1995 Ridge Monte Bello

Community Tasting Notes

Community Tasting Notes (161) Avg Score: 93.1 points

  • Beautiful bottle of wine. NOT a typical California Cabernet—only 69% cab, in fact. I wonder if the reviewers who were disappointed didn’t grasp that almost 1/3rd of this wine is merlot, petit verdot, and cab franc. It is fruity, crisp, and sufficiently tannic to last a while. There is plenty of tobacco and leather, and a fresh, jammy nose. The 12.5% alcohol is a plus for me. Very enjoyable with or without food.

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  • Needed 2 hrs to get in order.
    Elegant, and powerful with charming acidity. Clear red berries. Too polished and faceless for our taste. Blinded, I guess I would have gone for a 2nd tier Italian meritage.
    A little disappointed.
    @ Tani

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  • Big Cab Open (Eagle Brook CC): Our penultimate bottle, gently double decanted off its sediment about two hours prior to service. Garnet core with just slight bricking at the meniscus. Gorgeous mature bouquet of iodine, black currants, leather, tobacco and just a hint of violet underneath. Fully integrated and balanced, this bottle is at peak. Red fruit dominates the palate, with iodine and cigar tobacco as well. Long finish. 96+ pts.

    We kept some in our glass for the entire evening, and over the course of four+ hours it deteriorated in the glass, with a strong brett quality coming forward. By the end of the night it masked the fruit and other aromas. It was at its best 2-4 hours from the time the cork was pulled. The oldest wine, by far, that anyone else at the table had ever tasted, our goal was to expand horizons. This seemed to be well-received, which came as a bit of a surprise to me as I expected mixed reactions given that the fruit would not be front and center.

    Our final bottle will be opened sometime in the next 18 months or so.

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  • This elegant and slightly austere wine is still relatively young. I think the high acidity is slowing the ageing process. Bright raspberry on the palate, medium weight, quite lean, would have liked more fruit weight. The finish is quite long and there is moderate complexity here. Drinking now but may be better in 5 or 10 years.

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  • Cellared since release, perfect cork and fill. Dark red core, lightening at the rim. Forward complex nose with ripe dark fruit, cassis, oak, leather, moist earth, bell pepper. Medium body, well balanced with minerally acidity, mostly resolved tannins, showing some earthy complexity and oak on the medium-long finish. Excellent.

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  • Definitely Old World style. Decanted for an hour. Drank next to a 1997 Harlan, and the differences were pronounced. Much leaner, more tannic, less sugar than the Harlan. Minty and flinty, with a slightly bitter edge. A solid cab worthy of its pedigree, but if I had to do it over again, would wait another 3-5 years to open this.

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  • Served blind to friends. Opens with some dark berry, bell pepper, even celery, and a touch of old world funk. Palate is leaner than expected, red-becoming-black fruited, minty, stern, cool, and crunchy with plenty of structure. Universally called Bordeaux, with good reason. This bottle isn't quite mature and may have had quite a bit of positive development ahead of it.

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  • Strange sourness to this, with a sappy, green tinge, and a little funk. Plenty of wood, nicely integrated. Balance is actually pretty awesome, and if I were a Bordeaux fan, it would probably add 5 points to my score.

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  • My last bottle confirms that this is a 30-40 year wine not a 20-30 year wine. The aromatics are there and the oak has resolved, but still several years of structure left to work its way out; after a couple of hours, this was enjoyable but still not where I want to be for consuming this. Starting to have some nice notes of development in the flavors, including some brick-earth and red fruit I don't normally get, but still with plenty of tannin to resolve.

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  • While not exactly disappointing, I hold this producer in such high regard that perhaps I am a bit harsher than I’d usually be: this was a good bottle, perhaps even very good, but it was not elite. The cork disintegrated, which was not a good first sign. Nose was just bit hard to coax out but eventually showed nice notes of menthol, cedar, and some leather nicely accompanied by a palate of soft tannins. The beauty of the wine came out in the restraint and elegance of the fruit. But I have to take a few points off given the acidity was just a touch higher than expected (even adjusting for Santa Cruz) and interfered with the overall structure. I think I had a slightly damaged bottle and bet a perfectly stored specimen would rate closer to 95. I guess it shows even a RMB can be hit or miss at 25+ years. In any case, I can’t imagine other specimens are “so young” - this is a wine that should be drunk soon.

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  • This is outstanding. Perfectly mature Cabernet Sauvignon, perfectly ripe. More blackberry than black currant. A bit of mint on the top. Pure and beautifully balanced; the tannins are complete, not dry. So different from some of the modern California Cults, all makeup and no substance. With a bit more complexity from other grapes like Merlot or Cab Franc, this could be spectacular. But that is quibbling. First Growth California without a doubt. Bravo, Mr. Draper.

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  • Drank at 67 (M)
    Incredible depth and complexity. Beautiful

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  • Spectacular. Perfectly balanced as the tannins have softened. Elements of cassis and blackberries. Supposedly has another 10 to 15 years to run but I don’t see how it could improve.

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  • Napa Tasting (Bistro Cocotte, Haberfield): Ripe blackcurrant and cherry initially with a little sweet spice and vanilla, cedar also a slightly oxidised note. With time it' starts to show volatility as well. this is reflected on the palate - a wine that initially shows fresh with similar crunchy black fruits backed by chalky drying tannins gets more and more sour and undrinkable. I've not witnessed such a rapid descent into flawdom before. How sad.

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  • Tasted double blind. By the time I got to this, a number of the others had already tried this and narrowed down to Loire Cab Franc. Not a chance. I stuck my nose in this and got the dark blue fruit, menthol-eucalyptus and herbal of cool-climate classic (not spoof) Cali Cabernet. Fruit has some black currants. Just spectacular on the palate - holy crap. Great fruit, a bit of mocha, menthol and mint, deep fruit, great balance. This has good energy and acid - not a hint of heaviness or heat. ( Alcohol is 12.5%) Long herbal finish. Right in my wheelhouse. Nose - 5.5/6, Palate - 6/6, Finish - 5.5/6, Je ne Sais Quoi - 1.5/2 = 18.5/20.

    After nailing this a Cali Cab, I went on to guess a classic producer with more herbal aspects such as Stags Leap, Montelena or Heitz Martha's from 01. Should have stuck with the 'cool climate'.

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  • I've enjoyed many bottles of Ridge Monte Bello over the years (but not for three or four years), but this one was a huge disappointment. Jammy with some off-putting notes of prunes. You'd never pick this as anything other than California. I guess I've been drinking too much Burgundy to appreciate this wine, but hopefully it was an off bottle as I have more of the 90, 91, 92, 94 and this vintage.

