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Ridge Monte Bello: Bordeaux equivalent?

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:35 pm
by Curt Cash
Hello all, first post. Really enjoying Jeff Leve's reviews on wines I like, and have grown to trust him. Currently my favorite affordable wine is Ridge's Monte Bello. I keep reading how, as far as California Cabs go, this is the most like a Bordeaux, but I've never had a Bordeaux like this.

I would say Bordeaux is my second-favorite style of wine and I appreciate the earthiness, minerality, lower alcohol, and lack of sugar, but I find in general they have less "flavor" than a good CA Cab. I've been trying the Leovilles recently and could almost see the Monte Bello comparison with a good Las Cases, but still, they're quite different.

So... I'm dying to try a Bordeaux that's like the Monte Bello (I know this is backwards -- the Monte Bello is like a Bordeaux, not the other way around, but I'd like to see what they mean). Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Curt

Re: Ridge Monte Bello: Bordeaux equivalent?

Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:29 am
by Jeff Leve
Thanks for the post Curt. I think many Left Bank wines will do the job for. I might look for slightly less ripe vintages, maybe 2008 or 2006. Not that those are the best years for the Left Bank, but they are good and lower in alcohol.

If you have specific names you are thinking of, please let me know which Bordeaux Chateau you're considering, or that you have tasted previously.

Re: Ridge Monte Bello: Bordeaux equivalent?

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:45 am
by Curt Cash
Thanks for the reply; the vintage info is helpful. I was hoping you or anyone so inclined could be more specific.

As I mentioned, I've tried some Leovilles recently (2003 Las Cases and 2003 Barton), and I've had a lot of under-$50 Left Bank wines, but to me they're definitely all a different style than anything I've had from California.

Can you finish the sentence, "That Monte Bello reminded me of (insert Year/Chateau here)"?

Thanks!

Re: Ridge Monte Bello: Bordeaux equivalent?

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:21 am
by laurent gibet
That Monte Bello 1996 reminded me of Lafite-Rothschild 1996 (june 2001 tasting)

That Monte Bello 1998 reminded me of an excellent Pauillac 1998 (august 2006 tasting)

Re: Ridge Monte Bello: Bordeaux equivalent?

Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:53 am
by Curt Cash
Thanks Laurent, I was hoping for specifics... unfortunately, at $1,000/bottle, I doubt I'll ever try that Rothschild! But I'm glad I now know to zero-in on Pauillacs, and specially '06 and '08s.

If anyone else has specific suggestions, please chime in.

Re: Ridge Monte Bello: Bordeaux equivalent?

Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:16 am
by Jeff Leve
Thanks Laurent for chiming in! Do you think that perhaps Leoville Barton might work? 2005, 2006, 2009 or 2010?

It's probably close in price as well. Chase, have you had that wine?

Re: Ridge Monte Bello: Bordeaux equivalent?

Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:42 pm
by laurent gibet
Jeff Leve wrote:Thanks Laurent for chiming in! Do you think that perhaps Leoville Barton might work? 2005, 2006, 2009 or 2010?

It's probably close in price as well. Chase, have you had that wine?
Maybe.
I had a promising Léoville-Barton 2000 a few weeks ago : it still needs 10 years of cellaring ...
Léoville-Poyferré might fit too ...

Re: Ridge Monte Bello: Bordeaux equivalent?

Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:24 pm
by Jeff Leve
Like you, I usually prefer Leoville Poyferre. But because it's a more sensuous, rounder wine than Ridge, I settled on Leoville Barton.

Re: Ridge Monte Bello: Bordeaux equivalent?

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:33 am
by Curt Cash
I just ordered a '94 Leoville Barton. Not a highly rated vintage, but it was a great price. If nothing else, it should be ready to drink.

Looking forward to trying a Leoville Poyferre soon.

Re: Ridge Monte Bello: Bordeaux equivalent?

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:49 pm
by Howard Cooper
I think some of your problem could be age and vintage. 2003 is a kind of weird Bordeaux vintage. Try 2001 Ducru Beaucaillou, 2005 Domaine de Chevalier, some good 1996 Bordeaux, etc. I love Monte Bello and I think a good Ducru would be an interesting comparison. I have gotten the 2001 for around $100 in the past year or so.

Re: Ridge Monte Bello: Bordeaux equivalent?

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:27 pm
by Curt Cash
Thank you Howard, great info! I'll pursue these. Also good to know about the 2003s -- they seemed like a good mix of reasonable price and drinkability. I just picked up a '94 Leoville Barton (which isn't very highly rated) and 2006 Leoville Poyferre, which is probably nowhere near ready but I wanted to try Jeff Leve's suggestion of the vintage. I know I need to pony up and try some better years.

As a side note, I'm drinking a glass of 2005 Monte Bello right now; it is NOT ready yet, but Jeff already told us that.