I'm not a big zinfandel fan and Monte Bello needs a ton of age, so this is actually one of the most enjoyable wines from Ridge I've had, ever. A fleshy merlot, more Pomerol-like than St.-Emilion, with just enough sweetness and gloss to give it away as California, but it still hews close enough to the classics to bring them to mind. The back label says they made this wine from some softer barrels, but there is plenty of pleasantly grippy structural muscle here. It's really been a long time since I had a varietal merlot that was so satisfying. And so merlot, too. This is exactly what you want out of the grape, a claret-like profile but rounder and more inviting. It's making me nostalgic for the merlot days!
Plum, vanilla, baking spices, and ever so slightly hot. Nicely balanced, if only barely. I'm surprised this is ridge... Not sure I'd guess that blind. With air it came quickly into balance and the vanilla becamea background flavour. The fruit turned more bramble from the earlier plum. It's getting fresher with air, which is good. I wonder what will happen in another couple years.
Deep dark red center, red rim with very slight signs of age. Gorgeous nose of plums, black raspberries, bacon, kirsch, slight raisins, olives. Smooth and a little sweet, but with good backbone, cherries, sweet blackberries, rubbing tobacco, light but supporting tannins, ripe plums, juicy, cherry brandy, smokey long finish with ripe fruit. Excellent merlot, both ripe and restrained, sits somewhere between Napa and the old world, drinking well now but will last a few more years.
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(Ridge Merlot) Dark purple red violet color; appealing, satsuma plum, light cedar nose; tasty, ripe plum, tart black currant, cedar palate with good acidity; needs 1-2 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points
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