1996 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello: Tasting Notes

I had the rather unexpected pleasure of tasting the 1996 Monte Bello today, and thought I’d post some quick thoughts; has anyone out there tasted this vintage recently? Let me know! Also, should you wish to cross-reference and do a little compare/contrast, I tasted this wine out of a 375 ml bottle back in late June, and posted my notes here


1996 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello (750 ml)



Co-mingled hues of rich garnet and black cherry, limned by a bright Montmerency halo — medium-weight legs moving steadily and affixedly down the bowl-sides …



Tender yeast-and-dough notes reminiscent of Sunday morning baked goods (perhaps a currant scone?), some ever-so-slightly-sweet, every-so-slightly-ripe plum preserves, a hint of Kirschwasser, the sanctifying nuttiness of fig paste, the dark herbality of licorice, all wrapped in a gentle duvet of soft vanilla …



Wryly precocious acidity on all points front-and-center; buoyant, playful, exciting!



Absolutely mouth-watering tannins running parallel on either side of the tongue, leaving twin wakes of salivary expectation …



Almost preposterously warm, long, and comforting; a big-bowl-glass contribution to late nights in the study with leather-bound books and wisps of pipe tobacco smoke …



A rather joyous combination of youthful impertinence and regal gravitas; nearing contemporary first-wave approachability, but still years away from full blossom … James Laube, writing in Wine Spectator back in 2001 rated this wine a 96 point offering (96 in ’96!), do I hear 109 points?

Categories: Cabernet Sauvignon, Monte Bello, Tasting Notes


2 replies

  1. I had a bottle of ’96 last Christmas. Was phenomenal.

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