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  • Wow. Last of a case consumed over a decade. What an amazing wine. Stone fruit and berries over an earthy core with some cedar on the finish.

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  • Enjoyed at Daniels. Killer nose - Bdx doppelgänger. Medium to full body. Great acidity begs for food. Smoke, leather, spice racing around a core of dark fruit. Long finish. This is drinking very well now.

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  • Coravin fun - Ridge range; 1/15/2020-1/17/2020 (My place, Kent Street): From Coravin. Aromas of brambles, blackcurrants, plums, earth, leather, tobacco leaf, a little ripe cranberry underpin, sweet spice. Richly generous nose. The cranberry note seems to lend freshness to the palate. Tannins are silky and long and the fruit persists. Nice but not as good as I remember it being.

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  • Not sure how long been open. Aromas of dried cherry, earth, wood and blackberry. Flavors of blackberry, dried cherry, earth and currant. Still in great shape. Ends with a long finish of 30-35 seconds.

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  • Sorry I don't have more. This is drinking well right now, with everything in balance. Will hold on a while, but concur that the window is starting to close.

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  • Cellared since release, perfect cork and fill. Dark red core, minimal lightening at the rim. Forward complex nose with ripe dark fruit, cassis, oak, leather, moist earth, bell pepper. Medium to full body, concentrated, youthful layered ripe fruit on the palate, well balanced with minerally acidity and mellowtannins, showing some earthy complexity and oak on the medium-long finish.Excellent now and youthful, may improve further over the next 5 years and last another decade beyond that.

    This paired beautifully with grilled butterflied leg of lamb. The group was split over preferring this vs. the 2004 Harlan Estate. I preferred the complexity and balance of the Ridge.

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  • A lost Friday afternoon gathering – Mostly blind, some double blind (Blacksalt, Washington DC): The nose is very similar to wine 2, noticeable American oak and ripe black fruit. However, it is less evolved. Expressive nose displaying ripe black fruit with a hint of red, cremes de cassis, blackberry jam, plum, bell pepper, ash, lead pencil, leather and earth. Very good concentration, layers upon layers of ripe black fruit, bright acidity, limestone mineral, slight coarse tannins and a medium to long ripe black fruit driven finish with ash and oak at the end. This remains very youthful and can improve for another decade.

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  • Year of the pig dinner

    1995 Ridge Monte Bello
    If I blind tasted this wine I would have guessed it is a left bank Bordeaux, this was the classic older style of Ridge. On the nose, soil, light leather, cigar, smoke, and violet, on the palate, quite elegant with a lot of herbs, rosemary, smoke, and smooth tannin. A great bottle. The blend was 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot

    Wines we had:
    1983 latour, 1983 mouton, 1983 chavel blanc; 1995 mouton, 1995 chavel blanc, 1995 haut Brion, 1995 latour , 1995 vega sicilia, 1995 ridge monte bello, 1995 Pichon lalande

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  • Compared to the previous bottle, the wine has opened up. More bordeaux than napa but the mid palate lacked the stuffing when it was served next to 95 vega sicilia and 95 pichon lalandez. Again, a friend pointed out that the low acidity in the wine was the culprit as it lacked freshness and vibrancy for a young napa.

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  • What an amazing wine. Secondary cherries and plums. Finishes with cedar and leather.

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  • Three Musar's at Ashish's (Ashish's): Deep ruby with a garnet rim. Vivid tart black currant. Green and brown olive. Distinct rich ripe pyrazines. Hint of oak - savory baked pie crust and stewed tomatoes (pyrazines). Has a bit of herbal gingerbread (American oak?) that melts well with the wine.

    Tannic and acidic. Still chewy. A bit shut down but quite extracted. Feels around 14% alcohol.

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  • Dinner with the wine group (Millbrae, CA): Cork removed very easily. Deep ruby, minimal bricking for its age; nose is initially a bit reticent, some vanilla, some blackberry, otherwise a bit closed; palate is full bodied, youthful black fruit, medium-plus plush tannin, medium to medium-plus acidity, plenty of primary fruit but not a lot of additional development; medium-plus finish. At this point this seems like it needs additional time or air, which is different from my last bottle a year ago. Interestingly, I had then also compared it to the '95 Dunn HM (as now), and last year the Monte Bello came out ahead, but now the Dunn does. Let's see if air helps. 91 now.
    5 hours decanting didn’t help much. Seems in an awkward middle spot. Wait a few years before my next bottle.

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  • Great color, but past its prime. Our last bottle. The other two that we drank 2 years ago were fantastic.

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  • From an Enomatic sample bottle that was more than half full. Fresh with rich fruit, minty notes. Wonderful, complex and intriguing nose. Perfectly ripe and mature fruit, silky, lean and just superb with a refreshing acidity. The only thing is that the palate is maybe maybe a tad linear compared to the nose. Very Bordeaux. Score is on the high side but this came after a series of wines in a range one notch below so I was perhaps a bit overwhelmed. At peak? Will keep for years though.

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  • Ridge Cabs (La Trompette, London): Dense and quite plush on the nose. Unsurprisingly, dense and quite dark on the palate too. Still some chew. Very classy. Still needs a bit of time. Classical. ***(*1/2)

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  • tasting at OWC

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  • Nice dense fruits, big wine with a lot of tannins. Complex but a bit of dry finish

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  • Opened and poured. Aromas of funk, leather, dried cherry, dried blackberry and touch of iron. Flavors of dried cherry, blackberry, earth, iron and mineral. Ends with a great finish of 45 seconds with cherry notes. Still tasting very young.

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  • Dark still, minty, inky, dark ink squid, what a nose, layered, very finesse, a stunner, a cool vintage, in its drinking window, reminded me of the 97 cos estournel
    94

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  • The wine is clear, dark ruby core with a medium broad watery rim, developing.

    Nose is clean, medium intense nose with aromas of blackberries, dark plummes, pencil, hint of red bellpeppers, cigar box/ceder tree, developing and quite complex

    Palate is dry medium ripe tannins, medium+ aciditt, medium alcohol, medium + body, flavour intensity and high dry-extract with aromas of blackberry, dark plum, ceder tree, pencil, and a very dominating blackcurrant which carries the long finish for a long time.

    Very well balanced, high concentration, deep complexity, medium+ intense but very soothing, and a very long finish which is, as previously mentioned, dominated by a very pleasant blackcurrant aroma. Drink now and next 10-15 years. Outstanding quality, 95p

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  • Dinner at Maestros Scottsdale. Cork a bit dry but wine was doing fine...almost perfect. Deep purple black color (not best light in room to see exactly). Aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, cedar and mint wafted out of the glass. On the palate, aromas persisted along with dark black fruits. Texture was velvety and tannis were present but perfectly integrated. Finish was fairly long and pleasing. Highest recommendation.

