We tasted this blind and we are sure this fact contributed significantly to the enjoyment of our drinking experience and subsequent discussion.
None of four thought it Californian. It came as a complete surprise when our total conviction that it was left bank Bordeaux was destroyed by revelation.It is a restrained, structured thoroughbred of a wine but not flamboyant or showy. It has class and really goes to show how far removed from expectations Draper is willing to be, when creating his wines. There is no apparent posturing to popularity here, but just the enjoyment of pure, clean, dark fruit and menthol freshness overlying tannic bitterness. Our pleasure comes with a caveat however ; it is so atypical as a CalCab, in our opinion, that we fear it may disappoint, may show a lack of fruit, may indeed suffer by comparison with fuller more intense neighbours and that would be disappointing. Our collective tasting history leans heavily to Bordeaux and this wine slips seamlessly into classed growth discussions of that area where it holds a natural place. We love our Californian cabernets and read no implied criticism in these words but we love them for different reasons. There is a real risk that expectations may dull the experience and we were very glad the decision to taste-blind excluded this scenario..The point is one dimensional granted, and the open-minded taster may never fall into such a stereotypical trap, but we would have.
A great wine to enjoy and discuss with friends; a real conversation starter.
Initially very tight, took maybe as much as overnight to open. In some ways typical Monte Bello in that it is more European than Californian. Raspberry nose with a slate blueberry palate, hints of tar and tabacco. I think 2003 is one to drink soon.
Bought this on futures from Ridge and stored in proper cellar for past 8 years. This is my first bottle and I had high expectations in spite of the vintage. My initial impression was that while it is a big, opulent wine, it is not really either flamboyant or "Parkerized". Nice big, ripe red and black fruit on the nose with a lot of dried oak. Full-bodied and richly textured with terrific structure, excellent balance and a long finish. Still slightly primary flavors, but with good complexity and also nicely integrated and seamless. Takes on body, structure and depth with more airtime.
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(Ridge Monte Bello) From 375 ml - very dark ruby color; aromatic, ripe black currant, black cherry, black raspberry nose; silky textured, maturing, tart black currant, black cherry palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points
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