I'm assuming that the negative notes had a bad bottle (and, judging by my experience with the '91 Geysers, bottle variation is not uncommon in this vintage). Cedar, black fruit, some mint, and some tertiary Bordeaux characteristics. Not going to improve, but certainly holding well here.
From a bottle with a good fill, spinning capsule, and excellent cork. Past prime, volatile, extracted with a fair amount of tannin remaining but the fruit has mostly faded, leathery, anonymous and boring. Very disappointing.
I love Ridge, and I love Monte Bello, but this sucked. From a clean bottle and cork, this was volatile, drying out, and in that old-wine phase where it tastes anonymous and leathery. Tasted blind, at first I guessed old Loire (the wine has a serious green streak); then old Nuits (the wine has drying, rustic tannin); then settled on old mountain Merlot from Napa. Wrong again, but that captures the problem with this wine: with anonymous plummy fruit, a short, tannic finish and some arguable flaws, its hard to get any pleasure or Monte Bello-ness from it.
Lots of life in this. Red fruit, with excellent acidity and grippy tannins. Full-bodied, this drank well the night we opened and for two days after. If anything, seemed to improve over the three days it was open. Not yet showing all that much in the way of mature Bdx flavors, and maybe it won't ever, as there is such good fruit and acidity at work.
12.9% ABV which may be part of the reason that has aged some gracefully. I've now had a half dozen bottles of this vintage, and it has always showed very well. 82% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15% Merlot; 3% Cab Franc.
At Houston's with NWA and alongside some excellent other wines (83 Dominus, 97 Montelena, 00 Calon Segur, 03 Phelps Backus, 08 Maybach Materium).
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