#77 of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2020
Opaque purple-ruby color. Ripe blackberry fruit, barrel spice, anise, violets, and crushed limestone. Opulent mountain fruits on entry, fennel, sweet oak, well-structured tannins, and firm acid. Powerful complexity and tremendous length to the finish.
100 Jeb Dunnuck
Pure perfection, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello is a sensational effort from this estate that should be snatched up by drinkers and collectors. Based on 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc that was brought up mostly in new American oak, this saturated purple-hued beauty is legendary Monte Bello in the making and has a stunning yet primordial bouquet of crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, graphite, chocolate, and chalky minerality. Full-bodied, incredibly powerful, and one of the most concentrated versions of this cuvée ever made (I’ve had most of them), it needs a solid decade of bottle age and will have 50-60 years of overall longevity. Despite the long drinking window, it offers plenty of pleasure even today. I followed this bottle for two days and it showed best right out of the gate, closing down and becoming more brooding and backward with air. It’s an incredible wine that I promise you won’t regret having in your cellar.
99 James Suckling
This shows incredible intensity and depth of blackberries, pine needles, blackcurrants and black olives. Conifer, too. Love the nose. Full-bodied with so many layers of fruit and very fine, creamy tannins. It goes on for minutes. Impressive density with such weightlessness. Superb wine. Drink in 2026 and onwards.
98 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
The 2017 Monte Bello is ultra powerful and concentrated, unfurling over the several days it was open to reveal rich cassis, roast plums, tar, aniseed and exotic spices. What sets the palate apart is its purity: though incredibly layered, it offers a kaleidoscopic journey from blackcurrant to tobacco and dried flowers, offering continual sparks of flavor long after the wine has been swallowed. Structurally, it has the firm but ripe tannins and seamless freshness to dictate a very long life in the cellar. This vintage is a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc.
96 Wine Spectator
Distinctive, with vibrant violet, juniper and anise notes out front, backed by a core of intense dark currant, plum and cherry fruit. Firmly grounded, showing serious cut and drive through the bay leaf– and sage-accented finish, which sports ample toast alongside the fruit and floral elements. A chiseled, ripped Cabernet for the cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2023 through 2040