I had missed the first chance to taste these wines back in March, and I was determined not to let the only remaining opportunity pass me by. It's not everyday you get to taste Monte Bello with
Mr. Ridge himself (above).
Each year Paul Draper leads a tasting of the newest vintage of Monte Bello - the wine that is being offered as futures - and pours earlier vintages alongside. These unique tastings give additional insight into the nature of the vintages, the wine making process, and impressions of the wine from the wine maker himself. For those of us who love this wine, and collect it, this is a little slice of heaven.
The weather cooperated, and I cruised south from Napa, arriving shortly before noon. I had hoped to reach the Lower winery while the early tasting at the Upper was in full swing, allowing me a bit of time to say hello and make a few purchases. Happily, things worked out exactly as planned. I snagged a couple of three liter bottles of 1997 Geyserville, and a few other goodies, and primed my palate with a glass of Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay. Although I anticipated seeing a few familiar faces, it was an unexpected pleasure to run into
Henry Harris and his wife Lauren. They were gracious enough to share their picnic lunch with me, as well as a glass of the aforementioned Geezer. I kicked in a bottle of the
1997 Lytton Estate Grenache. It was just as delicious as when I had last tasted at Rhone Rangers.
I thanked my companions and headed up the road to the top of Monte Bello Ridge. I was ready for some Cabernet.
The wines were poured in flights of two. These notes were from one to two ounce pours from freshly opened
Label ® Ridge Vineyards