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  • drank during the night of the 95 with KS ( drank with a 1995 Beaux Freres and 1995 Yquem,
    great wine it just kept getting better over a two hours
    huge nose i the bottle
    dark ruby color no signs of bricking
    Dark fruits cedar, leather that kept evolving in taste over the evening
    my last bottle can't imagine it tasting much better

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  • Drank blind. For me it was not an elegant BX or California. The fruit was one-dimensional, but great cassis and eucalyptus notes with ripe tannins. 94

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  • Coravin fun - Ridge range (My place, Kent Street): From Coravin. Biscuit, toast, blackcurrant, leather, muted sweet spice, polished oak. More of the same on the palate. Tannins are fine though persistent. Fruit carries stupid long. Superlatives are pointless. This really is something else.

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  • Nose of forest, dark fruit, tobacco, complex. Wonderfully precise wine on the palate. No Napa fruit monster, alcohol in check, soft tannins. Long finish. A truly great CabSav.

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  • Ridge, Dunn, and Etna Rosso's with friends (Fremont): Beautiful coffee liqueur with sweet tamari on the nose. Cassis. Integrated cinnamon oak. Slight stewed sweet bell peppers.
    Full bodied. Elevated acid. Medium tannins - satiny and melted. Long finish with some cassis. Can age longer. Very elegant.

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  • Dinner at Home; 2/4/2018-2/17/2018 (Fremont, CA): Durand, cork removed easily, tasted just after decanting. Deep ruby, minimal bricking for its age; nose is aromatic, blackberry, balanced american oak that comes across as well integrated vanilla spice, some hints of mint, slight tobacco; palate is full bodied, rich black fruits, medium-plus fresh acidity, plush medium-plus tannins; finish is medium-long. 4 years since my last bottle, and this was definitely more approachable and in an excellent spot now. An interesting comparison with the '95 Dunn HM, which was more bordeaux-like, a tad simpler, fresh and food-friendly, a bit of a shorter finish, while the '95 Monte Bello is distinctly more American, but balanced, more complex aromatics with some spice, more complex palate, still food-friendly, more length on the finish, and overall tastes just a bit younger. Both excellent, but tasting them side by side highlights the differences. 94-95+, still has 2 decades ahead of it with maybe some further improvement, though great now.

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  • Drank in London
    Rich young nose full of dark fruit and green peppers. Smooth palate.

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  • Ridge Monte Bello Vertical, 1980-1999 (Chez Moll): Double decanted ~3-4 hours prior to dinner. Full, rich, powerful nose of youthful plum fruit with tar and bell pepper. The palate here has great concentration and richness, matched by good tannic structure -- in fact the most tannic wine in tonights line-up. Layered and complex.
    Excellent balance and completeness. Should age for 10+ years.

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  • Ridge Monte Bello, 1980-1999 (Chicago, IL): How nice it is to retaste this wine non-blind, after my calling this a Rioja at the Heritage Blind Tasting Challenge. Yes, there's that much American oak. The nose also shows a bit less ripeness (compared to the 1994 and 1997), and a bit more green as well. In that sense, this is more Bordelais and restrained; it's less obvious that this is a Californian wine. The fruit and tannins here still show fairly young.

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  • Is this the longest lived California Cabernet Sauvignon produced today? Perhaps, as this is still so young, fresh and vibrant, in color, aromatics and flavors, I was thinking this was 10 years younger than its true age. Medium/full bodied, with a real freshness to the red fruits, with liberal doses of smoke, tobacco and forest floor sensations. As a guess, 5 more years should add more softness, but this will always be on the classic, bright side of the style range. The wine was produced from blending 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. It is interesting note that starting with the 1995 vintage, the blending was conducted later, during the aging process.

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  • Huge tasting at OWC in Birmingham to celebrate Roy's Birthday. I t was an "angry man" tasting, meaning that only great bottles were to be brought and that was the case. At least 30 great bottles were brought, which makes it difficult to really compare. Even though, wow, what a night. The standouts for me was a 97 Insignia and a 00 Clos De Tart. Other bottles that I tasted included an 86 Grange (94pts), a 91 Dunn, a 65 Haut-Brion, a 99 Gevrey Chambertin 1st cru, a 78 Gaja Barberesco, an 07 Harlen, an 07 Araujo Eisle, an 00 Clos de Tart, 09 Lambrays, and a 2012 Musigny. They even had a 1947 Bordeaux from my birth year. I don't remember what one, but it was still drinking well.

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  • Heritage 2017 Blind Wine Tasting Challenge - Chicago "Regional" (Heritage Gallery - Chicago IL): Tasted doble blind. Black fruit with sweet spice that made me think this California Cab, but with good acidity from an Old World styled producer. At its peak now, combining enough fresh fruit with emerging evolution, but I thought it slightly younger, 2001 Mondavi Reserve.

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  • 2017 Heritage Blind Wine Challenge (Chicago, IL): Served double blind. American oak to the forefront (well, at least I can pick up on that -- I did swap the Rioja and Ridge wines in this lineup, alas). Dense, tough, and good fruit made me think that this was from a riper vintage, and the really tough tannins had me thinking a Rioja with a little bit more extraction. I guessed 2004 Muga Prado Enea.

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  • The 1995 Monte Bello has it all. Coffee, smoke, menthol, and subtle cassis are just some of the notes in the hugely expressive, gorgeous nose. Immense minerality on the palate, with excellent balance between acidity, cool dark fruit, and ripe tannins. The concentration from extended extraction is there yet this isn't overwrought at all. To the contrary, the 1995 is a wine for those who love refined, cool Cabernets.

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  • same experience as my 11/26/16 bottle

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  • Absolutely spectacular! Birth year wine for my son. Thanks again to Matt Kramer for suggesting we buy this wine. 2nd of 3 bottles. Still has great structure and fruit. The wine has matured beautifully! A real treat to be able to enjoy a mature smooth wine of this quality with my family!

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  • Coravin fun - Ridge Monte Bello & others (Kennards, Waterloo): From Coravin. Black cherry, vanilla, cream, sweet spice, blackcurrant, polished cedar, slight soy with balsamic hints and leather. On the palate it's slightly more austere than the 1992 but this is superb. Flawless, balanced. Again that fruity cornucopia note but it's savoury and more restrained as well. Elegant, long and pretty marvellous.

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  • Harsh and unpleasant, very tannic and acidic with little fruit. Did not inprove with airing.

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  • Wow, took a little decant then really bursts out of the glass with cherries, plums and currants. Peaking perfectly.

