Another Day, Another Tasting -or- Guess Which Vintages Of Monte Bello We Tasted Today?

I just had the rather most lovely opportunity to prepare, taste and share a particularly singular line-up of Ridge wines …


… Singular for a few reasons:

–The new, not-yet-released 2010 Monte Bello Chardonnay
–The new, only-just-bottled 2011 Lytton Springs
–The new, about-to-be-released 2011 Geyserville
–The 2002 Geyserville from the library
–The new, about-to-be-released 2010 Estate Cabernet
–The new, about-to-be-released 2010 Monte Bello

Yeah, that’s a whole lot of wine excitement, right there …

Anyhow, I’ve waxed on the 2010 Monte Bello Chardonnay before, and needless to say (or perhaps repeat?), I am, to borrow a funky ol’ Bay Area colloquialism, hella stoked on this wine.
(Cheers to my man JeffIsRad over at the most excellent StayRadWineBlog!)

Everything I adore about our Chardonnay program is present in this wine: beautiful mountain acidity, tremendously subtle and complex yeasts, rich fruits, and probably above all else, minerality for days!

New 2011 Lytton Springs? Really, really, really, really nice. Beautiful fruit, bright acidity, fresh and beguiling aromatics, just delicious …

New 2011 Geyserville? Quite possibly as close to a flawless wine as is possible to imagine …

2002 Geyserville? What a treat it was to taste this! I haven’t had the chance to taste this wine in quite some time; not since 2009, if I’m not mistaken (both Eric Baugher and myself tried it then; you can find our notes here: Eric, CW, and it’s worth mentioning that Eric’s notes suggested another 3-5 years wait; making a 2013 tasting just about spot on!). It was really and truly extraordinary; positively gobs of careful, controlled, and beautiful primary fruit, atop an outstanding layer of savorineess and black herbality; really fine.

2010 Estate Cabernet? Just the way I like my Estates; mountainous!

And as to the 2010 Monte Bello, you’re not going to find another more in love with this wine than I; you might recall this was the very first Monte Bello vintage for which I participated in the assemblage process; meaning, this was the first Monte Bello I helped make! (For a detailed write-up on the 2010 Assemblage Tasting: 2010).

Quite a tasting, to say the least. But this was not all!

How’s this for a lil’ extra special nicety?


Ah, the 1985 Monte Bello ….

This is a vintage that’s been under some scrutiny for a while now. This time last year, I think we all felt the ’85 was in a “stage”; always a structured vintage, it was showing on the edge of discordant; meaning structure and fruit just weren’t quite in balance with one another, and the structure-forward nature was threatening to overwhelm the maturing fruit. Figuring it was just on the contraction side of its pendular expansion-extraction swing, we opted to return it to the vaults and let it work itself out. Then in September of 2012, we decided to take it back out for a walk. We highlighted our participation in #CabernetDay with a  showing of the 1985 Monte Bello, and happily, it showed magnificently. (For an excellent report on this tasting, please read The Iron Chevsky Wine Blog’s write up). As to how it tasted in this flight, I am happy to report magnificence again. The structure continues to integrate, the mountain eucalyptality remains present, and the reconciliation of blue and black fruit, foresty herbaceousness, and black olive earthiness continues to be pleatlessly smooth. In short, a beautifully maturing Monte Bello.

And that’s the story from the mountain!

Categories: Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Geyserville, Lytton Springs, Monte Bello, Tasting Flights, Tasting Notes, Varietals & Blends, Virtual Verticals, Wine Blogs, Wine Tales, Winemaking, Zinfandel

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1 reply

  1. Thanks for the shout out, Christopher. Big ups to you on a most fresh post.

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