The 1991 Monte Bello **** has been hailed as "one of the most delicious vintages of Monte Bello" and one of the "wines that one must try at least once in their life." Curiously garnet in color, with violets on the nose, the '91 tasted of warm blood and mixed berry compote. From 85% caberent sauvignon, 10% merlot and 5% petit verdot, the wine nevertheless sounded a striking note of graphite and crushed stones.
We also tasted a 1993 Ridge Vineyards York Creek Merlot ** from the Spring Mountain District of Napa Valley. I picked this up for $25 at WineBid.com. Still dark garnet, with voluble, chunky tannin in the mouth, black cherry fruit on the mid note and smoky notes on the finish. For the money, this offers nearly as much pleasure as the 1993 Monte Bello **/*** which sells for 3-4 times more.