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  • Tasted a bottle alongside a tip-top Graves from the late 90's. The French wine came out of the blocks faster but faded slightly, whilst the RMB 95 just kept on coming and arguably 'overtook' the Graves after about 30-40 mins in the glass. RMB can on occasion be excessively 'farmyard' - brett? This bottle simply tasted like a slightly over-muscled top end claret, with plenty of tobacco and distant bonfire to complement the plentiful dark red fruit. The tannins are now starting to calm down. I doubt that RMB 95 will be quite as good in its 4th decade as it is now early in its 3rd, but that still leaves plenty of time...

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  • Beautiful bottle. Strongly suggest to open and let slow oxidize for at least 120-180 mins before drinking. (Wine even went through an off putting phase -horribly off-putting nose- for a while, before opening up beautifully after two hrs).

    Very very youthful - surprising. Little if any bricking - not even at the rim.

    Beautiful nose. Black and red fruits, cedar, cigar box, leather, menthol, forest floor.

    On the palate, it is very similar to the nose, as described above - with added touches of coffee and chocolate. The highlight? Beautiful acidity, well integrated tannins, no obtrusive oak. Very classic, very elegant, very well balanced. New world fruit with old world sensibilities make for a superb bottle of wine.

    I will revisit my remaining bottle in 5-7 more yrs, when I think this bottle will reward those who enjoy secondary/tertiary notes.

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  • this was a good Ridge MB but not as good as it can be, this was a touch angular upon the pnp, then rounded out a bit (but not quite enough) with a couple hours of air, also didn't have the depth I often find in RMB, perhaps the vintage??... could it be that this is slightly closed right now?

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  • The Arts Club Version of the 1976 Judgement of Paris, With Steven Spurrier (The Arts Club, London): This has definitely evolved nicely since we last crossed paths (Rated 90 in 2011) and was a truly a beautiful wine with still a lot in the tank.
    True to the classic style of the wine albeit with that kink of extra ripeness of California. Open on the nose, light herbs at times, good dark fruit. Good acidity and structure and lovely length to cap it all up. 93-94 and a solid wine.

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  • USA 1995 (@ JK): In the bouquet red forest fruits, cedar and graphite. On the palate red berries, vanilla, chocolate and coffee. Beautiful, almost classical acidity and tannin with a pleasant and soft bite. Beautiful wine with still a future of a few years.

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  • Found this rather disappointing. Slightly musty nose and big soft cassis palate that is rather one-dimensional and fruit forward to my taste. Poorly balanced, and lacking in much subtlety. Something slightly unpleasant on the finish?

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  • really good but outdone by a Vietti Barolo Rocche '88, very nice bottle with good med plus body but nonetheless the structure to hold together, almost wish there was more fruit on this but perhaps it is still shut down and will blossom more in the future, the structure is there to accept more fruit if it comes forward

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  • Restaurant broke cork so bad start. Wine was really good stuff. Decanted 1 hour.

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  • We opened this bottle for my son's 21st birthday. Matt Kramer suggested this wine. Wonderful choice! Great fruit! This wine is not past its prime. The cork disintegrated, but did not affect the wine.

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  • Cork crumbled into sawdust. Wine was bitter, weak, and super syrupy. After an hours rest the situation worsened. Bad bottle.

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  • A lot of power with very balanced fruit profile. From the attack, mid palate and finish, this is lovely santa cruz wine. Still a good few years before reaching maturity. Lots of potential. Thanks Littlehorse for the wine. I would wait at least 5 years if you only have one bottle.

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  • Off bottles, may be slightly corked. Funk up front dives way to cherries and tobacco.

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  • This bottle was AWESOME -- one of the best wines I've ever had. Had this in my cellar for 17 years (a gift from the Newsome lab) and it was worth the wait. Uncorked and aired for 2 hours before drinking (but did not decant). If you are looking for a highly extracted cult-style CA cabernet, this is not it (and that may explain some variance in the scores). This is all about elegance and balance and finesse. I could have smelled the wine for hours: forest floor, eucalyptus, mint, tobacco, as well as red fruit and leather. Just an intoxicating nose. On the palate, this was medium weight with nice acidity and some minerality, as well as a velvety texture. Still plenty of fruit left, but this is all in harmony. Tannins are still there but not intrusive at all. If stored properly, this still has some good years to go. Fascinating -- and a landmark wine for me. If only I had more...

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  • Our first Ridge (courtesy of Grapes, White Plains) (Landmarc): Seems to be in a bit of a gangly phase. Like the '92 my first impression is just how young it is. The tannins are really strong here. Creates a dusty flavor to the wine. Very mellow. Hints of rocks. Very old work. Unripe red fruit. But overall just a quiet wine that didn't quite find it's feet even drinking over the course of an hour or so.

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  • Ridge tasting at the Rheingau Gourmet Festival 2016: classic claret color; smells of leather, coffee, cassis; a mouth full of cassis sweets; light/medium body with a short finish.

    Best Monte Bello grand vin vintage at this tasting (the flight contained the 1995, 1998, 2000 and 2012 vintages).

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  • Mike Novick Xmas gift

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  • No notes, going on memory. Deep, dark beautiful color with fairly bright edges, plus still a lot of acid and tannin, excellent length; full mouth feel, lovely residual sweetness; still with lots of life; big, blackberry and cassis aromas and flavors; sweet and slightly peppery nose; definitely a restrained, Bordeaux style Californian, with no excessive alcohol or oak.

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  • For Christmas dinner, I poured a 1995 Ridge Monte Bello, which is a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc, and for which I provided a detailed note on my blog in December 2013: http://www.professorbainbridge.com/professorbainbridgecom/2013/12/ridge-monte-bello-santa-cruz-mountains-1995.html

    The cork on this bottle disintegrated upon opening and I ultimately had to push the remnants through the neck into the wine, which necessitated decanting through an unbleached coffee filter in a funnel. In short, an even worse mess than the 2013 bottle.

    In 2013, I thought this wine was still too young. Tonight, however, it was drinking very well. To be sure, it's still very youthful in appearance--a deep ruby. The intense bouquet suggests cassis, blackberries, and blueberries. On the palate, the tannins have softened quite a lot, making it much more pleasant to drink. There are still a lot of red and black fruit associations, but there are now also maturity markers like leather and tobacco. I think it has at least another decade of potential improvement, but I would not blame you if you opened it tonight

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  • Still a massive California Cabernet blend, seemed especially youthful after a bottle of the '84. Powerful nose with blackberry, blueberry, black currant (cassis). Good minerals, medium toast and vanilla on the palate. Maybe a touch hot (alcohol) and a little spicy. Really a great bottle though. Excellent wine with a bacon cheeseburger and fries.

