Opened, poured into a decanter, rinsed the bottle to remove sediment, and poured back in. Served about three hours later. Served with food (roast pork, Brussels sprouts, and cranberry bread). Followed for about three hours. Dark color. Nose shows ripe plum, black cherries and an herbal component. Smells a bit boozy. Nice cedar/cigar box notes. Rich and flavorful, dark ripe fruits, with a mint and eucalyptus component. Delicious.
Judgment of Paris (Washington DC): This was close to the consensus favorite of the night. I gave this about 5 hours of air prior to opening and it needed every hour. Very big, structured wine with a lot of fruit, oak, and tannin. A muscle-bound wine that should age well for a long time.
Just what I expected (and hoped for) - classy, elegant, complex, rich, ripe, juicy and long. Great nose of cassis, blackberry, earth, cedar, eucalyptus and with lots of licorice and tobacco after an hour or so. Very concentrated with a full body, good balance and a vibrant, fresh, mouth-filling character. Plenty of grip and firm, drying tannins. Delicious, fruity, satisfying, and very long finish. Still young and a bit tight with mostly primary fruits, but without any harshness, bitterness or rough edges. Drank a 2010 Caymus SS a couple of days ago and the Ridge was dramatically better in every respect. This is excellent now, and is going to be stunning in another 5-10 years.
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(Ridge Monte Bello) Dark red violet color; lovely berry, blackberry, black fruit nose; tight, tasty, blackberry, berry, oak tannins; long finish (needs 7-10 years; 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc)
(Ridge Monte Bello) Barrel sample (66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc) (13.6% alcohol)– bright crimson color; lovely cassis, cherry and mint nose with a hint of olive tapenade; tasty palate of cassis and tart cherry, very tight but with plush and focused fruit and depth; medium-plus finish 92-94 pts.
2006 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Franc component barrel sample (from a site near the North Gate) – super bright crimson red; nice, focused, herbaceous and green olive nose; excellent Cab Franc, with good body, tart cherry, good acidity; medium finish 92 pts. (This is so good, we wondered if they might separately bottle some, as they did in '02. Current plans, though, are to simply include this in the '06 Monte Bello.)
2006 Ridge Monte Bello Petit Verdot component barrel sample (from the Olivos parcel) – crimson color; focused blackberry, cassis nose with a strong mint note; enters unassumingly, but opens in a burst of tart red fruit mid-palate; medium finish 90 pts. (the nose, and where it hits on the mid-palate, should make it a very useful component of the Monte Bello cuvee)
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