Shared with close friends - everyone’s first Monte Bello, and a great one at that.
Took this bottle out to share at a local fine dining establishment, to pour it blind for our friends. Wrapped neatly in foil. We get seated and explain to our waiter. “The bottle MAY be a little bit older so take care with the cork,” I said, not wanting to give away the age to our friends. He proceeds to break the cork about halfway down, right through. No big deal. He’s a younger guy and I think a little flustered, he goes off to get assistance.
Comes back with another server. As the guy walks back up, I say “Thanks for helping us with our mystery bottle”, clueing him in on the idea that there’s a reason that we have it wrapped in foil. “Would have been nice to know it was an older vintage wine,” he replied brusquely. Ok… Server 2 digs around for a bit with an ah-so before punching the cork into the drink. Oh well. None of us are really phased by this, it happens.
They grab a strainer from the bar. Server 2 starts pouring at a decanter and immediately the first glass or so just goes everywhere on the table. I start to die inside. He remains silent. Gets on target with the rest of the bottle, finishing pouring, and says “Your 2004 Ridge Cabernet”, purposefully ruining the blind tasting, I guess. Walks away without another word, leaving his mortified coworker to clean up his mess and apologize.
This actually happened. On to the wine:
Beautiful medium opacity ruby with no browning.
Smells like a Pauillac on the nose. Blackcurrants, blackberry, black licorice, slight graphite, and damp tobacco. As the night goes on it reveals dill, vanilla, buttered toast, and slight dry woodsy notes.
The wine is surprisingly light in body, very much a claret. The tannins are silky, finely woven, and extremely integrated. The main thing we notice on the palate is that the wine is so perfectly integrated it is a little difficult to pull individual notes out of it. Expansive over the palate without being weighty. The finish is forever.
A memorable evening. — 5 days ago
Fabulous. Trying to save some for years later, but tasty now! — 2 days ago
Prestigeläge i Santa Cruz från kultförklarad f.d garagevinmakare. Jäst med stjälkar. Tydligt utvecklad. Jordig karaktär och riktigt tilldragande doft. Bred i smaken. Syrliga bär men med mognad, oliver, blodapelsin, peppar, kaffesump, krossade stenar. Värd 899 kr = nja till ja. — 20 days ago
Very special Monte Bello, best I’ve had, rich and layered with age, nose was redolent of old leather and soft spice, smokey red fruit. Silk on the palate. Finish never ended. Superb. Could go a few more years easily but cork (not the one pictured) required the Durand so likely drink soon. — 6 days ago
raspberry, blueberry, black cherry, blackberry, iron, blood, pepper, pencil shavings, briny black olive, alpine freshness, salinity. kinda green and snappy still. everything you want in a cooler climate syrah! — 3 days ago
Minerality, praline, citrus,and textural tannins. Has a few edges. Best Chard this year — 11 days ago
I recently made the carefully considered claim that there is no more exciting place for making California Chardonnay right now than the Santa Cruz Mountains - @santacruzmountainwine. Some of the most stellar bottles of the stuff are emerging from hidden nooks and crannies among the redwoods and steep, fog-shrouded slopes. This bottle (received as a press sample) is a perfect example. Lemon oil and lemon pith aromas give way to silky-textured lemon pith, lemon juice, pink grapefruit and this saline resinous quality that makes the mouth water excessively. Almost impossible not to follow one sip with another. Well done @rhys_vineyards. The vineyard gets it’s name from the Pajaro shale series that sits under a scant 16” of topsoil at 1000 feet of elevation. — an hour ago