The 2016 Monte Bello is stunning, bursting from the glass with aromas of crushed currants, plums, charcoal, sweet spices, black truffle and rich soil. On the palate, it's full-bodied, immensely deep and very concentrated, with an ample core of dark fruit that almost entirely conceals its rich chassis of tannin. The finish is long, tensile and chalky. Eric Baugher observes that 2016 was a drought year but that the vines were less stressed than in 2015, thanks to Spring precipitation, and it wasn't necessary to irrigate. Summer saw wild temperature swings, and though it was below average in summation, some days were very warm. The final Monte Bello blend contains 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 6% Cabernet Franc, which represents a slight change from when I tasted it a year ago, though its profile remains very much the same. The 2016 checks in at 13.8% alcohol and pH 3.49. Cellar it for a decade and follow it for another three.
The 2016 Monte Bello, tasted from barrel and after its second blending, is shaping up to be another jewel of a wine. The flavor profile is on the darker side, and there is plenty of mid-palate sweetness, while the tannins are ripe and remarkably soft for such a young Monte Bello. It is clearly early days, but the 2016 appears to have a very bright future ahead of it.
The 2016 Monte Bello is stunningly beautiful. Medium in body, gracious and understated, the 2016 is a Monte Bello that is built on total finesse. Red cherry jam, raspberry jam, menthol and rose petal all grace this exquisite, vivid Monte Bello. All the elements are simply in the right place. The 2016 is not an obvious Monte Bello, but it is supremely gorgeous. At times, the sensation of tannins is non-existent. The persistent, crystalline finish is one thing of beauty.
Barrel sample – it will spend another year in barrel. 100% new American oak and usually 22 months.Total 60,000 bottles and half sold en primeur now. Darkest crimson with black core. So intense the fruit seems to engulf you. Deep, deeply sweet with that American oak spice. Thickly sweetly textured but the tannins are very fine. Last year of the drought so very small yields. Dark and pure and overwhelming in its purity. A beautiful baby. Fresh on the finish, remarkably. Drink between 2022-2040.