mix of toasty oak, currant, and blackberry. Deep and concentrated on the palate with a blast of cassis, sweet woody notes, and a hint of spice. Chewy tannins come full force and lead into a very lengthy finish. So much life left in this baby...if only i could afford it.
Made from 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 9% Petite Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. This is a chunky wine with plenty of primary fruit character, toasty oak and cigar box characters. Lovely rich palate with fine grained tannins and a long savoury finish.
Nose is clean, dominated by herbs and "wet gravel road". Turns more towards smoked/grilled fruit and olive branches. Blackcurrant and blueberry pie mixes into the nose. Fantastic. Taste is dominated by a "symphony of blackcurrant". Unbelievable well balanced wine with fruit and tannins mixed so perfectly together. The finish is looooong.
Following a tasting of Ridge Zins. This had been decanted at least a couple of hours and had opened up a lot from initially. Dark and dense. Just a gorgeous nose, though not especially intense at this time. Black fruits, roasted herbs, charcoal, vanilla/cocoanut/dill Am. oak. Good weight. Pretty darn tight on the palate, but still exhibiting delicious core of solid fruit, herbs, bits of earth and smoked seasoning. Terrific structure, balance, and finish. I think it will have a long life, but won't require extensive aging before becoming very highly rewarding. 95+
Had this bottle with a grilled steak and it was a perfect match. Nose was dark fruity and earthy with plenty of fruit and soft tannins to make it a fully integrated wine. Drank well now and I am sure this one will be good for at least 5-10 more years.
Was able to snag a small sip of this during a tasting but it was an impressive showing. In my mind, Monte Bello has always been the California wine that emulates the elegance, power and balance of left bank bordeaux, and this didn't disappoint. It had a nice bouquet of spices, cassis, red florals, and a slight cedar component. The palate was rigid at this stage of its life but holds great promise for future evolution. Very pure fruit seemed to integrate perfectly with a refreshing minerality and subtle earth tones...really beautifully balanced palate. This has a long life ahead of it, but if you chose to drink it now, I would advise letting it breathe for a couple hours prior to service.
Opened bottle let sit for about 45 minutes. Dark fruit, Cassis great powerful nose, carries over to the palate. Pure fruit but in great balance. nice acidity, drinking great now, though would taste excellent with some more time.
K&L Ridge Tasting (San Francisco): Lovely clean complexity. Nose has minerality, great black fruit, exceptional. Palate is deep, juicy, but a little reticent today. Tannins are solid throughout. Very young. Needs 10+ years of age to develop. 94+
Glunz Grand Tasting (Union League Club of Chicago): Showed really well at the tasting. Great smokey meaty aromatics. More of that bell pepper, soy, balsamic. Palate was rich and layered. Fruit, earth and baking spice. Big and well endowed but in balance - my style.
2007 Ridge Monte Bello in a line up with the 91, 92 and 94: more lush and fruity of course but showig the great focus and grip of the vintage. I'm looking forward to this one in a few years. It is furry and needs time.
Sure it's young, but it was very fun to pop a half-bottle of this wine. On the nose I get a fantastic combination of black currant, savory notes, and iron. Delivers intense flavor on the palate combined with ample acidity and slightly gritty tannins. I think this wine has a very promising future but would gladly consume more of it right now.
about the 5th time I have had this, I really like how it is evolving. The oak shines through with blackberry and currant. Distinct Monte Bello characteristics as always. Built to last a long time but feel this will be more approachable in 5 years from now than 05 and 06.
Currants, raspberry nose showing some veggie notes and a definiitive dill aroma that I associate with American oak. This blows off after an hour in the glass and become much more classic and pleasant. The palate is quite taut with tightly wound tannins and some tart puckering flavors balanced by rich ripe fruit. The finish is medium in length and seems to be in perfect balance. A stellar Monte Bello.
Napa Cabernet (Waterford Wine Co., Milwaukee): 'in the early years, paul draper was trying to emulate Latour.' that's where the iron comes in. nuanced cherry cola. great structure and not so giving right now. always a favorite year to year.
Vertical Monte Bello tasting at winery consisting of 2007, 1994, 1992, and 1991 vintages; all from 375ml formats. The 2007 was good followed by a fine 1992 and 1994. The 1991 was exceptional.
“Moderate summer/fall, long cool growing season…. October was wet and wintery, but on the 23rd temperatures rebounded. Harvest October 8, 2007 through November 8, 2007." The 2007 blend was 79 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, ten percent Merlot, nine percent Petite Verdot, and two percent Cabernet Franc. I thought the Petite Verdot was outstanding at the assemblage tasting and was surprised that a higher percentage did not make the final blend, but blending is an art unto itself.
Detailed notes on the color were limited due to the lighting in the tasting room, but the color was dark and appeared sound. The nose was appealing with elements of dark cherry, mulberry and subtle floral notes at the end. The palate had elements of dark fruit – cassis and mulberry mostly - along with leather and very light high-notes of menthol and perhaps peony. (The high notes at the end were very subtle and quite interesting and in no way were over the top.) I also noted earthy elements of iron and wet redwood, which I attribute to the tannins. Quite balanced and complex. The nose of the 2007 did not blossom and reveal an amazaing cigar box note like the 1991, so the older wine gets the nod for first place – perhaps bottle age makes a difference.
