Ripple and Ridonculous Wines (Ripple - Cleveland Park - Washington, DC): One of my favorites of the night. Gorgeous aromatic display, incrementally better after three hours. So pure and elegant on the palate. Perfect balance between tannins and acid. Bright, lively currants and dark cherries complemented by a seamless blend of olive, tobacco, anise, cigar smoke, pickling spices. So much non-fruit complexity combined with waves of gorgeous, pure fruit. I’d love to try this again in five years.
This was weird on opening but after a 30 minutes, it changed character, losing a kind of rubbery, menthol note. After that, a nicely aged Monte Bello emerged, showing notes of cherry, leather, mint and plenty of tannin. I think these may be nearing completion date. I might drink in the next 2-4 years.
Parker in Dec 2003 gave this a 90 rating, and I think he undersold this one.. I had it at a steakhouse dinner along with another 2000 Napa Cab, Shafer's Hillside Select. We decanted it for about 1 hour, and then drank it with our meal. This was by far the better of the two wines. Long finish, amazingly complex and it just kept getting better. It is also much more "bordeaux" like than the Shafer. A quick tip: Monte Bello always seems to need decanting and breathing. They don't seem to show well on a pop and pour taste.
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(Ridge Monte Bello) Slightly bricking dark ruby color; lifted, herbal, thyme, tart cassis, roasted plum nose; mature, tart cassis, thyme, iodine, tart plum, graphite palate; should go 15-20 years; medium-plus finish (more mature tasting than the bottle I tried six months earlier; 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc)
(Ridge Monte Bello) Dark red violet color; rich cassis, berry, raspberry, vanilla nose; tight, ripe cassis, blackberry, ripe plum, herbal, menthol palate; medium-plus finish (my #5 of the flight, group's #8 out of 8)
(Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon) An earthy, meaty nose, but not really as expressive as the 1999 vintage, or the other wines here. A nice palate, more noticeable structure, still quite rounded though, with a good grip and firm acidity. Not the charm of the preceding vintages, but a good wine nonetheless.
(Ridge Montebello) Cassis, chestnuts, mint, leather, tar and smokey oak out of the gates. After aeration a touch of green peppercorn arrives. I thought it might be green but it really works with all the other aromas. Also there is not the slightest hint of green on the palate. Lots of currant, cassis and cherry fruit with some spicey oak tones. Perfectly balanced. Really glides across the palate. This was great for the first five minutes, then shut down for the next two hours and then slowly started to sneak back and fill out. Even though, the fruit never made it's real presence known. This needs time but will be fantastic when it get's there.
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