Compared to the 2006 Ridge Montebello for Harry's 41st. Unfortunately this bottle was on the downswing with greatly subdued blackberry fruit, a hint of apple cider oxidation notes, and all the black olive tapenade and tea leaves you could want. Here at 17 years I think bottle variation becomes more prevalent (see my 1/28/2015 note for an example of the range this wine displays). Still enough acidity and tannic structure to keep it drinkable and no wine went to waste; overall B- evaluation.
The 2006 was firing on all cylinders though, probably where this bottle was about 5 years ago.
At seventeen years, this showed no diminution from age and may be at the apex of its drinking window, not likely to improve any with further aging, but no need to rush to consume remaining bottle (s).
Dark purple garnet colored, medium to full bodied, initially a bit obtuse and acidic, but softened and opened after decanting and sitting for an hour, full, moderately expressive black berry fruits, complex, nicely polished, accented by subtle tones of pencil shavings, tobacco leaf, violets, and hints of bell pepper and anise with moderate smooth silky tannins on the finish. It would be overstated to characterize it as 'earthy' but there is a layer of complexity that reflects the storied terroir and reveals the care of 47% selection and the rigorous thinning that results in extremely selective, low yields.
Nice intermingling of cassis, anise, raisins, and cedar along with hints of prune and cigar tobacco in the background, in a way that only an aged cab can blend all of these together on the nose.
The palate shows all of the above along with hints of cola, spicy sarsaparilla, black pepper and bell pepper. Ridiculous development on the nose and palate, I found myself jotting down new notes after every sip I took as something else new would capture my senses. Enough acidity left and oak treatment to give it good structure and impressive length at this point, but the best thing about this wine is the elegant and ethereal way in which all components have integrated in the 17 years since it was vinified. The transition across the palate was seamless and left no taste bud alone on its travels. Truly a wondrous experience!
My wine of the night, A+ effort from Ridge. Ended up buying a bottle from the somm for a flat $100 out the door.
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