The Event Of The Century?

Ok, maybe not the event of the century, but certainly an EXTREMELY noteworthy one! What is it? It’s this:

The Monte Bello Half-Bottle Showcase!

And what exactly does that mean? It’s means this:

Please join Ridge Vineyards as we taste an extraordinary vertical flight of library Monte Bello bottled in 375 ml format! Not only are half-bottles an economical way to take home a bottle of our flagship Monte Bello Cabernet blend, but courtesy of the accelerated development of wines bottled in smaller format, these very cellarable vintages are ready to drink now! So, as these bottlings are only available in extremely limited quantities, this event accordingly constitutes a very unique opportunity to taste and purchase rare Monte Bello offerings; the 1987, 1988, and 1993 vintages will be priced at $85, $100, and $100 respectively (special event-only pricing!), or, you can purchase the trio for $250.00!

And when is this happening? It’s happening on Valentine’s Day Weekend! February 13th & 14th, 11-4pm, we’ll be offering a very special Monte Bello Tasting Flight comprised of our 2006 Monte Bello Chardonnay, our 2006 Monte Bello (current vintage!), and the three-vintage half-bottle Monte Bello vertical! This flight will be available for $30/person for non-members, and $15/person for members. (And hey members, don’t forget that February is a Membership Month, which means you can extend your member pricing on the Monte Bello Tasting Flight to as many guests as you wish to bring with you!)

The Trio

In the esteemed company of Paul Draper and Eric Baugher, I had the great privilege of tasting through a wide array of older-vintage Monte Bellos in half-bottle as we prepared for this event, and what follows is a brief compendium of our tasting notes on the three vintages we selected for this weekend:

Tasting Notes
Monte Bello Vertical: 1987, 1988, 1993
(375 ml)
Tasters: Paul Draper, Eric Baugher, Christopher Watkins

1987 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello, 375 ml
(Event-Only Pricing!)

Notes of sweet fruits & candied fruits resulting in a singularly nectar’d florality, co-mingling with aromatics redolent of sandalwood, charcoal, underbrush and chapparal — Palate notes of olive, tobacco, orange peel, raisin, and cedar —An enticing juxtaposition of sweet and sour, with a very earthy, very rustic character — Structurally, very vibrant acidity and notably chalky tannins make for a Monte Bello that is developed, resolved, and ready to drink. 

1988 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello, 375 ml
(Event-Only Pricing!)

Opulent and complex on the nose, with a fine mix of crushed rock minerality, black currant, baked pie cherries and mixed berry jam (Marion and Logan), leading to a sweet center exhibiting bright red fruits, faint strains of pomegranate & leather, and a superb intensity — Mouthfeel-wise, very dense, very full — Structurally, lively acidity, and firm tannins decidedly present but resolved — All in all, a fine mixture of layered mountain fruits, buoyant acidity, muscular tannins, and an elegant resolution. An ideal drinker.

1993 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello, 375 ml
(Event-Only Pricing!)

Exotic nose blending mint & red current with Umami notes of soy and teriyaki, plus an additional layer of eucalyptus and bay leaf counterbalancing caramel apples, spiced chocolate, and vanilla — Rich mid-palate fruits mixing with secondary wet stone and tertiary mixed olives to form a complex center — Appealing, integrated, and just a bit different — Very well structured, and ready to drink. 

The Pour

We did a little sneak preview of this vertical at our First Friday event on the evening of the 5th, and a very well-regarded wine blogger who was in attendance has posted his tasting notes on-line, should you wish to read some additional perspective. Here is what he wrote:

’87 Monte Bello (SCM)
(Includes 5% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc. 11.7% alc.)
Nose – warm spicy cigar box and rich dark fruit, lovely peppery tobacco.
Lighter body with intense tobacco and black currant, smoky, good minerality, dusty tannin, blackberry. 92 pts

’88 Monte Bello (SCM)
(Includes 3% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. 12.9% alc.)
Nose – smooth full purple fruit, kind of rustic, creamy, cardamom, smoke, dried herbs.
Sweetish tart boysenberry, smoke, blackberry, blue elderberry, plum, black currant, dusty/woody tannin. Comes together a bit odd in a way – tart, round youthful fruit, light body – that more time may help. 88+ pts

’93 Monte Bello (SCM)
(Includes 7% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot. 12.5% alc.)
Nose – minty lamb, smooth, intense, shy and youthful blackberry and black currant, eucalyptus, pineapple sage.
Lanolin, blackberry and black currant, smoky and tart, dusty and slightly grippy tannin, blue elderberry, dried sage. Very youthful. Funky jujube note and a touch of cedar. Should peak in about 15 years. 92 pts

The Swirl

So, in conclusion, I humbly submit that there is simply no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day Weekend than to attend this remarkable tasting. Whether you’re in love and with your lover wishing to relish the delight and decadence of ready-to-drink Monte Bello, or whether you’re single and celebrating that you don’t have to share, this is not an event to be missed! And do note that this very special tasting flight will be on offer at both our Lytton Springs and Monte Bello Tasting Rooms.

The Line Up

February 13th & 14th, 2010: Monte Bello Half-Bottle Showcase!

February 13 & 14, 11-4pm
Monte Bello Tasting Room (Cupertino) & Lytton Springs Tasting Room (Healdsburg)

$15 for all Ridge Members, and $30 for the public.

The Wine

Hope to see you this weekend!

For more information about upcoming events at Ridge Vineyards, please click here.

Categories: Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Events, Monte Bello, Offerings, Paul Draper, Petit Verdot, Press Reviews, Tasting Flights, Tasting Notes, Tasting Rooms, Varietals & Blends, Viticultural Salmagundi, Wine Blogs, Wine Tales, Winemaking

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1 reply


  1. Monte Bello Half-Bottle Showcase & Monte Bello Assemblage Tasting! Saturday! « 4488: A Ridge Blog

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