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  • no notes, but remember thinking it wasn't as good as the recent bottle i had at the Triple Crown

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  • drank at Triple Crown dinner so no notes, loved by the table among tough competition, this was round and with delicious and delicate fruit, but balanced and enough grip to be elegant even though med+ bodied, nice touch of sweetness... great

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  • 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.

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  • Lovely nose, exotic spices, mint, liquorice, cedar, tobacco. On the palate good acidity, elegant and fine. Nice fruit, good texture, slightly spicy towards the persistent finish. Drink or hold. 92-94

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  • 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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  • Fruit floats in the glass with currants, plums and cherries. well integrated, perfect with a steak.

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  • PnP and perhaps needed more time. Better after an hour, but still reserved. Blackberries, bark, tobacco, clean, soft, still young.

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  • drank on Cole's 19th bday, very nice with plenty of fruit and very young tasting, i think this wine would have been better in 5 - 10 years, and i heard from Eric and Joe that the last sip late in the evening (when i had moved on to other wines) was the best with more secondary flavors kicking in… wait on any bottles for a couple years (even if nice now)

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  • Garnet. Nose and mouth all tertiary-anise, tobacco, cedar with an acid finish. Good.

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  • At the winery. Poured from a Coravino. Tasted after the 2010 MB. Now this is what you would hope for with a MB. Fantastic aromas of dark fruit, those blueberries again, tobacco and minerals. The mouthfeel is medium to rich. The aromas are carried into the palate and if anything dominates it's the tobacco maybe, but there's definitely enough fruit to balance. The tannins are rather present still so I reckon this wine would improve even further with time. All the other ingredients are there to carry it forward another 5-10 years. A truly great wine!

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  • Really stunning, and still quite young. This bottle came directly from the winery after a 30 yr vertical tasting event, the provenance was perfect, and it showed. Even if the color shows no age, the aromatics and the cool, full-bodied palate show the type of depth and breadth that can only come with age. The aromas sucked me in (I willingly surrendered) with bright, almost piercing notes of cassis, plums, earth and red floral leading the way. The palate confirms the nose, it's the real deal, and the great part, this is just getting started. Would love to see this again in 10 or 15 years. Beautiful. 12,5% abv, highly recommended, drink thru 2029

    PnP, served non-blind over 3 hours.

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  • Most tasters were underwhelmed, but I was overwhelmed. More for me, less for them, a good night all in all.

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  • Limited tasting notes. Open bottle and tasted level to mid shoulder, then aired for 3 hours. Wine showed its age, with significant barnyard and wet earth notes, and limited but still existent tannins. The cabernet fruit has similarly mellowed. However the wine lacked complexity. Rather than gaining elegance, finesse, interest and complexity, this wine seems to have become a bit dull, with the wet earth, forest floor and barnyard notes dominating the palate.

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  • Cork easily removed with Ah-so, decanted and immediately tasted. Color is still quite deep purple-ruby but not inky; nose is fairly complex with blackberry, some black cherry, slight mint, bramble, slight tobacco/cigar; palate is full bodied, juicy red cherry fruit, youthful, tannins that melt into the wine, do not detract at all; finish is medium-long. This tastes very young, almost adolescent especially on the palate, but certainly has balance, power, and complexity especially on the nose. I will be interested to see how this evolves with some air, but it seems like the bottles still need more time (~5 years before the next bottle). 93++ (much potential for growth).
    Update: 90 minutes of decanting: Nose has fleshed out a bit more with black fruits, a little vegetal, asparagus, otherwise largely unchanged. Approachable, but I suspect far too young even at 18 years of age. Wait 5+ years for the next bottle.

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  • Drunk over lunch with friends. No formal notes.
    No signs of age in the color, nor in its aromas and flavours.
    The fruit is still there and quite fresh and expressive, in fact still dominating with respect to more evolved aromatic expressions, which start to show up. The tannins are perfectly integrated and this was overall a real pleasure to drink.
    ***

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  • Tasted at the winery via Coravin. Very funky and horsey initially, with a couple of minutes of air that started to fade and with a proper decant would likely have dissipated altogether. Lots of cigar and black fruit on the nose, medium weight, still some structure remaining but the oak has fully integrated. Bordeaux like except for the sweet edge to the fruit, but if only all Bordeaux were this good. Pretty close to mature I think, but there's no rush here. Lovely wine.

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  • On an evening we had wines from the diners wedding anniversary's the 95' Monte Bello Ridge shone - from Magnum. Up against the Grange 98 and Mollydooker Carnival of Love 07 this was for me the best wine (I know different wines and different styles). More class, more elegance, more balance. The Grange has in its favour the fact that it will continue to improve, but here and now, the 95 Monte Belle was stupendous. A lesson in tasting for young Nick as well. I had him taste it through its evolution over 3-4 hours. It improved slowly but steadily the entire time. At about the 3 hour mark it peaked and plateaued. Not sure when or if the drop would have been because we finished it before that occurred.
    As a note, the wine needs a good 1.5 hours decanting before it really starts to open up its fruit which is quite subdues till that point.

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  • Second Sunday Group: 1995 Pauillac vs. Pessac (Rich's & Dana's): Deep garnet color. Quite reticent at first- dark berry fruit is all that is discernible. Flavors of dark fruit and iron. Opened more than any other in the flight as it sat; ripe red fruit- berries and raspberry, with hints of forest floor. Firm tannins with an abundance of red fruit- pretty. Long finish; nice balance. 93-94 pts.

    My #6, Domino's #2
    Group #8, 63 pts

    Another taste with dinner: cedar, violets and black fruit. Wealth of red fruit on the palate; underlying herbal/forest floor quality; impressively long finish. Unfortunate that we have only one left in the cellar.

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  • BYO - US wines (Skovridderkroen): Lovely wine with a modern fruit profile.
    Still very nice.

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  • A backup bottle, popped & poured after I realized that the first bottle was mildly corked. Notes of black fruit, plums, tobacco and spice; hint of vanilla too. Structured; dark fruit and spice qualities. Long finish. Needs a healthy decant.

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  • Very mildly corked.

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  • RJ’s wine dinner – random wines – Krug, Salon, Leroy, Truchot, Dujac, La Turque, Chave, SQN and etc. (Mon Ami Gabi - Reston, VA): A classic California cab. Cassis, plum, a hint of green, stem, lead pencil, mint and leather. Medium concentration, silky palate, bright acidity and nicely integrated tannins.

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  • Classic Monte Bello. Dark to the rim. Heady aromas of cigar box, saddle leather, cassis, blackberries, earth. Close your eyes, it's a Pauillac. Still slightly tannic, great food wine, a stunner. In a great place but will last much longer. Excellent wine.

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  • In comparison to my tasting note from 9/29/12 this wine was much much better. So at that point it was a suboptimal bottle.

