A dark, brooding beauty, the 2006 Monte Bello is still very, very young. The aromatics alone are enticing, but the tannins still need time to soften. The 2006 is a masculine, vertical Monte Bello that demands cellaring. Even so, it is pretty impressive today. Scents of lavender, sage, mint and savory herbs add closing flourishes. The perfumed sweetness of the fruit (one of the hallmarks of the very late harvest) remains one of the signatures of the 2006. (AG) 95+
The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello comes from a warmer, generous year and is 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Petite Verdot, and the balance Cabernet Franc. It’s still youthfully colored and has classic Cabernet notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil, and vanilla oak. This medium to full-bodied effort is just now at the early stages of maturity and is silky, graceful, and elegant on the palate, with its still-present structure beautifully integrated into the wine.
As it approaches age twelve, the 2006 Monte Bello is still quite reserved on the nose and on the palate, unwinding in the glass with a bouquet of cassis, cherries, pencil lead, dark chocolate, cigar box and dried rose petal. On the palate, it's full-bodied, layered and still firmly structured, carrying considerable extract and concluding with chalky grip. Rich, concentrated and powerful, the raw materials are very impressive but they're still wrapped up in some formidable structure. Eric Baugher describes the 2006 Monte Bello as "a sleeper vintage: backward and tannic when it was young, and released in a challenging economy," and that's the case today. Like the 1995 vintage, I suspect this will be a Monte Bello that really hits its stride at age 20 rather than age ten, but patient consumers with time on their side should give it serious consideration. (WK) 94+
Relatively open compared to the 2007 with sweet tobacco and plums and berries. Full body, velvety and gorgeous, with dried fruits, almost peaches, dark fruits. I love the finish. Why wait on this? But will improve with age wonderfully. Toasty oak shows more too. But it's so pretty.
Deep, bright ruby. Spicy, high-pitched aromas of red- and blackcurrant, cherry, pipe tobacco, rose and smoky Indian spices. Firm, mineral-driven dark berry flavors are given a firm edge by bitter cherry skin and pit notes, with the tobacco note repeating. Supple tannins add structure and carry through the long, sweet, smoky finish. This is showing gentler tannins than I usually expect from a young Monte Bello and I'd bet on it being drinkable before the 2005 and 2004 versions. I also retasted the 2005 Monte Bello, which after a year in bottle is showing brighter red fruit and spicier mineral character than at this time last year, when I rated it 95 points. It's still a baby. I underestimated this wine's potential and would now rate it 95(+?), with excellent cellaring potential. For the quality it is a steal as it can compare to any wine from the Napa Valley that sells for three or four times the money-or more! (JR)
On the quiet side of intense, this vintage of Monte Bello is austere, delivering its fruit like a cool rain of berries. As a young cabernet, the flavors of black plum, dried currants and cranberries are held tight in the grip of oak. There's also a floral scent of roses before the tannins shut it down. This should plump up with a few years in the cellar, building on its elegance to match roast leg of lamb.
Rich and glossy on the nose – all pleasure! There’s a sweet initial hit on the palate and then it all goes very dense and still dry. Very, very youthful. (JR) 17.5+/20 points
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