A Four-Decade Monte Bello Vertical: Tasting Notes!

MB Vertical, Post Tasting!


2007 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello

Deep purple belly in the bowl, with a gorgeous magenta limn … aromatics rich with blueberry, lavender, anise, and fennel, populating an architecture built with great crushed rock and wet-stone minerality … loads of herb & spice front-palate, with hints of pepper, clove, and blackberry-seed tannin … ridiculously full mouthfeel, with almost kinky-supple tannins spreading to every part of the palate … acidity is both vibrant and supple … while the finish is still somewhat short on the palate, the ostensibly empty bowl of the glass, 15 minutes down the line, is still humming a blueberry-and-lavender tune …

2006 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello

Interwoven ribbons of garnet, magenta, and plum make up the tapestry of hue in the bowl, halo’d by a rich ruby limn; gracefully premeditated legs bespeaking graciousness and depth run elegantly down the glass … aromatics are redolent of plum, currant, quince, and blackberry preserves, with hints of black peppercorn and charrings from the grill … the mouthfeel is round, resolving, and rich without obtuse girth; secondary and tertiary herbatics (herb and spice profiles) dominate, with an emphasis on the autumnal C-triumverate of clove, coriander, and cinnamon … lots of dried fruit notes as well, and a tad leathery (or perhaps suede-y?), with a heavy dose of lip-to-teeth tannins that show a decidedly adhesive intensity, as opposed to, say, a more powdery astringency; less saliva-inducing, and more culinarily companionable …

1995 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello

Tremendously rich, ripe, meaty, and bloody on the nose (but not gamey!); with a spectrum running from pate to pot roast; hearty and hale, but not at all aged; it’s still only showing the very early stages of secondary maturation characteristics … the color in the bowl is almost black it’s so concentrated; so deep, with no degradation of color at the limn at all; rather, an elegant, pale ruby only barely pokes through … a chandelier’s worth of silky rivulets ring the inside of the bowl; visual elegance incarnate … On the palate, resolution is divine; supple acidity, elegant tannin, all in perfect balance; acidity bright at the first, then tempering, tannins tempered at first, then lingering … at 15 years, this is a promising young athlete, with intellectual maturity beyond its years, physical prowess to die for, and only experience required to complete the conceptual circle …

1984 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello

Slight bricking in the belly, and some salmon/crimson hues in the limn; elegant viscosity and streamlined legs … aromatics definitely moving towards the dry fruit realm (currant, raisin, plum), all ensconced in a delicious bed of yeast and sugar; almost pannetone-like … remarkably sweet, buoyant fruit on the palate, tremendously relevant and vital acidity, and well-tempered tannins fully integrated … sweetness of the fruit on the finish is just remarkable, possibly decadent, assuredly graceful …

1978 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello

Deeply rusty and rustic bowl hues; a blackened magenta of sorts, with an amber-y, oolong-tea-ishly-hued limn … wood and bark bracket the aromatics, with hints of dried fruit, exotic cardamom, and a touch of fennel & graphite; there is even a dose of jerked umaminess, and a trace of cured & spiced pepperoni … As to the mouthfeel; plush, supple, seamless, and truly unbelievable! So elegant, so lush, so layered, so silken; not so much the experience of walking on air, but rather, air walking on you …

Categories: Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Events, Monte Bello, Tasting Flights, Tasting Notes, Varietals & Blends, Viticultural Salmagundi, Wine Tales

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