    Dark red in color, looks like a 5 yr old wine. Leather, dark berries, coffee and herbs. Lots of dark berries, earthyness, plenty of dark fruit that reminds of a great Pauillac. Very elegant, deep and balanced. Lots more to come! The massive tannins will give this wine a long life. I would hold until 2015. Drink until 2035+

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  • Beautifully mature wine with still some fruits, beautiful herbs and spices and soft tannin and bitterness with still a good bite for longer maturing. It was a great opportunity to compare the2010 and 1995 beside each other. Great finesse in the 1995 and what a future for the 2010!

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  • no formal notes so from memory this was fantastic on the palate with big red and blue fruits and plenty of menthol / mint, Eric + Louise + Becky all preferred it over the remarkable accessable 2002 Dunn Howell... i agreed but loved both frankly... this is a buy wine generally, and this bottle was no exception

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  • Fragile but really singing right now. Red-purple in color with wonderful aromatic lift of eucalyptus, raspberry and smoke. Cassis, cedar, ash, earth, smoke and more complexity than all that. Last bottle but I would expect this to fade in another 3-5 years and I don't see further improvement.

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  • Drank with minimal decanting and aeration time so this bottle had to open up in the glass which it did in spades. Even at the end, this wine seemed a little reticent to display its Montebello fruit. We loved it however as each sip seemed to show a continual evolution of tastes and surprises.

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  • Drank at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Still drinking smooth, bright fruit still present, no hints of mustiness or old age creeping in. If you told me this was from 1995, I would not believe you.

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  • Soft nice but getting near the end of its useful life

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  • Good balance of fruit. Decanted for about an hour - served with beef and it was a good choice. Slight musty taste on the finish but that went away with food. Not my favorite but good.

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  • Cellar Diminishment Party (M/M thelostverse): Aromas of florals, black fruit, tobacco. Terrific fruit and structure; long finish.

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  • Opened by AllRed at CDP. No notes written down but I recall leather, barnyard, tobacco. Reminded me of my favorite parts of a bordeaux flavor profile (although obviously this is from CA). One of my top 5 bottles of this evening.

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  • Ridge Monte Bello Vertical Tasting 1974 - 2008 (Switzerland): Where is the 1995 going? I expected much more from this wine. Still a nice intensive red color with a bouquet of coffee, licorice and red berries. Dry notes and surprisingly short. Would this wine have not been for the past 15 years in my ownership, I would have blamed bad storage for not performing better. Maybe decanting could help. Drink now - 2025
    Possibly a suboptimal bottle

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  • The Big Sendoff; 9/15/2012-9/16/2012 (The Home of Dave L): Great expressive nose of black fruit, cedar spice, and freshness. Palate showing more black fruits mixed with in cedar spice, moderate tannins, Finishes with sweet pipe tobacco, cedar, and black currants. Has that typical great Santa Cruz Mtns’s fruit profile. Great balance and poise just lacking the complicity of some of the other wines this night. Drinking well now, but may benefit from a few more years. 93-94

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  • At sendoff, no notes. Hard to stand out vs. bdx+ at table. I much prefer the 1990 version.

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  • Wonderful, but subtle Cabernet. Very Bordeaux like in its proportions right now. Decanted, then tasted. Not much at first, but after an hour this beauty really started to show itself. There seems to be lots of life left in these wines.

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  • What an amazing wine. Followed some good stuff, but just stood head and shoulders above. lawyers of berry, plum and cedar. Long smooth finish with a bit of violet and tobacco. Has years to go.

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  • Best bottle yet. Decanted briefly for sediment. Opaque crimson color. Blackberry, plum, violets, saddle leather and tobacco notes. Full-bodied, with loads of dark fruit, saddle leather, plum, chery and herb flavors. Developed a terrific graphite note toward the end of the night- others said slate. Long finish.

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  • A Ten Year Retrospective of Chateau Pontet Canet with Alfred Tesseron (Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Chicago): Decanted briefly off its sediment, rebottled for travel and tasted two hours later. Wonderfully complex bouquet of leather, red & black fruit, cigar box, cherry, tobacco and herbs. Nicely integrated with soft, plush tannin and flavors of dark fruit, cherry, leather and roasted herbs. Long, long finish dominated by red fruit and tobacco qualities.

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  • Opaque garnet color. Wonderful bouquet of iodine, tobacco, plum, forest floor and dark fruit. Medium- to full-bodied, tannins integrating nicely though still noticeable. Flavors of tobacco, black and red fruit and plum, also some woody/herbal notes. Long finish. Many at the table guessed Bordeaux. Drinking very well now with a couple hours' decant and will hold at this level for a while. 94-95 pts.

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  • Still with a very dark and bold red/black color, and a very nice bordeaux-esque nose of wet earth, wood, and cranberry. The palate didn't quite show as well, dominated by acid and slightly watered down fruit. The tannins have mellowed, and the american oak and soil components are well integrated, but not adding much. Not a noticeably strong finish. Would've liked to have tasted this five years ago. This is almost certainly past its prime. Bought and consumed at the winery in Cupertino, so provenance was not an issue. Undeterred, I bought a 99' for my cellar on my way out.

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  • just outstanding, aroma was bliss, dark and smooth

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  • Ridge Monte Bello 1994-2000 Vertical with Eric Baugher (Handford Wines, London): Another cool vintage, another classic Bordeaux nose. Long fruit driven core as well. Still very powerful and alive with lots of tannin. Firm, tight high acidity and tannic. 12.5% alc. A lot of harsh notes and dry finish. 90 at best.

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  • Ridge Vineyards and Monte Bello Masterclass at the Decanter Fine Experience (Landmark Hotel, London): Deep red colour, hints of purple. Deeper in colour than the 1997.
    Nose with noticeable barnyard notes, dark berries, noticeable spice with dried mild spices, some smoky notes and some flowery notes. Developed, wonderfully nuanced, Bordeaux-classic nose (of the left bank type).
    Medium bodied++, palate with dark berries and sour red berries, spice, medium(+) tannins that have softened somewhat. Slightly hard aftertaste compared with many other other vintages.
    Ready to drink, nuanced, but still somewhat young and could gain further from some additional cellaring. 91-92 p

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  • Decanter Ridge Vineyards Masterclass (Landmark Hotel London): Nose was slightly heavy with a VA and brett interplay - not bad really, but there was a strange nutty aroma as well. Also cassis, mint, and other herbal nuances. Some espresso coffee as well. Palate has a nice texture and aromatics are again "black", black fruit, charcoal and ink. Great wine but really not the kind I get excited about, but this is just a personal remark.

