Blueberries, currants and flowers. The nose just pops out. Intense. Full body, with a round and velvety tannin structure and lots of currants, ripe strawberries. Very intense every. Black pepper at the finish. Muscular yet toned. Very structured yet balanced. This needs a minimum of four to five years of aging. Paul Draper says that perhaps this is as great as the legendary 1991. Made for aging.
The 2007 Monte Bello weighs in at a very grown up 13.1% alcohol and is a great, great wine in the making. The nose is deep, complex and flat out brilliant, as it offers up scents of pure cassis, a touch of bell pepper, tobacco leaf, espresso, a beautifully complex base of soil and a deft touch of new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and utterly seamless, with a rock solid core of fruit, beautiful, nascent complexity, ripe, well-integrated tannins and stunning length and grip on the palate-staining finish. A stellar Monte Bello.
Reflecting on the 2007 Monte Bello, Eric Baugher describes the year as "a vintage that almost didn't happen." Until the eve of harvest, everything was going well, with a large crop ripening in balmy conditions. In late September, however, cold weather retarded ripening, with wet and wintry October weather only relenting on the 23rd, when temperatures returned to the high 80s. Due to such extended hang time, seeds were hard and woody, so it was difficult to extract much tannin, but that tannin was of very high quality. Today, the wine is beginning to show superbly, wafting from the glass with a lavish, creamy bouquet of crème de cassis, ripe plums, blackberries, black truffle and loamy soil. On the palate, it's full-bodied, fleshy and expansive, its generous core of fruit framed by rich, melting tannins and underpinned by the freshness and energy that this site always seems to capture. As it approaches age 11, the 2007 is an elegantly voluptuous vintage of Monte Bello that bears analogies with the lovely 1991. The blend is 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, and it attained 13.1% natural alcohol and was cropped at around two tons per acre. (WK)
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. (JR)
The 2007 Monte Bello is just beginning to enter the early part of its first plateau of maturity. Sweet tobacco, cedar, menthol, licorice and dried herbs give the wine lovely aromatic depth, with silky tannins that extend the effortless finish nicely. Yields were a bit on the high side, which required more pumpovers than normal to give the wine a bit more structure. Even so, the 2007 looks like a wine that is best suited to medium-term drinking, within the context of Monte Bello, of course. (AG)
Relatively fat for a Monte Bello, this wine shows 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 clarity of lovely, ripe Cabernet. As approachable as it may be now, it's substantial enough to age for a decade or more.
Ripe nose but very convincing build with all the building blocks in place. Chewy still but great vibrancy. Acidity much more marked than in most California Cabs. (JR) 18/20 points
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