Charge Date: May, 2021
Ship Date: March, 2023
Because of the unique growing conditions we experienced at Monte Bello in 2020 and our strict selection process, the total volume of 2020 Monte Bello will be significantly smaller than what we produce in an average year.
On rare occasions like this where the production size is below normal, we look at each member’s tenure in the Monte Bello Collector program to determine who will receive a futures allocation. Unfortunately, we will not be able to extend a futures offer to the entire membership this year. We are hopeful that the 2021 vintage, and subsequent vintages, will return to a more typical production size and that we will be able to extend a futures offer to everyone in the program in the coming years. *Please note that if you are among those that will not receive a 2020 allocation, you will still receive your yearly shipment of Estate wines from the Monte Bello vineyard in March of this year.
At the start of 2020, there were great prospects for a wet winter. After all, the Pacific Ocean’s El Niño condition was still intact. Once the 2019 vintage was finished, several large storms swept through California bringing heavy rain in November and December. It appeared that we would receive abundant rainfall. Sadly, as COVID-19 upended the world, winter seemed to fade, and the storm track dissipated. January and February were two of the driest months on record. The lack of rain kept cover crop growth sparse. In organic farming, a healthy cover crop provides a natural source of nutrients to the vines. The mild temperatures also prompted early bud-break, pushing growth ahead of schedule. That brought on early flowering that coincided with late spring storms that disrupted fruit set. While the late rains helped save this vintage, the impact on bloom reduced yields at most vineyards. Fortunately, cover crop growth accelerated, and the vineyard received its benefit. It was truly a miracle to get the late spring rain to carry the vines through a dry summer.
Fermentations were quick to start though several were slow to finish. The concentration of color and tannin, as a result of lower yields, was immediately apparent. Whole-berry fermentation, with pump-overs that were reduced from twice to once daily after an average of five days, helped manage extraction. After pressing, we sent about half to barrel to complete malolactic.
Our first assemblage tasting took place on February 25th and 26th. We considered forty-four lots for inclusion. As usual, all lots were tasted blind to identify those that most display Monte Bello character. During the first day of tasting, we chose ten blocks for the initial wine. Two were from Klein, the other eight from Torre and Perrone blocks. By the second day, we were able to include an additional eight lots. After blending, the wine has been returned to new barrels for the various components to integrate. Current varietal makeup is 82% cabernet sauvignon, 13% merlot, and 5% petit verdot. This makeup may change as ten other promising lots are considered at the second assemblage tasting scheduled for mid-May. While quantities will be lower than usual for 2020, quality is high, with much to look forward to as the new wine continues to develop in barrel.
375ml – $75
750ml – $145
1.5L – $293
3.0L – $650
6.0L – $1,300
Exclusive member pricing on Monte Bello futures is approximately 40% off the current vintage price. Each year we will remind you of your standing reservation; you may change, confirm, or cancel. Due to limited production, allocation increases will not be accepted with this vintage. Please be aware that if you choose to reduce your 2020 order, that quantity becomes your new standing allocation with no guarantee that you will be able to increase it with future vintages.
Due to COVID-related restrictions on large gatherings and for the health and safety of our members and staff, we will not be hosting our annual series of Assemblage Events at Monte Bello this year. If you normally pick up your wine at our events and have a 2018 futures order (purchased in 2019), you still have the option of picking up your wine at Monte Bello. We are open for appointment-based outdoor tastings and curbside pickups and have your 2018 futures order available for pickup, by appointment, beginning Tuesday, March 16th and can hold it at the winery for up to 60 days.