Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ridge '10 Monte Bello Components Tasting - 3/6/11

Once again, I conspired with friends to meet up for this fun and insightful event, followed by a picnic. Like last March, the weather was less than ideal. But at least drizzling, cool and clammy is better than piercingly cold winds. The food and companionship made the "ordeal" worth it.

The idea of the components tasting is to allow us to get a feel for what some of the different grapes, from different vineyard blocks, contribute to the blend. Sometimes an individual component is amazing on its own. Other times one will come off as incomplete, but having attributes that would make a good ingredient.

As usual, we were greeted with a Chardonnay before moving on to four components, then an early blend (allemblage) and finally, an older vintage. The Monte Bello designated Chardonnay is selected from the estate lots to be a long lived wine that rewards significant aging.

'07 Chardonnay Monte Bello
Nose - nice perfumed stone fruit, green melon, good mineral sense.
Firm structural frame and juicy fruit, musk melon, pith, a touch of peach, pear, floral - almost soapy, tight. Drink '21-'33. (93)

'10 Merlot Bowl Block
Nose - deep, earthy, smoky black cherry, warm with subtle spice, brambly fruit.
Grippy, smoky, rustic, dark, tart, zesty, earth and mineral. Good intensity with a light body.
Came across as a bit shy or dull to some hedonists who weren't paying much attention...

'10 Cabernet Franc Cheval Block
Nose -ethereal smoked meat over primary black currant.
Tight, smoky, grippy, black currant, mandarin zest, beef, lavender.
Pretty intriguing. This is from very young vines and will not make the blend, but instead will be bottled as its own wine.

'10 Cabernet Sauvignon New Foster's Block
Nose - inky black currant, touches of smoke and blackberry.
Classic intense Cab fruit with juicy sweet currant and dusty tannin. Just lovely!

'10 Petit Verdot Olivos Block
Nose - lovely inky perfumed boysenberry. Wow!
Sharp approach, intense minerally boysenberry, dusty tannin. Wow! Showing just a skosh of green tannin.
This one was a socks knocker offer.

'10 Monte Bello
Nose - intense, heady, inky, rustic smoky jujube/black currant/blackberry.
Intense, juicy, pert, dried herbs, black currant, berry, touches of purple basil, lemon. Dusty/gritty tannin. Drink '25-'55. (94)

'92 Monte Bello (from a 375ml bottle)
Nose - lovely round floral youthful fruit, then mature cedar, violets.
Sharp, juicy, iodine, cedar, currant and berry. Still young. 94 pts

'08 Monte Bello
Nose - lovely, soft and intense berry and purple basil.
Soft intense berry fruit, good mineral and acid structure, touches of lemon and dried herbs. Drink '21-'41. 94 pts

See Richard's write up for some pics and notes on our picnic wines.
I brought the '86 Park-Muscatine Zin and '85 Jimsomare Cab, which were a bit disappointing compared to some similarly mature vintages I've had of those wines.

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