Still very deep crimson with some ruby at the rim. Rich, sweet, developed nose. Flattering nose but quite delicate, almost fragile, on the palate. Seems to be drying out a bit? Or perhaps the tannins are just rather aggressive at this stage in its evolution. Seems a little teenage at this point. (JR) 17/20
The 1998 Monte Bello Proprietary Red (a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc) exhibits a ripe nose of sweet oak intermixed with blackberries and cassis. It is firm and medium-bodied, with astringent tannin in the finish. Winemaker Paul Draper's comments on the back label are usually modest, but it would appear he is much higher on this vintage than my notes suggest. The 1998 Monte Bello needs 4-5 years of cellaring, and should develop along the lines of an austere Bordeaux vintage. (RP)
Saturated medium ruby. Sappy aromas of brambly blackberry, currant, cocoa powder, graphite and game, plus a light floral topnote. Almost painfully young and clenched in the mouth: a shock to the palate today. Elevated acidity seems almost lemony. The powerful, drying tannins spread out to cover the entire palate. (ST)
Elegant and spicy, mature and medium-bodied. Fading a bit, but still enjoyable, with dried currant and black cherry fruit joined by shades of anise and fresh earth. (JL, Web Only-2009)
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