Ridge Monte Bello 2007
Blend: 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc
The nose just bursts with blueberries, currants, and flowers. Full bodied, with a round and velvety tannin structure. The palate explodes with currants, ripe strawberries, and black pepper on the finish. This is muscular and toned, structured and balanced. This is still young and needs a minimum of five years of bottle age. Winemaker Paul Draper says that perhaps this is as great as the legendary 1991.
Relatively fat for a Monte Bello, this wine show its richness in fruit rather than playing on weight gained from oak. The freshness of the fruit keeps it firm, finely balanced and clean, a more accessible young wine than this vineyard tends to give. There's a pure cassis flavor running through it, emphasizing the clairty of lovely, ripe cabernet. As approachable as it may be now, it's substantial enought to age for a decade or more.
Opaque ruby. A complex, heady bouquet displays red- and blackcurrant, pipe tobacco, cigar box and rose oil, with suave spiciness gaining strength in the glass. Sappy and sweet, with mineral-laced red and dark berry preserve and cherry-vanilla flavors complemented by smoke and floral pastille qualities. The finish shows sweetness as well as tanginess and leaves a gentle smoky quality behind. Quite open-knit for Monte Bello but there's a core of minerality and sneaky acidity here that bodes well for aging. This was aged in 100% new oak, 96% of it American.
A retaste of the flagship wine, the 2007 Monte Bello (a blend from this famous estate of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc) reveals a dense ruby/purple wine with a floral, blueberry, and earthy cassis nose and elegant mid-weight flavors with impressive purity and classicism. There is good acidity, firm tannin, and modest alcohol (13.1%). This is not the most concentrated or powerful Monte Bello, but one built on finesse and elegance. According to the back label, only 41% of the production made it into this wine from the 103-acre estate vineyard. Give this wine another good 5-7 years of bottle age and drink it over the following 20-25 years.
About as close to Bordeaux in California as you get, from the classic cigar box, cedar, tobacco leaf and dill scents to the tight band of mineral, dried currant, sage, cedar and sandelwood notes. Full-bodied, elegant and persistent, this is most interesting on the finish, where the flavors are long and lingering. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2024.
Bright ruby-red. Pungent, fresh scents of currant, mocha, tobacco leaf, graphite minerality and brown spices, plus a whiff of leather. A penetrating, youthfully tight midweight with a lovely claret-like balance of currant fruit, minerals and herbal, tobacco-leafy elements. Smooth in texture but enlivened by elevated, almost peppery acidity. Finishes with an element of energy and finesse I don't find in many high-octane Napa Valley examples from this vintage, but then this is a less massive style of Cabernet. The persistent finishing flavors blow past the firm tannins but there's little in the way of easy sweetness today. In fact, I suspect this wine is passing through a sullen stage. Rating: 92(+) Points.
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