Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Magnum 2016
|Region||California, Central Coast, Santa Cruz Mountains|
Opaque purple-ruby color. Ripe blackberry fruit, barrel spice, anise, violets, and crushed limestone. Opulent mountain fruit entry, firm acid, and fine-grain, age-worthy tannins. Powerful complexity and tremendous length to the finish.
One of the highlights in this tasting, the 2016 Monte Bello has turned out just as beautifully as I hoped it would. Soaring aromatics, bright acids and mid-weight structure give the 2016 a super-classic feel. Clearly, the 2016 is very primary today, with plenty of bright red and purplish berry fruit. More than that, though, the 2016 pulses with energy and simply exceptional balance. Don't miss it!
The 2016 Monte Bello is stunning, bursting from the glass with aromas of crushed currants, plums, charcoal, sweet spices, black truffle and rich soil. On the palate, it's full-bodied, immensely deep and very concentrated, with an ample core of dark fruit that almost entirely conceals its rich chassis of tannin. The finish is long, tensile and chalky. Eric Baugher observes that 2016 was a drought year but that the vines were less stressed than in 2015, thanks to Spring precipitation, and it wasn't necessary to irrigate. Summer saw wild temperature swings, and though it was below average in summation, some days were very warm. The final Monte Bello blend contains 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 6% Cabernet Franc, which represents a slight change from when I tasted it a year ago, though its profile remains very much the same. The 2016 checks in at 13.8% alcohol and pH 3.49. Cellar it for a decade and follow it for another three.
Bottled in March of 2018 and a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, and the balance Cabernet Franc, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello offers a more streamlined, elegant, and ultra-classic style compared to the 2014 and 2015, which are slightly bigger, richer wines. Boasting a deep purple color and beautiful purity in its crème de cassis, blueberry, white flowers, and vanilla bean, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, silky tannins, and perfect balance. It doesn't have the sheer depth of fruit of some of the blockbuster years, yet makes up for it with its incredible purity, poise, and balance. Relatively approachable for a Monte Bello, it's still going to see its 30th birthday in fine form.
Plush and dense, with a distinct racy edge for counterbalance, showing a massive core of dark plum and blackberry fruit, scored by bay leaf, sage and violet notes. A massive young wine that will cruise in the cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.-Non-blind Ridge Monte Bello vertical (June 2019). Best from 2026 through 2046.