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  • Upon a good friends departure several years ago, we enjoyed a 1999 Monte Bello (in 2007) as a departing gift. Same friend invests in futures with Monte Bello and procured a bottle of 1995 and laid it down until until tonight.
    Straight out of the bottle the nose was outstanding, but quickly dissipated after about an hour in the decanter. Initial drink was very bold.
    Heavy tanins; a chewy wine, slightly puckering, certainly had legs enough to remain in the bottle another 5 years.
    Perfect compliment to the Porterhouse steaks they were served with. Obviously, your not going to strike out with a Monte Bello, so you can open this now, but if you can hang on to it, your investment will only get better.

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  • Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Day Library Tasting: Medium garnet color with dark red fruit, leather, cigar box aromas. On the plates displaying medium-full bodied, nervy and fine-grained tannin with cherry, cedar, and mineral flavors. Long finish. 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc. 12.5% ABV

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  • Very very good. No Note taken.

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  • Ridge Monte Bello 1981-1999 (Gauthier Soho): Somewhere between the 97 and the 98 - had the softer focus of the 98, but without the dense tannins - the berries more prominent - lovely wine

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  • Monte Bello Cabernet Offline (Gauthier London): This seemed to be halfway between the 98 and 97.
    Not as elegant as the 98 but less bold than the 97.
    Cherry core with a purple rim. Nice ripe fruit. No rush here.

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  • Dark crimson color. Aromas of florals, red currants, cassis and dark fruit, spice and tobacco. Full-bodied and very well-balanced, with flavors of red currant, leather, spice and tobacco. Long finish dominated by a mix of red and dark fruits, tobacco and herbs. Damn impressive. 94-95 pts.

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  • A restrained rustic bottling. Showing a lot of Old World styling - stewed medium dark red fruit but more earth driven with a touch of iron gate.
    Lots of acid left. The palate was a tad thin but showed well at this stage. Still some life left.

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  • 4th Saturday Brown Bagger (Rich & Dana's): Deep crimson color. Aromas of forest floor, iron, dark fruit, violets and incense. Full-bodied, with loads of sweet drk fruit on the palate. Herb and underbrush tones come in on the long finish. Guessed Bordeaux.

    This was double decanted about 4-5 hours before this flight was tasted.

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  • Tated alongside the 1995-2000 vintages. The only wine in the flight with a slight rubbery funk to the nose. Less expressive than the gorgeous 1998 and pure 1996, this was the most "Napa" in profile. Lots of black licorice and decent complexity. Rather linear and one of the shorter wines on show. Still rather good, and as with all of these Mont Bellos the purity and quality of the fruit is outstanding.

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  • Ridge Montebello Tasting & subsequent drinks; 3/22/2011-3/24/2011 (Berry Brothers, London): Asian spices, red fruit, mature - bit of a rubbery twang in there - sweet cherry pie, very much a brown, mature Bordeaux palate. Very good.

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  • Opened a 375. Dark purple in the glass. Soft blueberry and a bit of menthol on nose. First glass too tart and thick. Waited an hour and now drinking second glass. Much better. Softened to bright cherry, spice on top, and decent finish. Lesson - decant. Reading the other reviews, I am worried that I don't get it. Was not as good as what I read. Maybe it is the size or my ignorance. 4 more to go.

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  • California BYO (@ Terkel): Perfumed nose with a little green pepper and black currants.
    Elegant and light blueberry fruit on the palate but also a little bit watery. A fresh and lovely wine but with a short aftertaste and lack of body it is a little bit boring.

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  • Occasional tasting group: A mixed set.. (@ PB): Still some purple in the color. Beautiful mature and complex bouquet with ripe fruits, eucalyptus, mint, pleasant oak and a little pleasant barnyard. Very juicy dark fruits. A little chocolate. Spiciness. Both sweetness and acidity present in a good amount. Develops in the glass. Great wine.

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  • Dinner at Martindale Hall, Clare Valley. Other wines: 1982 L'Evangile, 1985 Lafite, 1986 Yquem, 1986 Grange, 1988 Grange, 1988 Meo-Carmuzet Nuits St George, 1990 Brunel Cuvee Centenaire, 1995 Dominus, 1998 Las Cases, 1999 Leoville Barton, 2002 Grange, 2004 Cristom Jessie, 2004 Run Rig.

    Opened and double decanted 4 hours prior to drinking. Slightly more austere on the nose initially than the Dominus, and this persisted to the table and the palate. This is a very, very serious wine. Where the Dominus was a bit of a party-girl, the Ridge was prim and proper, brought a chaperone, and was home to Pater at 10pm. The nose had an almost Pauillac-like nose of crushed rocks, smoke and leather, but with a glimpse of the flesh beneath in a tantalising whiff of plums and clove. The palate, for mine, was most similar on the night to the Lafite (which speak volumes for the ageworthiness of the top Bordeaux) - tightly wound with earthy, provencal-herbaceous notes intermixed seamlessly with rich blackberry and cinnamon/clove, and a hint of leather/mocha at the finish. The tannins were sublimely refined, ending each sample with a velvety brush across the back of the tongue and palate, along with the memorable and lingering aftertaste of the rich fruit. Drinking beautifully now, but has years on it. If I was lucky enough to have more, I'd wait another 5 years and try it again then.

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  • Love this wine from my all-time favorite napa vintage, 1995. Brought and drank at a cal-cab vs. bordeaux tasting. The Ridge was one of the standouts. Nice color and fruit, great balance with the right acidity and sweet tannins showing. Compared alongside a 1995 behringer reserve (which was also excellent and peaking) and a 1986 Leoville Las Cases (very nice and mellow) . The Ridge is drinking great now and probably will last several more years.

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  • This is classic and aging beautifully. It is totally approachable now and will hold longer, but I think the next year or so will be prime as the tannins are mellow and the fruit is very full. Has a earthy character to it and I am feeling like this will be best drunk over the next year or two.

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  • Deep color with notes of blackberry, plum, leather and underbrush. Well-balanced, with dark fruit, leather, tobacco and herb flavors. Not quite as long on the finish as the previous bottle I tasted, but wonderful nonetheless, and a great match with Jody's roasted tenderloin.

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  • Cherries, vanilla, and peppery spices on the nose. Garnet red. Pleasantly aggressive tannins dominate the start and finish of this wine. Black currant, toasted oak, and very distant leather. Very well-integrated such that separation of elements is difficult. Immensely enjoyable - the finish is delicious and lingering.

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  • The Blind Drunks "Uptown" tasting & dinner (Dunham Woods Riding Club, Wayne, Illinois): Dark color. Notes of forest floor, leather and dark fruit, with herb and floral undertones. Full-bodied, with impressive balance. Flavors of black fruit, currants, tobacco and cherry. Long finish. Also double decanted early in the day. Hold.

