Quick View: The ’02 (A Quick Review Of The 2002 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello)

I had a brief but very interesting opportunity to taste the 2002 Monte Bello yesterday, which I’d been gleefully anticipating for some time. As can be seen on the label image below …


…Paul Draper had estimated, back in ’04, that this vintage would “reach another level of complexity with 6 to 8 years in bottle,” meaning it should be getting close to making a move. I was very curious to see if it had …


Here are my impressions:

Black plum belly and a vivid ruby limn; decidedly young-looking ; so bright! It was also uber-adhesive in the glass, with solid glaze, and no legs at all. The wine just hung there! The wine showed tremendously dense in the bowl, barely translucent at all, bespeaking some serious muscularity …

Aromatics: (disclaimer; the following five descriptors literally fell out of my mouth rapid-fire after just one sniff) Leather, chocolate, mint, menthol, all-spice. A few more good sniffs, and I came up with some earth (freshly turned, after a good rain) as well …

Front: No front-of-tongue-acid to speak of, but a good vibrancy tongue-side; quite a fleshy and viscous mouthfeel; it felt like chocolate milk on the palate!

Mid-Palate: TONS of teeth-to-gum tannins, youth, youth youth … youthful tannins everywhere! And lots of rich plummy notes starting to come through …

Finish: A trace of young heat, and very structured acidity, making for a long, strong, and slightly still-too-agressive finish…

Summary: Tasting the ’02 Monte Bello was like watching an amazing high-school athelete; you can see all the tremendous talent on display, but it’s all elbows and knees still … Put another way, I think Paul’s 20-projection may be on the conservative side! This is a tremendously structured offering, with everything needed to go the distance … I look very forward to watching this wine evolve (btw, I had a look through some archived reviews just now, to see if my impressions matched the “the usual suspects”; Parker gave it through 2030, Tanzer described it as “an infant”, and Heimoff estimated it would “come around” by 2016, so I guess I wasn’t too far off …))

Categories: Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Monte Bello, Tasting Notes

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