|U.S.A.||2008||Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello, Ridge Vineyards||BT||1 \ 0||12||2,400.00||12||12||266.66666666667||97.10||97.10||Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello, Ridge||0.75||10|
|Wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.|
The 2008 Monte Bello is striking. It is a decidedly muscular Monte Bello endowed with layers of dark fruit. Tobacco, mint, asphalt and crushed rocks develop in the glass, adding tons of complexity and finesse. A long, saline finish rounds things out beautifully. In 2008 the cold growing season stretched into October and the wine definitely has the feel of a cool vintage. The spring frost and the second year of drought conditions lowered yields significantly. Yields were just 1.25 tons per acre on average, but some of the older vineyards came in at less than 1 ton per acre. The balance of fruit, tannin and structure is simply extraordinary, but the wine needs time, most likely lots of it. In 2008 the blend is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038.
The 2008 Monte Bello is marked by the drought vintage, which not only made a more concentrated crop but also deprived the blend of all supporting varieties, as only Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot handled the dry conditions sufficiently gracefully to make the final cut. At age ten, this muscular Monte Bello is finally beginning to unwind, offering up rich aromas of black cherry, cassis, dried mountain laurel, loamy soil and burning embers. On the palate, it's full-bodied, expansive and powerful, its generous, sweetly fruited attack giving way to a taut, firm mid-palate that doesn't show as much finesse as the 2010 or 2012, concluding with a long, stony finish. Baugher observes that in its youth, the 2008 was "monolithic and more angular—a mouthful of tannin." A decade later, it's beginning to soften, but it still requires another 5 or 6 years of bottle age.