Composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, the 2005 Monte Bello should be one of the all-time greats made at this estate. It offers a dense purple color, an extraordinary bouquet of spring flowers, blueberries, creme de cassis, black fruits, and a hint of oak. It also has an unctuous texture. As with all rich wines, the oak component plays a complementary role in the wine's nuances. A seamless integration of acidity, wood, tannin, and alcohol is found in this rich, elegant, pure, dense beauty. There is a certain accessibility to the 2005 that is unusual by Monte Bello's standards, and it will age effortlessly for 25+a years.
While in a good year there's normally 4,000 cases of the Monte Bello, there was a scant 2,200 cases produced of the 2005 Monte Bello. Thick, massive, and concentrated with ample currants, lead pencil, licorice and chocolate aromas and flavors, this full-bodied beauty is just now at the early stages of adolescence, and has plenty of underlying tannic grip still present. It should hit full maturity in another 4-5 years and hold for 2-3 decades after that.
The 2005 Monte Bello is beginning to drink very well indeed, revealing complex aromas of sweet currant fruit, rich soil, cedar cigar box and sweet spices. With time in the glass, nuances of dark chocolate and loamy soil emerge too. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with fine-grained structuring tannins, the first signs of emerging savory nuance and a bright, beautifully focused finish. As it approaches age 13, the 2005 is still very youthful—indeed, this particular bottle was more reserved and taut than the last four or five that I've encountered—so there's certainly no rush to drink it. Cropped at just under one ton per acre, the 2005 is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc that attained 13.4% natural alcohol.