The 1994 Monte Bello from Ridge Vineyards showed well with its old-school nose of mulberry, eucalyptus and touches of truffle, shoe leather notes emerging with time. The palate is beautifully balanced and refined, with candied red fruit, though a touch of dryness on the finish suggests it will not improve with bottle age. On the other hand, I cannot see any rapid decline based on this example, though it is not the best Monte Bello I have tasted and was trounced by the superlative 1991 I encountered just a month later.
Anticipated maturity: 2022-2030
Robert Parker 90
“The 1994 Monte Bello is showing very well, offering up a fully mature bouquet of ripe currant fruit, brown sugar, tea leaf, black truffles and toasty American oak. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied and open-knit, with a sweet core of fruit, bright acids and somewhat drying tannins that assert themselves on the finish. The 1994’s structure seems to have developed quite rapidly, and despite the pedigree of the vintage (which produced some extraordinary wines on the North Coast), this would appear to be a rare example of a Monte Bello that’s beginning to ride into the sunset.”
Anticipated maturity: 2000-2020