Stunning depth, power, purity and elegance. The blackcurrants and plums are fresh and intense on the nose with blueberries and gently herbal notes, too. The palate has a keenly articulated array of vibrant tannins that hold long, fresh and pure. It invokes a sense of wonderment at the finish. So long and so pure. This blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, is just at the start of a wonderful journey.
A blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello is unquestionably going to be one of monumental vintages of this wine. Deep, incredibly concentrated, and powerful, yet also textured and perfectly balanced, this beauty gives up a huge nose of cassis, plums, spice box, graphite, and vanilla bean. With full-bodied richness on the palate, it starts out tight and firm yet blossoms with time in the glass (I followed this bottle for multiple days) and has an awesome mid-palate, building yet perfectly ripe tannins, and a rock star finish. It's about as classic a Monte Bello as they come and will require 4-6 years of bottle age (or more) and shine for three decades or more. 98+
One of the highlights in this tasting, the 2015 Monte Bello will soon take its place among the greatest Monte Bellos ever made. Powerful, deep and explosive, the 2015 possesses magnificent concentration and richness in every dimension. Even with all of its raciness, the 2015 has terrific aromatic presence and regal tannins. The 2015 is a bit less showy than it has been in the past, but it was also just bottled two weeks before this tasting. Readers who own it will be absolutely thrilled. (AG) 98+
If any Cabernet Sauvignon has a track record for quality and ageability in California, it’s Ridge’s Cabernet from the Monte Bello vineyard. (The wine came in first in Steven Spurrier’s 30 year re-enactment of the Judgment of Paris tasting). The Monte Bello vineyard is 109 miles south of Napa Valley in the cool Santa Cruz Mountains. For 47 years, it was made by legendary winemaker Paul Draper who formally turned over the reins to Eric Baugher in 2016. The 2015 Monte Bello (which has a touch of Cabernet Franc) is sleek, tight, and precise, with fine tannins and a quiet elegance. (KM)
At this early stage, the 2015 Monte Bello is all about potential. I followed a bottle over several days and only witnessed improvement. The wine unfurls in the glass with a rich bouquet of cassis, ripe plums, espresso roast, black tea and baking chocolate, lavishly framed by minty, spicy new oak—which is often at its most prominent at exactly this stage, when the wine is shutting down after bottling. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with rich, velvety tannins and beautifully succulent, even tangy acidity that lends amazing lift on the finish. The most obvious analogy is the 2005 vintage, though it also evokes a more elegant version of the 1995 Monte Bello. It's a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc that attained 13.5% natural alcohol. Since the wine appears to be shutting down, I'd recommend forgetting it until its tenth birthday. Given its structure and balance, it should enjoy remarkable longevity. (WK) 95+
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