1990 Monte Bello

1990 Monte Bello

Wine Information

85% Cabernet sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot

95 Points – William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

Vintage

1990

Vineyard

Monte Bello

Appellation

Santa Cruz Mountains

Alcohol By Volume

13.5%

Winemaker Tasting Notes

Color: Warm brick-edged garnet

Nose: Complex, spicy. Cassis, blueberry, green and black peppercorns. Sweet mint, chocolate, dusty earth.

Palate: Perfect balance. Fresh, pungent cabernet fruit. Soft tannins, and a complex, lingering finish.

Vintage Notes

53 Tons from 48 Acres. Small, five-ton-capacity fermentors were used to handle these selective pickings; when harvest was over, in late October, there were ten individual Monte Bello wines. In addition, we held out and kept separate the first and second pressings from each lot, to provide further options for improving the final wine. Thirty to forty percent of the grapes were left unbroken as fermentation began. Even during fermentation, it was clear we had a particularly intense vintage on our hands. By January, it seemed possible this might be the finest since 1970. A majority of air-dried american oak was used in aging. Over eighty percent of the barrels were new, and the rest had been used for ten months with the ’89 Monte Bello. With this greater-than-usual amount of new and near-new wood, we monitored carefully to avoid over-oaking; The integration and balance achieved are characteristic of the finest Monte Bellos.

Growing Season

The 1990 Monte Bello growing season began late. In the Santa Cruz Mountains, where temperatures are moderated by the region’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean, this meant that set (fruit formation) was not complete until late June. As warm summer days ripened the fruit, cool nights helped maintain firm acidity. Harvest on the south-facing slopes was begun in early October; we moved on block by block as the grapes reached full maturity

Winemaking

Small, five-ton-capacity fermentors were used to handle these selective pickings; when harvest was over, in late October, there were ten individual Monte Bello wines. In addition, we held out and kept separate the first and second pressings from each lot, to provide further options for improving the final wine. Thirty to forty percent of the grapes were left unbroken as fermentation began.

Even during fermentation, it was clear we had a particularly intense vintage on our hands. By January, it seemed possible this might be the finest since1970. A majority of air-dried american oak was used in aging. Over eighty percent of the barrels were new, and the rest had been used for ten months with the ’89 Monte Bello. With this greater-than-usual amount of new and near-new wood, we monitored carefully to avoid over-oaking; The integration and balance achieved are characteristic of the finest Monte Bellos.

Press

The Wine Advocate (May 2018): 95 Points. “The 1990 Monte Bello is drinking beautifully, and while it can’t match the drama of the 1991 or the concentration of the 1992, it’s a superb vintage that’s long on complexity and character. The wine exhibits complex aromas of cassis, plums, cigar box, wood smoke and subtle grilled meat, framed by savory bass notes of rich soil. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, complete and layered, with rich, fine-grained structuring tannins and firm balancing acids. Exquisitely balanced, the 1992 is less marked by new oak than the 1991, perhaps because it spent a shorter time in barrel. The product of a long, even growing season and an October harvest, it’s a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot.” – William Kelley

Consumer Tasting Notes

Average Rating: 93.2

No. of Tasting Notes: 102

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