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Went to our favorite restaurant for our tenth anniversary. They don't allow you to BYOB, but they have a decent wine list (mostly California). I was going to just do wine by the glass, but nothing looked too promising (mostly 98 and 00 vintages). I asked for some feedback on two wine selections; a 92 Ridge Monte Bello and a 96 Rubicon (more expensive). The answer I got back from the waitress who went to ask someone was the Rubicon (gee, the higher priced one)as the expert said the Monte Bello may be light as it was old

Well, I got the Monte Bello and it was the correct choice.

The wine was decanted and the nose filled the air around our table. The color was a deep purple and very opaque (must be because it was light and old Wink). Aromas of oak, kirsch, and cassis. The same flavors played on the palate. The initial fruit attack was fantastic and carried through mid palate where secondary flavors unfolded such as tobacco, spice and raspberry. The finish was a wonderful ripe sweet cherry that lingered. The tannins were well integrated and supple. I could coax them out with some aeration in the mouth and some chewing. The wine thus has structure to continue to age. This wine was elegant for a Monte Bello and was medium weight on the palate. I must confess to liking this style as it did not overpower my lamb dish. If you have some 92 Monte Bello they are worth a try now and should go for 5-10 more years
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I just read the WS TN and score of 89? Don't know what they were drinking (or smoking). This is not an 89 point wine. I am loath to assign points, but based on other wines I have had, I would give it a highly subjective score of 95. Of course that is most likely +/- 3 points and is a relative score based on my palate and other wines I have had (I have had a few in my 20 years of wine drinking)to make valid comparisons.

The WS TN shows an earthy wine with mushroom flavors. Kind of sounds like a Rhone wine rather than a Napa Cab. My TN would not describe this as earthy or any type of shroom. Pure and rambunctious cherry and currant with smooth tannins. Talk about palate differences Confused
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That's a great offer. I used to go out there a lot when I worked in the semiconductor test equipment industry. That is the part I miss, my trips to San Jose with the opportunity to drive up to Napa on weekends. Some day I'll make it out that way again. Then I'll bring the Pichon Lalande.

By the way, my Hot Springs spa has sprung a leak. Looks like I'll be spa-less for a couple of weeks. Frown
Second Bottle update. Had the opportunity to have a second bottle of this wine. It was as good as the first, but I noticed some more tannin in this bottle. I would say another 5 years of sleep would have been beneficial for this particular bottle. Amazing how bottles vary. This wine had the same nose and flavor profile, just more tannin that showed (not totally integrated). Still a great wine. Just decant or wait a few more years.
1992 Ridge Monte Bello - USA, California, Santa Cruz Mountains
Atlanta Off-line with Ron Kramer (Bones Restaurant, Atlanta, GA): Not decanted? Rich dark cassis and dark chocolate nose that I couldn’t get enough of. Youthfull, dark cassis flavors with vanilla and deep mocha layered nicely with substantial depth. Supple, full, and round body with slightly chalky and still prominent tannins that expanded nicely on the mid-palate with a vigorous finish. This continued to open up the longer it was in the glass and still has plenty of life ahead. This very rich, fruit forward and oak infused California Cab stands in amazing contrast to the more earthy, dense, mineral driven 1990 Monte Bello. S92 4/22/2006
had my 2nd to last bottle of this last Wednesday and no formal notes, but this didnt show quite as well as the bottle from 3 years ago... decanted for sediment and consumed over about 45 min, it showed incredibly dense, very youthful... very nice fruit on the nose and palate, dusty sensations in the mouth, tobacco, earthy notes... i have one bottle left i'm going to try and wait to open at least for another 5-10 years
Well, I haven't seen rmkam post in a very long time, and he was an excellent poster.....Where are you rmkam???

g-man-----I think you had an excellent bottle that had been stored in pristine conditions. Obviously, the maturity had been retarded with care, and you were exposed to a special wine. Thanks for the great notes; and where is rmkam?

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