1999 Monte Bello: The Rematch!

Back in May of this year, we’d only just been April Fool’d by Conficker, the temperatures were still cool and I could still occasionally wear a scarf, the 2007 Pagani was but a twinkle in a winemaker’s eye, Hélio Castroneves had not yet won the 93rd Indy 500, the Community of the People had yet to enact their coup on the Parliament of Greenland, and perhaps most important of all, it was time for the Monte Bello Final Assemblage tasting.

Although of course much of note took place that wild and wooly day (Did I say blisteringly hot? That’s what I meant to say. Not “wild and wooly.” My bad.), one particularly singular opportunity was present in the form of the Vintage Pack. Yes, ’twas true. Guests were able to taste the 1995, 1997, and 1999 Monte Bellos. I remember it as if it were yesterday … (initiate dream sequence)


If the picture of the floating eye doesn’t make the dream real for you all over again, you can also click here to read my original recapment.  A particularly relevant excerpt follows, the relevance of which I hope to make clear shortly:

Summary: Appropriately showing the “youngest” of the three, but highly notable for the depth, concentration, and singularity of the earth and spice components. For my final compare-and-contrast with notable wine writers, we’ll this time turn to Steve Heimoff, who wrote in Wine Enthusiast back in 2005, “Will be very good, but don’t touch it until 2014,” which seems to confirm the youthful character of this fine vintage. And by the way, he then went on to give the wine a 95 point rating!

The excerpt above comes from my notes on the 1999 Monte Bello; notes, it turns out, that would cause certain wine writers to take a certain degree of umbrage, given their feeling that my notes were, or so they seemed to think at the time, apparently wildly inaccurate. An excerpt:

Seriously, you thought the 1999 was showing the *youngest* of the wines?

Well, yes, actually, I did. So much so, in fact, that I “challenged” said wine writers to another tasting. Put another way, I invited the writers up to Monte Bello, to revisit the 1999. I am happy to say that my invitation was accepted.

Sorry, just had to sneak that eye in there again.

So anyway, there we were, August 7th, 2009, in the Monte Bello Tasting Room. So deeply engrossed were we in our endeavor that we were barely aware that Florida Senator Mel Martinez was announcing his resignation, or that Ronnie Biggs, one of the masterminds of The Great Train Robbery, was being freed. No, all we could think about, talk about, LIVE FOR, was the 1999 Monte Bello.

Fast forward to the end of the story. Which is here. Which is where I say, “Suffice it to say …”, which then rather smoothly segues into the moment where I smugly quote from one of the writers, who writes, most writerly:

Still got plenty of life.

About the 1999.

I win.

I jest of course. Or do I?

I do. In truth, I was honored to have these wise gentlemen present, and I was happy that their verdict, in the end, was a positive one as regards the 1999. If you’d like to read what one of the participant’s had to say about our tasting, please click here, and you’ll be directed to a fine blog that goes by the handle Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Clara Valley Wines. And if you’d like to read what one of the other participants posted at Cellar Tracker, please click here.

Elegant and with years ahead of it.

That’s an excerpt from his notes.

I win.

I mean, I jest. Or do I?

(Thank you to Dave Tong, Richard Jennings, and Wes Barton for your participation!)

Categories: Cabernet Sauvignon, Events & Photographs, Monte Bello, Tasting Notes, Tasting Rooms, Viticultural Salmagundi, Wine Blogs, Wine Tales

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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