Tasting Notes from the Ridge

It seems appropriate to me that this venture begins with comment on my most recent visit to Monte Bello Ridge. This will, no doubt, be a recurring feature on this site.

2008 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Estate 100% Chardonnay 
14.4%alc $40 

Pretty pale bronze color - mineral driven, wet creek stone aromatics -
lovely forward fruit, mostly white stone fruit flavors - broadening
mouthfeel, bright acids, clean finish - more forward drinkability than
previous editions, likely a function of the vintage, I think. You can
take it home for dinner tonight - an elegant and most pleasurable wine. 

2008 Geyserville 72% Zinfandel 20% Carignan 6% Petite Sirah 2%
Mataro 14.8%alc $35 20% new oak 

Deep ruby color - shy purple plum aromas with hints of spice - smooth and
bright on the palate with mouth coating texture and a long finish - may
evolve into a classic Geezer - needs time. 

2005 Grenache Lytton Estate 88% Grenache 6% Petite Sirah 6%
Zinfandel 14.6%alc $28 ATP 

Ripely sweet and bright red stone fruit aromatics - friendly entry with
smartly refreshing acids - rather pretty and fun to drink - becomes
noticeably more integrated with time and air. 

2006 Grenache/Syrah Lytton Estate 50% Grenache 50% Syrah 
14.8%alc 44 barrels produced $28 ATP 

Dense garnet color - Syrah predominates in the nose with meaty overtones
- the flavors follow the aromatics with the Grenache tempering what would
otherwise be a monster Syrah - still rather tannic - will easily improve
for 5 years, probably more. 

2007 Cabernet Santa Cruz Mountains Estate 58% Cabernet Sauvignon
 42% Merlot 13.3%alc $40 

Beautiful primary Cabernet and plummy Merlot aromas with a nuance of
heady perfume - smooth, smooth entry with palate coating texture - a real
beauty - fabulous now, but should evolve into something equally, yet
differently wonderful. Available discounted in the retail market and a
true value. 

2007 Monte Bello 79% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Merlot 9% Petite
Verdot 2% Cabernet Franc 13.1%alc 213 tons from 103 acres 41%
selected for this wine $145 

Bright, rich and ripe fruit aromas with just a hint of dusty minerality -
rich and full on the palate with wonderful presence and balance - will
become a classic Monte Bello. Eric Baugher suggests 10-20 years in the
cellar for full development - should go 30 or more. 

The "physiologically ripe" wonks should taste these two offerings - both
at well below 14% alcohol - they answer, most eloquently, the rationale
offered by some of the oak juice syrup producers. 

1996 Petite Sirah Geyserville 100% Petite Sirah 14.5%alc 31
barrels produced ATP 

A one time only wine from a warm vintage that produced enough of the
varietal of high enough quality to warrant a separate bottling. Deep and
dark in the glass with dusty black stone fruit aromas - rich and
flavorful in the mouth with not insignificant tannins on the back end
that creep forward on the palate as the wine airs. A fascinating
counterpoint to the many PS from York Creek, this offering needs at least
another decade (at least two for my palate) to show the marvelous
potential of the variety when grown and vinted by the right hands. One of
the little noticed ATP gems. 

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1 Response to Tasting Notes from the Ridge

  1. Zuma Deluxe says:

    Beautiful article there. Very useful and informative. Keep up with the good work.

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