Bottled in March of 2018 and a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, and the balance Cabernet Franc, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello offers a more streamlined, elegant, and ultra-classic style compared to the 2014 and 2015, which are slightly bigger, richer wines. Boasting a deep purple color and beautiful purity in its crème de cassis, blueberry, white flowers, and vanilla bean, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, silky tannins, and perfect balance. It doesn’t have the sheer depth of fruit of some of the blockbuster years, yet makes up for it with its incredible purity, poise, and balance. Relatively approachable for a Monte Bello, it’s still going to see its 30th birthday in fine form.
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 is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 6% Cabernet Franc, aged 18 months in 100% new oak (98% American and 2% French). It has a medium to deep ruby color and is youthfully coiled, slowly developing scents of dark chocolate, pencil shavings, cedar, loamy soil, dried flowers, licorice, blackcurrant and black cherry with red berry sparks and exotic spices. The palate is full-bodied and youthfully firm, slowly unfolding with mineral-tinged fruits. It has a frame of firm, pixelated tannins and seamlessly woven acidity, finishing very long and full of latent layers.
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.