Destined to rank as one of the all-time greats from Ridge, the 2017 Monte Bello opens in the glass with youthfully complex notes of ripe plums, cassis, espresso roast and black truffles, with little apparent trace of its time in 100% new oak. On the palate, it's full-bodied and incredibly concentrated, with a rich, layered mid-palate and immense substance that marks it out as the most richly tannic Monte Bello since 2013. As ever, the acids are vibrant, with a classic pH of around 3.5—notably lower than most Cabernet Sauvignons from contemporary Bordeaux or Napa Valley, thanks to this site's limestone soils and high altitude. At the time of writing, the blend is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, though that may change by the time it's bottled. Eric Baugher observes that fermentations were slow in 2017, which protracted the period of extraction, partially accounting for this vintage's power. It's still a baby, but this is a strong contender for a perfect score when it's bottled in over a year's time—and it should see out its 50th birthday in style. (WK)
Lastly, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello is a rough blend at present and is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, and 4% Cabernet Franc. This is a rich, powerful version of this cuvée and boasts a black/blue color as well as a huge nose of crème de cassis, graphite, crushed rocks, and lead pencil shavings. With some serious structure, full-bodied richness, and a fleshy, opulent texture, this massive Monte Bello is going to be one for the ages.
The 2017 Monte Bello packs a serious punch. Huge fruit and equally imposing tannins suggest the 2017 is going to require considerable cellaring to be at its finest. The 2017 has come together beautifully over the last year. Even so, it remains very, very young, and also full of potential. (AG)
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