Tasting Note                         

91   1997  Ridge  Monte Bello (Santa Cruz Mtns)   1/2/17  ($76)

85% CS, 8% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% CabernetFranc 12.9% alc
Color: Deep garnet, some browning at rim, no clearing to speak of. (3.5) Bouquet: Dusty cassis with some gout de vieux and white chalk. Elegant and somewhat closed. (3.0) Body: Solid middleweight with mature fruit balanced by acidity and smooth tannins. Smooth, tangy mouthfeel. (3.0) Flavor: Parallels bouquet, but fruit seems a bit faded with slight bitterness from tannin peeking through. (2.5) Finish: Long and pretty, just not expressive in fruit. (3.0)
Overall: A pretty, old claret that was decanted off its sediment and then back into the bottle. It needed 2 hours after the double decanting to open to its fullest. Shows some dusty bitterness, probably from sediment and tannin flavors rising above the mature, slightly faded cassis fruit. I'm surprised that this didn't age better, based on the '97 SCM bottling, which was drinking peak the last time I had it, 2 years ago. So maybe it wasn't stored perfecty in its youth before I got it? An enjoyable Monte Bello, just not impressive. (15)

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