Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 1996
|Appellation||Santa Cruz Mountains|
Wine AdvocateThe 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello (80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and 9% Petit Verdot that reached 13.4% alcohol) represents a severe selection of only 40% of the vineyard's crop. A blockbuster, powerful, concentrated Monte Bello, it possesses an opaque purple color, plenty of spicy oak in the nose (100% American oak has always been used for aging Monte Bello), and a deep, layered, concentrated style. There is plenty of tannin, but it is sweeter than that found in the 1997, and the wine is more concentrated and extracted. There is a touch of oak in the flavors, which are otherwise dominated by minerals and jammy black fruits. This is a terrific Monte Bello that will have 30+ years of life.
Wine SpectatorHerbal and cedary, like an aged Bordeaux, with dried currant flavors and very dry tannins that are gritty on the finish, with a pebbly aftertaste. The best of three bottles tasted.--1996 California Cabernet retrospective. Drink now through 2011.