Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2016 Ridge Monte Bello Assemblage

Library wines in large formats
A visit to Ridge is always fun, particularly when it's for the Monte Bello tasting. Ridge hosts three tastings in March, April and May where we get the chance to try barrel sample of the latest vintage of Monte Bello; if you've never been to one of these events, you've definitely missed out.

Alongside the official tastings many collectors bring gems from their cellars to enjoy with friends or to share with other enthusiasts, and there are occasionally older library wines available to taste and even purchase.

Ridge Winemaker Eric Baugher
2016 looks to be another stunning vintage for Ridge. At the March event, where they pour samples from each of the four components, the Merlot was outstanding; fragrant and floral on the nose, with beautiful berry fruit and already some cocoa from the oak. The 2016 Monte Bello first assemblage shows all the signs of being another long-lived vintage, and the 2014 that's just been released is a fine example of what the Santa Cruz Mountains has to offer; powerful fruit, with eucalyptus, minerals and great structure. Buy it for your kids.
Two stunning new releases

Alongside the 2014 Monte Bello, Ridge were pouring the Estate Cabernet and their 2014 'Historic Vineyard' series. From this vintage they have released a Klein Cabernet Sauvignon and a Perrone Merlot. The Klein was taut and chewy, showing harsh tannins and hiding its fruit; no doubt it'll come around with time but on the day I didn't care for it, whereas the 2014 Perrone Merlot was luscious and rich, with velvety tannins. It's a beautiful wine, and I just wish that it wasn't $75 a bottle. The Estate Cabernet is as good and consistent as ever; it's normally the wine to buy and enjoy while your Monte Bello have a ten year nap.

I say normally, because Ridge were also pouring the 2015 Geyserville, and it's a stunning wine. Quite possibly the best young Geyserville I've ever tasted. At $40 it's a great value for a wine that, while delicious now, will only improve with time. Highly recommended.