Search yielded zilch about this particular MB so here goes. From a private cellar I got a few of these and just reloaded via winebid recently, very glad I did too! Good cork removed en masse with Ah-so. Great typical 1980’s MB nose with a lot of funk and maybe a iodine/medicinal whiff too? Good color, nowhere near as old looking as the 1980 MB we had last year. This was a solid MB vintage with a 47% selection listed on the back label and this bottle was a laser beam of well-mannered, dark fruit with completely integrated tannins now. Nice smooth finish of medium length. This bottle was split 3 ways and I know I would kill one myself if I pulled the cork alone - that good! EtOH just 11.8%.
Had a 2004 Nickel & Nickel Darien Syrah the next night and it was like a barrel sample compared to this Ridge!
This is a favorite vintage of mine, too, as my hero Laube rated it 82 pts, so they show up at a pretty good price. I, too, restocked from winebid recently. I’ll be bringing a bottle to the Monte Bello assemblage tasting in a couple weeks…
Had the '80 at an '80 CA Cab retrospective and was underwhelmed (rated it 88). Need to pop my bottle sometime soon to see how it compares.
I drank my two bottles of this in 2001 and 2003. Both were bought on release and were a little underwhelming, particularly the first, which had a marked green bell note in the nose and seemed a bit faded.
My notes on the second bottle were: “Quite refined; a little vegetal with air, but lots of finesse; more like Leoville Las Case '86 and Leoville Poyferre '88 at dinner than Far Niente '90 cab.” I gave it 88 points.
Someone posted (or said?) recently that the average alcohol for Monte Bello has trended up .5% over the last 40 years. Seems lower than I’d guess, but haven’t seen a comprehensive list. Certainly, Paul doesn’t think sugar ripeness has much relevance. They pick for flavor, and put a lot of effort into maximizing the flavor and expression of the sites. I don’t think alcohol has any effect whatsoever on aging.