Tasting Note                         

95+   1999  Ridge  Monte Bello (Santa Cruz Mtns)   3/10/17  ($90)

72% CS, 25% Merlot, 2% CabernetFranc, 1% Petit Verdot 13.0% alc
Color: Very deep garnet, some browning at rim, no clearing. (3.5) Bouquet: Pen ink, root beer and other forestal nuances complement dusty cassis. (3.5) Body: Heavyweight with excellent fruit, acidity and smooth tannins. Coats mouth very nicely. Very well balanced. (3.5) Flavor: Parallels bouquet step for step. (3.5) Finish: Best part. Very long and elegant with complex forestal flavors coming on even stronger. (3.5)
Overall: A great Monte Bello. Not as pretty as the '95 I had about a year ago, still showing some dusty tannins that made it a little restrained on day 1 (94 pts). But the complexity and fruit were more expressive and the wine showed perfect balance on day 2 (96 pts). Has a lot of pen ink and forestal flavors reminiscent of 1st Growth Pauillac, accompanying concentrated, yet restrained cassis fruit. Typical of Monte Bello, this is a classy wine that drinks more like a great, mature Medoc than a CA Cabernet or Meritage. If drinking now, decant this off its sediment about 2 hours before serving. Needs another 2-4 years to be at it best. (17.5)

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