Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ridge Monte Bello Components Tasting 3/7/10

A favorite event, a bunch of us meet up for this every year. It provides a bit of insight into their blending and selection process. What different lots have to contribute, why some juice doesn't make the cut, etc. After the introductory white, we tried 4 single variety lots, then a blend of what is to be included, so far, in the '09 Monte Bello. It's still early going, so many lots are still developing, and further decisions about blending will be made.

'07 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains
Nose - light on its feet, elegant, spicy, floral, minerally, citrus notes.
Very expressive, a bit heavy on the oak for now, nose follows through, touch of pith. Needs 5 years. 92 pts

'09 Cabernet Franc North Gate Block
Nose - very heady, savory purple fruit, dried herbs, dense charcoal smoke, dusty dried plum note.
Dark dusty boysenberry, very pert, smoky, dried plum, Sprite.

'09 Merlot Avenue Block
Nose - forward sulfite, dark fruit, smoky, dried savory.
Sulfite, char, dusty jujube, plum, touch of zest and pith, hint of mushroom.

'09 Cabernet Sauvignon South Slope La Cuesta
Nose - bright fresh berry, reall nice, quality really shows, subtle spices and herbs, and a warm citron note.
Lovely minerally berry, signature SCM Cab fruit, subtle herb and spice.

'09 Petit Verdot Olivos and La Vassuer Parcels
Nose - reduced, rustic, deep and dark, nice berry.
Dusty, zesty, smoky, thin, shy berry fruit.

'09 Monte Bello
(67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot)
Nose - smooth sultry berry and primary purple fruit, nice Draper perfume, smoke and a rustic note. Very nice!
Smooth, good acid, pure berry, very dusty/grippy, rustic purple fruit, intense, smoky, touch of zest. 95+ pts

Then some current releases...

'07 Monte Bello
Nose - intense, cedary, black currant, gorgeous, Draper perfume, dried herbs, smoke, peppercorn.
Lovely, intense, good acid, black currant, smoke, minerals, hint of tobacco. Broadly complex and seamless. Amazing! 97 pts

'07 Geyserville
(58% Zinfandel, 22% Carignane, 18% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro)
Nose - not showing much
Dense smoky round fruit, boysenberry, plum, orange, floral. Very young. Silky. 93 pts

'07 Lytton Springs
(71% Zinfandel, 22% Petite Sirah, 7% Carignane)
Nose - smoke, berry, peach, vanilla, touch of spice.
Peppery, lush berry, peach pie, smooth/dusty tannin, mandarin and zest. 92+ pts

'06 Zinfandel Old School (Alexander Valley)
(Incl. 15% Carignane, 2% Petite Sirah)
Nose - bright, jammy, blue elderberry, smooth plum, hints of peach and blackberry, Musar-like spice.
Spicy/peppery, boysenberry and elderberry, juicy, pure. 90 pts

'06 Santa Cruz Mountains
(56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot)
Nose - green peppercorn, black currant and cedar.
Smoky black currant, zest, berry, dusty/gritty tannin. Drink '15-'25 91 pts

'04 Grenache Lytton Estate
(Incl. 16% Petite Sirah, 9% Zinfandel)
Nose - lovely spicy boysenberry jam, vanilla spice, deeper rustic fruit.
Sweet, dusty, berry, smoke, rhubarb. 91+ pts

After that, we had a picnic. Excellent food and wine with some good friends. Weather turned rather cold, though. I didn't bother with notes on the wines, but I can sum them up...

'75 Monte Bello
Very mature and lovely, seems at the tail end of its peak. Drink soon. 92 pts

'95 Zinfandel Jimsomare
Also very mature, maybe a little past its peak. Had some lovely signature notes, but also a bit odd. I revisited this a few hours later with dinner and the odd notes had blown off. 89 pts

'89 Petite Sirah Paddock Vines
Really in a nice place right now. Full, rustic, brawny, with smoke and tar. 92 pts

'07 Zinfandel Dusi
Overripe and hot. Quickly spit out. About as pleasant as someone bumping into me and stepping on my foot. 75 pts

Richard's notes:
Dave's notes:

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