I have been thinking about the 2006 Monte Bello lately. I remember it as a really fine and intense wine, but it’s been a while since I last tasted it. I need to fix that …
The wine looks younger than young in the glass — a dazzlingly youthful presentation — with deep, rich purples and magentas plaited together in a luxuriant braid of viscously ambrosial succulence that atunes perfectly to the hearty berries and piquant umaminess of the bouquet. It must be said again, the youthful presentation is dazzling in its come-on. With some years of bottle age now at its disposal, the wine is still shy upon arrival, and takes a bit of coaxing to be drawn out. But as it emerges, a tremendous incrassation is enacted; oxygen working on wine, poetry working on life.
Mouthfeel is ever so slightly taut by comparison; architectural and tannin-driven, though the tannins themselves manage to be snowflake tender. The fruit is blacker at point-of-entry, near tenebrous in its intensity, yet with an eyebrow cocked. As the wine lands on the fat of the tongue, the viscidity spreads like ripples in a pond, laying lavish and opulent across the four-posts of the palate. There is the beginning of an herb and spice layer in development towards the middle of the journey southward, with an adumbration of clove, chicory, and pipe tobacco ghosting its silhouette upon the walls as the wine glissades onwards towards its finish.
The finish itself is the wine’s truest display of youthful circumspection; a demurement of coy promise sealed in a locked journal of poetic and impassionate angst. The hints are there, but the mystery is sealed. The wine closes off and leaves one with the tautness evident at first taste, though a shift from tannin to acid has upended the flavor paradigm somewhat. At first taste, I wanted a hard cheese —- high in salt, chalky in texture — to absorb the fruit, control and subdue the intensity, corral the plainsong wildness. Now, at final taste, I wish for Mt. Tam. Cowgirl Creamery, bless you your Monte-Bello-taming heart.