Saturday, February 6, 2010

Monte Bello Half Bottle Showcase 2/5/10

This was a First Friday event up at the winery, for ATP members. The public version is next weekend, 2/13-14.

We started off with another bottle of...

'92 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains
Nose - brighter, more youthful. Lemon, lemon verbena, good minerality, vibrant, hazelnut and other mature notes.
Creamy, nutty, sweetish Varner-like fruit character, nice spicy oak, nutmeg, nice round citrus, hint of mandarin rind on the finish. 92 pts

The headliners...

'87 Monte Bello (SCM)
(Includes 5% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc. 11.7% alc.)
Nose - warm spicy cigar box and rich dark fruit, lovely peppery tobacco.
Lighter body with intense tobacco and black currant, smoky, good minerality, dusty tannin, blackberry. 92 pts

'88 Monte Bello (SCM)
(Includes 3% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. 12.9% alc.)
Nose - smooth full purple fruit, kind of rustic, creamy, cardamon, smoke, dried herbs.
Sweetish tart boysenberry, smoke, blackberry, blue elderberry, plum, black currant, dusty/woody tannin. Comes together a bit odd in a way - tart, round youthful fruit, light body - that more time may help. 88+ pts

'93 Monte Bello (SCM)

(Includes 7% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot. 12.5% alc.)
Nose - minty lamb, smooth, intense, shy and youthful blackberry and black currant, eucalyptus, pineapple sage.
Lanolin, blackberry and black currant, smoky and tart, dusty and slightly grippy tannin, blue elderberry, dried sage. Very youthful. Funky jujube note and a touch of cedar. Should peak in about 15 years. 92 pts

Then we tried the latest ATP release...

'04 Syrah Lytton Estate (Dry Creek Valley)
(Includes 10% Viognier, % Grenache. 14.4% alc.)
Nose - Wow! Heady, intense, youthful, smoky Syrah fruit. Dusty sandalwood, black pepper, various floral notes, very dense with savory oak that reminds me of Harrington Wines.
Dense blackberry, savory Harrington-like oak, dark, rich, jujube, floral and peach notes, leathery/chalky tannin. Drink '15-'25. 91+ pts

Funny when an aspect of a wine reminds me so specifically of a particular producer. Of course part of what I get in Varner Chards is a regional character - and Ridge has been around longer - but I've had plenty of Ridge Chards and never gotten that match before. The Syrah is 100% American oak, 25% new and the rest 2-7 years. Harrington is French oak. Maybe the answer is in specific yeasts, and how the characters they imparted interacted with other notes in the wines..?

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