A Sublime Flight Of Fancy: Tasting Notes Below! (2006 Monte Bello Chardonnay, 1999 Lytton Springs, 1995 Monte Bello, 1988 Monte Bello)

2006 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Chardonnay

Appearance:

Pale gold in the glass, framed by a white gold halo, brilliantly limpid, showing delightfully eccentric leg behaviour unified by a light viscosity …

Aromatics:

Strong tropicality right away, with hints of crème fraîche, orange liqueur and hand-crafted soft caramel …

Front:

Viscous, slightly sweet, deeply concentrated, warm, weighty, and calling up decidedly favorable reminisces of fondues and beurre blancs past …

Mid-Palate:

Wickedly meritorious acidity co-mingling with complex mineral components and yeast characteristics that merge perfectly with integrated barrel notes …

Finish:

Somewhat unexpectedly elegant, almost timid, at least in context of the full-structure-weight implied by the forceful entrance; acidity is certainly present, and the finish is appropriately complex, but it tails off slightly, growing incrementally narrower in scope as it extends …

Summary:

A beautifully built and tremendously complex wine, but definitely a wine that will benefit from some bottle maturation, as it’s still a little top-heavy as regards revealing its full expression …

1999 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs

Appearance:

Rich, concentrated burgundy hues throughout, halo’d by a gorgeous red-rubyfruit limn, and evidencing medium-weight legs …

Aromatics:

Sweet fruit, sandalwood and balsa; elegant, playful, buoyant, vibrant fruits; the bouquet literally jumps out of the glass asking to be noticed …

Front:

Ripe notes right on entry, but without being cloying, overly viscous, or weightedly sweet; utterly delicious!

Mid-Palate:

Beautifully resolved tannins and fully integrated acidity join complex and harmonious mid-tone fruits in a seamless blend …

Finish:

Complex, fully intact, and completely pleasing!

Summary:

Quite possibly Best In Show …

1995 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello

Appearance:

Impenetrably dark plum belly, firm yet graceful legs, pale and dusky ruby limn …

Aromatics:

Muted and subtle wood notes, leather and suede, baked red fruits …

Front:

Exceptionally generous mouthfeel at entry, with very firm tannins and an almost icy acidity; brisk and exhilarating …

Mid-Palate:

A virtual gumbo of concentrated fruit, soulful spice, all braced by a cavalierly buoyant architecture …

Finish:

The revelation of a tannic superstructure that is decidedly young still, but happily offset by acidity and alcohol components that have harmonized to pitch-perfection …

Summary:

Still young, already luscious, potential to spare …

1988 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello

Appearance:

An interweaving of brighter cranberry hues and warmer burgundy tones, sparkling in the swift yet stylishly controlled legs, and rippling out towards the opaquely bright strawberry highlights in the limn …

Aromatics:

Eucalyptal and minty, with counterbalancing hints of braised meats, sweet barbecue sauce, and mincemeat, all hovered over by the decadence of poached pear …

Front:

Rusticity and earthiness immediately on offer, with some still-blazing campfire woodsiness and smoke …

Mid-Palate:

The emergence of a complex assemblage of singularly fruit-driven characteristics; most notably Michigan cherries, calimyrna fig, dried apricot, and hints of quince …

Finish:

Elegant, unobtrusive, and impeccably gracious …

Summary:

From a structural standpoint, a fully intact wine with years of stability still to come, though the subtle arsenal of fruit traits balanced against the secondary and tertiary spice and herb components does somewhat beg a sooner sampling …



Categories: Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Lytton, Monte Bello, Tasting Notes, Varietals & Blends, Zinfandel

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