2002 Monte Bello (375 ml) 10.23.09
Deep black ruby with a rich, strawberry limn. Fairly notably viscous, with short, thick, slo-to-medium speed legs ….
Surprisingly generous offering of mid-tone red fruits, cherry and red plum in particular. Strong sandalwood presence, with a little bit of bark thrown in as well. Hints of spices such as coriander and clove, and a touch of white pepper.
Quite elegantly weighted, with a firm dose of tongue-top tannin and tingling cheek acidity.
A touch of youthful tanginess mixes with some sweet & savory dried fruit notes, layered over a healthy stripe of minerality spreading across the taste buds.
Still emerging and developing both heft and grace; the complexities are beginning to show, but the movement is still somewhat adolescent.
As noted above, surprisingly generous given the youth of the vintage (the smaller format obviously makes a difference here), with great potential for becoming one of those Monte Bellos whose pendulum swings toward the side of favoring elegance, structure, and spiciness, with a seamless integration of sweet and savory characteristics, underladen with low to mid-tone fruit characters and a subtle wood presence.
1992 Monte Bello (375 ml) 10.23.09
Deep black cherry belly, moving outwards towards Saturn-esque rings of pomegranate , to finally a fine and lovely salmon pink limn. Nearly impenetrably thick and concentrated in appearance, with a full-blown bowl glaze worth of viscosity …
Sweet and concentrated fruit succulence in spades on the nose, with a strong combination of fig, quince, and walnut infusing the aromatics with a very pleasantly darkened carpet for the fruit to laze about on. Blackcurrant jam, black pepper, and a bit of pipe tobacco also permeate. A certain mature woodsiness weaves about as well …
A dazzling display of acidity in the cheeks, with a tender touch of sweetness at tongue-tip to counter … Strong mineral content, with an unexpected influx of an almost almond-paste-like smooth nuttiness …
Elegant mouthfeel, with a wide spread of components across the palate; decidedly mouth-watering tannins, bouncingly life-full acids, warm and integrated alcohol, all supporting a holiday offerings’ worth of dried fruit and sweet bread. This is holiday dessert, with rich and creamy espresso, warm and chest-filling brandy, and the sweet smell of the fireplace … chestnuts roasting on an open fire, anyone?
Not the widest or warmest finish I’ve seen in a Monte Bello, but very elegant, very streamlined, and very harmonious. Flawless, if not obvious.
A mature Monte Bello with all the trimmings; if this were your holiday table, you wouldn’t be missing a single side dish, entrée, or dessert, and you wouldn’t be stuffed afterwards either. You’d just be happy, healthy, and at peace.