Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 2007
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|California, Central Coast, Santa Cruz Mountains
"The nose just bursts with blueberries, currants, and flowers. Full bodied, with a round and velvety tannin structure. The palate explodes with currants, ripe strawberries, and black pepper on the finish. This is muscular and toned, structured and balanced. This is still young and needs a minimum of five years of bottle age. Winemaker Paul Draper says that perhaps this is as great as the legendary 1991."
Wine & Spirits
"Relatively fat for a Monte Bello, this wine show its richness in fruit rather than playing on weight gained from oak. The freshness of the fruit keeps it firm, finely balanced and clean, a more accessible young wine than this vineyard tends to give. There's a pure cassis flavor running through it, emphasizing the clairty of lovely, ripe cabernet. As approachable as it may be now, it's substantial enought to age for a decade or more."
International Wine Cellar
"Opaque ruby. A complex, heady bouquet displays red- and blackcurrant, pipe tobacco, cigar box and rose oil, with suave spiciness gaining strength in the glass. Sappy and sweet, with mineral-laced red and dark berry preserve and cherry-vanilla flavors complemented by smoke and floral pastille qualities. The finish shows sweetness as well as tanginess and leaves a gentle smoky quality behind. Quite open-knit for Monte Bello but there's a core of minerality and sneaky acidity here that bodes well for aging. This was aged in 100% new oak, 96% of it American."
The 2007 Monte Bello is a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. Its dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by attractive aromas of incense, red and black currants, spice, and forest floor. Much lighter in the mouth with less concentration and texture than the 2006, 2005, and 2003, the 2007 is built along the lines of the 2004. There is a slight lack of intensity in this offering (yields were almost twice as high in 2007 as they were in 2005), but it is a very pretty effort made in a lighter, more elegant, restrained style. It reveals lots of blue, black, and red fruits, medium body, good acidity, and a fine finish. The extremely cold weather in late September as well as the wet October has had an impact on the 2007 in contrast to what happened further north in Napa and Sonoma. While it does not represent a great classic, the 2007 will certainly last 15 or more years.
About as close to Bordeaux in California as you get, from the classic cigar box, cedar, tobacco leaf and dill scents to the tight band of mineral, dried currant, sage, cedar and sandalwood notes. Full-bodied, elegant and persistent, this is most interesting on the finish, where the flavors are long and lingering. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2024. 4,700 cases made.
Not the best Monte Bello to emerge in recent years. There's a sharpness of acidity that cuts the palate, and it accentuates the fresh fruit, giving it a jammy zing. More troubling is an overripe raisiny flavor. This bottling is, of course, one of the most ageable in California, but the inherent imbalance seems to mitigate against long time in the cellar.