In the last two years, the 1995 Monte Bello has began to shed some of its formidable tannins, and is now drinking very well. The nose offers up notes of red and black fruits, rich earthy tones and nuances of cedar and leather. Deep and concentrated with a nice and classical balance between acidity, tannin and fruit, this is turning out very well, and Eric Baugher's concerns that he had pushed extraction too far seem to be unfounded.
The last time I had this wine, I brought it to Montrachet in Tribeca (with James and Fernando), so that must be ten or so years ago. This latest showing, to my palate, was not that great. The sides here show some drying out, and the fruit in the middle seems to be waning. Fairway Cafe with the guys.
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(Ridge Monte Bello) Medium dark ruby color; nice, mature, herbal, cedar, stewed plum nose; mature, tasty, tart plum, cedar, herbal, American oak dill palate with medium acidity; at peak, should go 5-7 more years; medium-plus finish 92+ points (tasted much more mature than only 16 years old; 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc)
(Ridge Monte Bello) Dark red violet color; lovely cassis, slightly herbal, plum, cedar nose; tight, youthful, tart cassis, red plum, cedar palate with a touch of herb; long finish 92+ points (69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc)
(Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon) This has a very good nose, very deep and meaty, complex, with some red fruit character alongside notes of pickling spices. The palate is quite complete and textured, and deeply structured. There is still a core of firm tannins, with a meaty style. This is very good indeed.
(Ridge Monte Bello) The next wine had big-time underarm in its nose at first . it was very distinctive, but some exotic, cinnamon fruit as well. Justin politically corrected me with .earthy complexity.. That it did have, with a kiss of citrus and some meaty, cassisy, blueberry syrupy fruit to round out its nose. The palate had no fruit whatsoever, though, and was all finish, which was good, but not exciting. Someone noted its .Gruaud Larose like. qualities, which I saw, but the wine was either shut down or never going to be great.
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