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. — 2 days ago
This is a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon based Bordeaux blend from Napa Valley.
Dry on the palate with medium acidity and long legs.
Medium plus in body and complex.
Showing black fruits with cedar, vanilla, leather, spices, tobacco, chocolate and peppercorn.
Long finish with fine grained tannins.
A great wine to have all by itself with good friends.
14.7% alcohol by volume.
94 points. — 12 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. — 3 days ago