(First tasting note. Take with a grain of salt). Enjoyed this bottle with a nice prime rib dinner which was a good match for the Ridge. I don't think this will benefit from more age, however it developed substantially after decanting and 45 minutes of time, so perhaps could last for a few more years easily. The color was a deep-hued purplish-brown (at least under the dim lighting of the restaurant). The bouquet was smoky and grilled meat initially and retained those notes throughout although some plum and fig showed later. The first drink was taken too soon, eventually the wine opened up. The flavor notes that predominated were soy sauce, cigar box, and grilled meat (more grill then meat - at first it was like the aroma of a barbecue in use). There were hints of black fruits that continued to develop with time but never quite achieved a harmonious balance. That said it was a very enjoyable wine and was perfect for the prime rib. Maybe if we had left it for another hour it would have come into it's own. Didn't expect to have to do that with an '81. In comparison to the '95 vintage I had a couple of weeks ago, this was a lesser wine. But I'd gladly share another drop if offered, don't think I'd go looking for one to purchase though.
Part of a tasting put together by my friend jeffreylubowski. This bottle was from Andy's collection. Clean label and excellent ullage. Cork came out in one piece. Ninety-two percent Cabernet Sauvignon with the remaining balance Merlot. Color was quite good and indicative of a younger wine. Wine did not appear tawny in color for a 33-year old wine, but the lighting in the room limited further scrutiny. Nose and palate were pretty much the same, with elements of dark fruits (mulberry mostly), herbs, a bit of eucalyptus/menthol along with a touch of iron-like tannins. The mulberry and high notes of menthol made the wine taste rich without being jammy. Did not develop the cigar box element I fondly remember from the 1991 Monte Bello, but it's a lovely wine. Clearly a California wine for all the right reasons. Well integrated. Would enjoy tasting this wine against a 1st or 2nd growth Bordeaux from the same vintage. (1981 was a drought year. Alcohol: 12 percent.)
This was outstanding. The cork was suspect, so I was fairly nervous, but this had an absolutely captivating bouquet of damp earth, leather, tobacco, and herbs with a great core of cassis and red currant fruit. The nose was complex and developed well for 90 minutes. The palate was rich with fruit yet very elegant with a perfect amount of tannin that was well integrated. The finish was great initially, but did begin to fade after about 75 minutes. This bottle was purchased direct from the winery cellar. I think a well stored bottle still has years ahead of it as this was nowhere near over the hill. What a lovely wine.
I brought this and served it blind. We had just had the 1997 which was served by someone else, so this was fun. This was red fruited, elegant and hugely complex. Great wine with a perfect level of maturity (although it could go on). Discussions went between much younger Bordeaux or Bolgheri, no one would go to the US. Widely agreed to have been one of the best wines of the night. An eye opener for many.
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(Ridge Monte Bello) Bricking medium garnet red color with pale meniscus; mature, dill, weedy, cedar nose; mature, solid, balanced, tart cassis, dill, cedar palate; long finish (I was guessing this was several years younger than '81; 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot)