The 2008 Monte Bello is striking. It is a decidedly muscular Monte Bello endowed with layers of dark fruit. Tobacco, mint, asphalt and crushed rocks develop in the glass, adding tons of complexity and finesse. A long, saline finish rounds things out beautifully. In 2008 the cold growing season stretched into October and the wine definitely has the feel of a cool vintage. The spring frost and the second year of drought conditions lowered yields significantly. Yields were just 1.25 tons per acre on average, but some of the older vineyards came in at less than 1 ton per acre. The balance of fruit, tannin and structure is simply extraordinary, but the wine needs time, most likely lots of it. In 2008 the blend is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038.
"The 2010 Lytton Springs (67% Zinfandel, 23% Petite Sirah, 7% Carignane and 3% Mataro) is fascinating because it seems to have handled the heat spikes far better than the Geyserville. This is first and foremost Lytton Springs, and a product of the 2010 vintage second. Firm tannins frame an expressive core of dark red cherries, flowers and sweet herbs. The inner perfume of Zinfandel resonates on the finish. The 2010 needs time to soften, but it is quite beautiful. Lytton Spring is a much larger site than Geyserville, the choices for lots are much greater, which affords the winemaking team a great deal of flexibility in crafting the final blends. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030. 93+"
Just because a wine is made in the spirit of fun, that doesn’t mean it can’t also be great to drink! In fact, this lightly sweet “fun wine” recently copped a 91 point score from critic Robert Parker. Made from 100% Moscato d’Asti grapes gently tank fermented to preserve the super-fresh fruit, the 2011 Rinaldi Moscato d'Asti Bug Juice weighs in at a mere 6% alcohol. Notes of spring flowers, fresh cut pineapple, honeysuckle, and stone fruits float lightly and briskly over the palate. Great by itself, or with a hunk of your favorite Italian cheese.
The full-bodied, powerful, pure 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is another outstanding effort revealing notes of spring flowers, toasty oak, creme de cassis, licorice, and graphite. One would have to go back to the 1990, 1991, 2001, or 2002 to find a Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve this impressive. The 2007 should evolve for 20-25 years.