The 2017 Monte Bello is ultra powerful and concentrated, unfurling over the several days it was open to reveal rich cassis, roast plums, tar, aniseed and exotic spices. What sets the palate apart is its purity: though incredibly layered, it offers a kaleidoscopic journey from blackcurrant to tobacco and dried flowers, offering continual sparks of flavor long after the wine has been swallowed. Structurally, it has the firm but ripe tannins and seamless freshness to dictate a very long life in the cellar. This vintage is a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. 3,750 cases produced.
This shows incredible intensity and depth of blackberries, pine needles, blackcurrants and black olives. Conifer, too. Love the nose. Full-bodied with so many layers of fruit and very fine, creamy tannins. It goes on for minutes. Impressive density with such weightlessness. Superb wine.
73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc.
Inky garnet. Aromas of pencil shavings and American oak layered over darker black plum and cassis. Beautifully sculpted tannins wrap around a core of cassis, black cherry and blueberry fruit that has a stony, earthy depth. Excellent acidity and balance contribute to this wine's characteristic of utter seamlessness that is so compelling. The cedar, coconut and whiskey-barrel notes of the American oak are present, as are the muscles that wood brings to the tannins, which stiffen as the wine finishes with notes of herbs and blackberry. Most Monte Bellos benefit from ageing, and this will be no exception. It is darker and a bit more brooding on release than the 2016 or 2015. Give it 5 to 10 years and watch it sing. Outstanding. (AY)
This iconic bottling, which hails from mountaintop vines that produce less than 1.5 tons per acre, begins with aromas of roasted plum, clove and nutmeg. The blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc is framed by elegantly tense tannins, as baked plum, mace and cardamom flavors consume the midpalate, while the finish stays quite fresh. This epitomizes the definition of Cellar Selection. Drink 2021–2042. Matt Kettmann