Tasting Note                         

95  1995  Ridge Monte Bello    12/1/12 ($60)

69% CS, 18% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% CabernetFranc  12.5% alc
Color: Very deep garnet with no clearing or browning. (4.0) Bouquet: Elegant pen ink, white clay and cigarbox complement smooth sweet cassis. (3.5) Body: Light heavyweight with excellent fruit and acidity with very smooth tannins. Coats the mouth nicely. (3.0) Flavor: Parallels bouquet step-for-step. (3.5) Finish: Shows impressive persistence for a wine with such elegance. (3.5)
Overall: A great Monte Bello that's right where I like to drink 'em, being almost totally smoothed out, making it elegant, yet fruit and structure are still intact with plenty of smooth tannins underneath the fruit. Also shows Pauillac-like complexity of pen ink and musky white/gray clay. It's elegance makes it pretty. Drink now and in the next few years. For my taste, there was no need to breathe or decant. I did stand it up for a couple of weeks before drinking to let the significant sediment settle. Better than both the '93 and the '94 and at least as good as the '90, but not quite the '91 or the '92. I am very pleased with how this is drinking right now, particularly since I had heard several complaints from other tasters that this vintage was somewhat imbalanced, implying too much tannin for the amount of fruit. This may have been true when younger, but I'm happy to report that the tannins have resolved and there's plenty of fruit left. (17.5)

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