A highlight of the tasting, with rocking energy, dense black currant and black berry fruit and loads of singed wood thoroughly embedded throughout. Juicy bramble, alder and bay leaf notes chime in, with a mouthwatering mineral spine buried deep on the finish. (JM, Web Only-2019)
Aromas of black currant, walnut, black olive and sweet flowers. Licorice. Full body, round and soft tannins and a subtle yet rich finish. Stone undertone. Showing wonderfully now. Why wait? But it will age for decades ahead.
The 2010 Monte Bello is just as stunning as it has always been. Today, the 2010 appears to be entering a closed phase, so it is best left alone for at least another 5-10 years, perhaps longer. The signatures are super-ripe, exotic fruit, sweet aromatics and firm tannins, all of which ensure the 2010 will be utterly magnificent in a few decades. The growing season was characterized by mostly cold weather, with an unexpectedly intense heat spike in mid-October that gave the fruit a final push. One of the things that makes this vintage so compelling is the interplay of firm structural elements from the cold year and a high level of ripeness that was achieved late. In my view, the 2010 is one of the most thrilling recent Monte Bellos, however it won't be ready to drink for a number of years and it won't peak for quite some time beyond that. (AG) 97+
The 2010 growing season was long and cool, reflecting the influence of an El Niño year, defined by a short but intense heat wave in late August. But whereas Ridge's Sonoma County vineyards experienced a high of 117 degrees Fahrenheit for two days, Monte Bello ridge only reached 105 degrees. The ensuing 2010 Monte Bello is very classic in profile, offering up aromas of crushed cassis, plums, cigar tobacco, rich loamy soil, black tea and dark chocolate. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, with a deep and concentrated core of vibrantly crunchy fruit framed by velvety tannins, concluding with a long, tangy finish that's still youthfully chewy. Though the two vintages are very close in quality, the 2010 is very different in profile from the somewhat larger scaled 2012: it's less expansive, but built around a brighter vertical line. I'd recommend cellaring it for an additional three or four years and don't expect it to truly hit its stride until after 2025. The blend is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, and it attained 13.2% natural alcohol. (WK)
Inky ruby. Intense cherry, blackcurrant, licorice, pipe tobacco and cedary oak aromas show superb clarity and energy. Sweet, penetrating cherry-cola and bitter chocolate flavors are deeply concentrated but lively, picking up woodsmoke, floral pastille and allspice nuances with air. Smooth, harmonious tannins build slowly on the finish and meld seamlessly with the wine's vivacious fruit. Almost painfully young, this wine demands--and will reward--aging. (JR)
While fruit is at the center of the wine, it’s savory and sophisticated rather than overtly sweet. The flavors touch on small berries--black currants, wild blueberries--and also hint at herbs (tarragon, tobacco). This is a terrific vintage of Monte Bello: It feels healthy and sound, with tension and drive that will sustain it for decades in the cellar.
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