A group of us got together to check in on the state of some of our local Cabs. In all, we tried 18, 15 from the Santa Cruz Mountains and 3 more from just outside. One surprising thing we realized is there were at least six more from within the AVA we could've tried to hunt down, as well as several more proximate in the Santa Clara Valley.
We tasted in flights of three, then voted on our top 3, with 5 points for 1st, 3 for 2nd and 1 for 3rd.
A) Nose - cedar, classic, cherry, redwood, good complexity. touch of black pepper.
Nice, smooth, classic, mouth-filling, cherry and redwood, touch of cocoa. Ready to drink, should hold well to '22. 93 pts
Guess: Maybe Woodside
'07 Mount Eden Estate (SCM)
Excuse for guess: Same (Margaux) clones, softer expression than old school Mount Edens, and well, it tastes like what I like from Woodside Vineyards Cabs.
B) Nose kind of dull/shy, soft, hints of yerba buena, cinnamon stick.
Nice soft cherry and black currant, touches of mint and cinnamon stick, redwood. Drink '12-'22. 91 pts
Guess: Santa Clara Valley
'07 Cooper-Garrod George's Vineyard (SCM)
Verdict: Lower elevation and in both regions.
C) Nose - jalapeno and roasted tomato.
Smooth, mucho jalapeno, pert full cherry and black currant. Lip smacking. 88 pts
'07 Chaine d'Or (SCM)
D) Nose - smooth, complex, peppery black currant and plum, redwood.
Forward full spiced red fruit. 92 pts
'07 Kathryn Kennedy Small Lot (SCM)
E) Nose - initially showing sweet super-ripe candied spiced plums, deep. Ridge-y oak. With time the ripeness on the nose receded, leaving a gorgeous, broadly complex wine.
Nice complex oak spices, full fruit, lighter body, gritty tannin, classic cedar, black currant and plum. Drink '18-'38. 95 pts
No Question: Monte Bello
'07 Ridge Monte Bello (SCM)
Note: it was clear a few people didn't get this. A decant would've helped.
F) Nose - cinnamon and cherry wood, red fruit and cocoa.
Grippy tannin, cherry and cedar, smooth, plum, good structure. Drink now-'17. 91 pts
'07 Martin Ranch Therese Vineyards Estate (SCM)
Excuse: similar profile.
G) Nose - green pepper, deep cherry, high toned spice.
Tart redwood and cherry, some blackberry, good complexity and structure, touch of mint. 92 pts
'07 P*M Staiger (SCM)
H) Nose - Dark, brooding, a bit shy, black plum, cedar, smoke.
Ripe boysenberry and plum, pert, fine tannin. 92 pts
Guess: Lonehawk? (The nose had reminded me of the lat time I had the Ridge Estate)
'07 La Honda Lonehawk Vineyard (SCM)
I) Nose - deep, dark, Margaux clone-like, hints of mint and licorice, cedar, black plum/black currant/cherry.
Soft, good fruit, SCV-like, full cherry, hints of black currant and green olive. 91 pts
Guess: Uvas (Nose was saying Mount Eden)
'07 Stefania Santa Cruz Mountains
Excuse: Palate was showing soft, like San Martin area fruit. Did get the producer right, and some of the fruit is from down there.
Note: Would've rated it higher if those notes from the nose came through.
J) Nose - soft, subtle but growing, cinnamon and black plum, hint of green peppercorn.
Forward sweet red fruit, a bit sharp, spicy, blackberry and raspberry. 92 pts
'07 Ahlgren Bates Ranch (SCM)
K) Nose - weird, smoky, mushroom, cherry hard candy.
Woodsy, mushroomy, sharp, forward cherry and raspberry. 88 pts
'07 Stefania Uvas Creek (SCV)
L) Nose - barnyard, leather, full.
Nice level of leather and barnyard, bright cherry and redwood. 90 pts
'07 Woodside Estate (SCM)
Note: First time having brett in one of these. I rated non-infected bottles much higher. Need to check on another bottle.
M) Nose - smoky black plum, cinnamon, a bit flat, hint of menthol.
Simple, sweet plum and nutmeg, redwood, spicy, dusty, builds up well. 89 pts
'07 Thomas Fogarty (SCM)
N) Nose - classic leathery plum, hints of cinnamon and redwood.
Round, simple leathery black currant and plum, some iodine and lime zest. 87 pts
'07 Domaine Eden (SCM)
O) Nose - deep plum and dill, intense underlying black currant.
Timid wild plum, dark/gritty/woody tannin, cherry, galangal. 86 pts
'07 House Family Old Oak Vineyard (SCM)
Note: Perhaps shut down. Previous bottles have shown quite well.
P) Nose - whole wheat, muted plum, cinnamon, smoky, hint of jalapeno.
Round plum and jalapeno, cinnamon, good grip.
Originally rated 89 pts, this majorly improved, filling out over 2 hours into a quite nice wine. 92 pts.
'07 Ridge Estate (SCM)
Note: This could clearly use some cellar time or a good decant, but I'd be weary about aging it very long.
Q) Nose - forward, hedonistic, full, well spiced, plum, smoky, inky, toasty, cherry wood.
Intense, smooth, ripe black plum, lovely spice, well framed, good complexity, vibrant. Drink '12-'30. 94 pts
Martin Ranch Therese Vineyards Dos Rios Vineyard (SCV)
R) Nose - deep, dark, inky, black and red licorice.
Flat, drying, black plum, dusty/woody tannin, heat, hint of green bean.
'07 Creekview Vineyards (SCV)
Note: My notes make it sound awful, but it wasn't.
Assembling The 2015 Monte Bello
2 weeks ago