Nose - primary plum, just a little bit oxidative, spicy - cayenne and cinnamon. Smooth simpler fruit supported by a nice smokiness. Plum, elderberry, black currant, dusty tannin, touch of lime zest, smoky peach. 95+ pts
92 points with upside! I agree with others here on CT, this will be another outstanding vintage of Monte Bello with time. I sampled a half bottle and was pleased with what I found...typically dark, aromatically spicy, complex and intriguing although I can see the "banana peel" reference and it's there although my experience is that this component which comes from the barrel treatment will withdraw over time. In The Mouth, the first impression is succrosity...this baby is lick smacking good with terrific young mid-palate breadth and complexity. The tannins are noticeable in the mid-palate well into the finish. I am glad to have several more laying down in the cellar. Another excellent effort that we have come to expect from Mr. Draper and company.
Banana vanilla nose dominate. With time and some air the sturcture of the wine begins to show. Some good red fruit (raspberry) and dark fruit is well. Needs lots of time for the wood to integrate, but when it does it will be another good vintage.
Nose - light on its feet, classic, dusty, rich, smooth, Petit Verdot shows. Just so elegant and complex! Intense black currant, tart, smoke, bay, cedar, tight, PV note, elderberry, redwood, cinnamon, boysenberry, green peppercorn. I originally put down 95 pts, but Dave and I revisited this later, after everyone else had left. It opened up quit a bit and was much more expressive. The nose was very rich, showing some pungeant elderberry, redwood and mint. Drink '25-'50.
Nose - intense, cedary, black currant, gorgeous, Draper perfume, dried herbs, smoke, peppercorn. Lovely, intense, good acid, black currant, smoke, minerals, hint of tobacco. Broadly complex and seamless. Amazing!
I tasted this wine at Ridge's 1st Assemblage of the 2009 Monte Bello. This wine has a medium/dark purple color to it and it has a low alcohol of 13.1%. It has aromas of red and dark berry fruits, cassis, minerals and floral aromas. It tastes of red berries, cassis and mineral. This wine is fairly tight right now, it will gain more complexity and put on more weight with aging. No surprise, this wine is balanced, it also has a firm stuctuer. With the acid, tannin and structuer, this wine will need cellaring time, my guess is 8 to 12 years from vintage date, and while this vintage will not have the very long life spans of the '05, '06 and '09 vintage, it will easily be a 25 to maybe 30 year wine.
Tasted alongside the '06 and barrel sample of the '08. Very well balanced wine with smooth tannins and good acidity on the finish. No rough edges, typical medium color and body of Monte Bello. While it was drinking rather well for a young Monte Bello, it has the structure to age nicely and reach its peak in 15 years. My favorite of the 3.
3 stars our of 4 *** Tasted at the California Wine Futures Tasting in Washington D.C. in March. Very fresh, black and blue fruits, very sweet tannins. Doesn't show the characterisitic cedar notes yet but this has exceptional potential.
Ridge Monte Bello Tasting (The Wine Summit, Lake Louise, Alberta): BARREL SAMPLE. 73% CS, 13% M and 8% PV – 13.3% ALC. This should be close to the final blend, but a further tasting/selection will determine the final assemblage. Black/purple colour, with a deep pink rim; perfumed nose – grapey; short sniffs brings out fresh berries and slight evidence of light sweet smoke; on the palate some astringent fruit and primary oak influence; finish not yet defined but the sensation lingers on the palate for some time – moving to a fruity end. Fun to taste this very young wine from barrel, which is going to spend probably another year in barrel to evolve more than the primary fruit.
The Wine Summit at The Post Hotel in Lake Louise Alberta Canada was fortunate to have Mr. Paul Draper as one of the presenters. After taking us all down a brief but interesting trip down memory lane, Mr Draper lead us trough a technical tasting of 8 Monte Bellos covering a range or 23 years. This beauty was a barrel tasting and it was a beautiful inky purple color. It was very supple considering it youth. I got earthy and violet aromas. It had a spicy oak taste and feel to it. I am embarrassed to say this is my first MB but I am fan after this barrel tasting. This will be a good one to get upon release and lock it away.
Fully assembled final blend tasted at the winery. Despite its restrained nature, due to fruit and very limited aging (1.5 years in barrel), the final blend is extremely well-endowed amazing. Deep, rich dark red fruit of a black currant character, intermixed with graphite, charcoal and spice. The tannins have to be inched through, but behind them the fruit is robust and fully coats the entire mouth. The finish is complex, being multi-layered and very long. In my opinion, this is a buy.
This was tasted at March 8th-9th Ridge event in the Santa Cruz Moutains at the winery. This is their first assemblage, whether or not it will be their final blend or not remains unknown, but the final blend will be presented in May. The current blend is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and 12% Pet. Verdot. Depending on the final blend, the estemiated alcohol content will be between 12.9% and 13.1%. Deep dark purple with heavy body, up front acidity and tannin thoughout to give this wine plenty of aging potential. My guess is it will go 30+ years, but as the final blend is determined, and as it sits more, it will most likely put on some weight and could go longer. There were wonderful aromas of violets, minerals, red berries, earth. On palate, dark fruits, currants, mushrooms/earth and minerally. It was hard to pick up much on the palate and even the nose was hard to pick up. I had to use about every trick I could to get the wine to open up. This one will be a winner. For those getting this one in the future, let it sit awhile, it will need it. Great potential.