    It's funny that this showed up tonight, as I was comtemplating bringing it, but felt it would be too young yet and opted for the '90 Mondavi instead.

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  • The 1995 Monte Bello is actually a Proprietary Red Wine as the blend is 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. It was made from an extremely severe selection of only 25% of the harvest. Paul Draper feels it is the biggest, brawniest, and most muscular Monte Bello of the 1990s, and in need of 10-15 more years of cellaring. This saturated ruby/purple-colored effort is still backward, with a closed nose of minerals, oak, and subtle black fruits. In the mouth, it is large-scaled, tannic, rich, and long, but nearly abrasive because of the wine's high tannin level. This youthful, muscular, monster Monte Bello will require significant cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2035

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  • Nose - Mature, rich, cedary.
    Spicy, black plum and black currant, peppery, good structure. Drink now-'24.

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  • 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petite Verdot.
    Lovely rich nose of roast meat, brambles, graphite and notes of blackcurrant and violets. A second sample from a different bottle showed more cedar. Great balance; smooth with a long finish. Far more youthful than the 1999.
    http://scmwine.blogspot.com/2009/05/2008-monte-bello-final-assemblage.html

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  • Dinner with the boys at Club A. (Club A): 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc.
    Quite different in character than the '94. This one is much more serious and less generous, with higher acid and tannin levels. The fruit is redder, there's some barnyard, earth and brown root spices/sassafras flavors and aromas. A touch drying on the finish. Definitely more cerebral. I would think more time would do it well, but with the finish drying out a little, I'd be a tiny bit concerned, though would want to try another bottle before drawing any conclusions. Fwiw, I preferred the '95 to the '94 on release and in its first few years. A-/B+.

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  • Not a great year for Ridge Montebello. Nevertheless enjoyable. We opened a '94 last night and it was appreciably a better wine than this '95. Decanted, the fruit that was evident immediately was cherry, that blew off after only a half hour to reveal some objectionable greenness that detracted from the mellow character of the mid palate. A relatively weak finish. I don't think there is any reason to keep this wine any longer, drink up. It's enjoyable nonetheless.

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  • Still lots of fruit left in this bottle. Nose of black fruit, blackberries and cassis with a hint of oak. Loaded with black currant and blackberry, with a little blueberry on the palate. A little bacon fat with vanilla and smoke on the long finish. Tannins are starting to integrate, but I suspect that considering how much tannin it still has, this will be at its best in 3-7 years. Not the best Monte Bello I've had, but quite nice with dinner at Fork for Lindsey's Birthday and the day after.

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  • Paired w/'95 Leoville B and '94 Pahlmeyer and Cheeses. Decanted 5 hr. Muted nose, not as pronounced as I remember. Well-balanced wine, but nothing startling here, unlike previous bottles. Nothing not to like, but the fruit has given way and the body isn't fully mature yet...perhaps Draper is right, give this another 4-5 years to mellow.

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  • Ridge Monte Bello Tasting (The Wine Summit, Lake Louise, Alberta): 69% CS, 18% M, 10% PV and 3% CF – 12.5% ALC.
    Extremely dark in colour – black core; soft, penetrating nose, with a wonderful expression of sweet berry fruit – spices – a bit of floral creeping in also; no smoke on the nose with this wine; hugely concentrated and highly structured – big style of wine – acidity and tannins showing well; fresh currant berry fruit – both black and red; in spite of the body of this wine, the finish is soft and lingering – mostly with the fruit shining. This wine hasn’t fully evolved yet – promises well for continued cellaring.

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  • The Wine Summit at The Post Hotel in Lake Louise Alberta Canada was fortunate to have Mr. Paul Draper as one of the presenters. After taking us all down a brief but interesting trip down memory lane, Mr Draper lead us trough a technical tasting of 8 Monte Bellos covering a range or 23 years. Draper explained 69% cab, 18% merlot, 10 % petit verdot, and 3 % cab franc. He also explain its was from a minimal dismal harvest. High tannic made this one tough to get into after the 05 and 96. I’d have to agree again with guitarguy as this was dumbed a bit. It was still very good with a ruby purple color and a stony mineral nose and berries in the nose and on the tongue. Paul said at least 3-10 more years and I think you’d have a great well softened wine.

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  • Currant, tobaco and cedar. Could have gone another 3-5 years

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  • 1995 California Cabernet Horizontal (Mercy, mercy, mercy.) (Ruth's Chris.): 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc
    On paper I thought this was going to be one of my favorite wines of the tasting and it was. It's elegance in a sea of excess this evening. There's bright cherry fruit, dust, light herb and spicy cedary oak on the nose and palate. Along with the Spottswoode, it seems to be aging the most gracefully in the group. Enoyable now, though decanting would help as it's a little closed up, but there's good potential here for future development. A-/B+.

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  • Hard to get good notes, the restaurant had awful glasses. Nose raspberries and cabernet fruit. Throwing bunches of sediment. Moderate tannins, fully mature, good cab fruit. I would drink it but it probably has plenty of life left.

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  • Drank during son's baptism weekend with family. This needed time in a decanter to develop and was quite subtle during the two hours we nursed it. I was surprised to find a Rutherford dirt quality to it. I cannot imagine it improving but it probably has a few more years to go.

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  • A fine aged Monte Bello, Bordeaux like as always. It is a tad tight right now, maybe in a dumb phase. The nose is a little alcholic with a good waft of fresh blueberries. The tannins are tight and significant for such an aged beast. There is a hint of mint and eucalyptus in the mouth with a long but dry finish. Maybe just a tad tight and hot right now which keeps the rating at 91.

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  • Crimson colour. Hot brick and red fruit nose. Very big, mouthfilling style, lots of graphite, black pepper, blackcurrant. Bold, quite tannic, potential with food or more time. Long and interesting.

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  • The Full Monte - 35 Year Monte Bello Vertical (Alba Restaurant, London): 69% CS, 18% M, 10% PV, 3% CF, 12.5% Alcohol

    Some light brett on nose, but perfumed fruit overpowers it, a lighter wine, quite acidic and thin which followed through to a shorter finish, not as good as its neighbours.

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  • Courtesy of Tlily. An earthy wine with supple fruit notes of dark berries and cassis. Full bodied and integrated tannins. Still improving. This was my WOTN until I went to dinner with Pinot Envy and tasted what she pulled out of her bag. 94.

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  • Everyone else was going nuts over this wine. While I found it exceptionally well-balanced and tightly concentrated, I found it less than enormously complex. Perhaps some degree of time will be needed for the wine to unwind and reveal those complexities, but I'm not so sure as I get more concentration than heavy tannin.

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