Sunday, August 31, 2008

1996 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello ****

Earth - damp, light as fog, and brine - and wood and woodland scents on the nose. Blueberryesque, almost dry, on the palate. God...this is dumbfounding. If it gets any better than this, I haven't found it.

Robert Parker Jr. described the wine this way: "80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and 9% Petit Verdot that reached 13.4% alcohol represents a severe selection of only 40% of the vineyard's crop. A blockbuster, powerful, concentrated Monte Bello, it possesses an opaque purple color, plenty of spicy oak in the nose (100% American oak has always been used for aging Monte Bello), and a deep, layered, concentrated style. There is plenty of tannin, but it is sweeter than that found in the 1997, and the wine is more concentrated and extracted. There is a touch of oak in the flavors, which are otherwise dominated by minerals and jammy black fruits. This is a terrific Monte Bello that will have 30+ years of life. 95 points."

He got it right.

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