A worthy successor to the profound 2013 and the fruit of the earliest harvest on record at this address, the 2014 Monte Bello is still quite youthfully expressive, wafting from the glass with an exuberant bouquet of minty dark berries, plums, black cherries, cigar box and a nicely integrated framing of new oak. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, deep and intense, with a rich chassis of structuring tannins, which are currently largely concealed in a succulent core of fruit, and bright balancing acids. In profile, it's structurally more open-knit and giving than the massive 2013, and I suspect it will reach its plateau sooner, but it should enjoy over three decades of longevity. The blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, and it attained 13.5% natural alcohol. "The drought had a positive effect on concentration," observed winemaker Eric Baugher when we corresponded shortly after harvest, adding that "the wines are opaque in color, with rich tannins and marvellous fruit." Four years later, that remains an accurate characterization of the 2014 Monte Bello. 97/100.
Antonio Galloni's Vinous.com: 96/100 The 2014 Monte Bello is bright, precise and finely sculpted throughout, with a slightly more reddish leaning flavor profile than is found in some of the surrounding vintages. In 2014, Monte Bello is built on bright, pulsating acidity and energy. Relative to recent vintages such as 2012, 2013 and 2015, the 2014 is a bit compact and tightly wound. The slightly nervous style is likely to require at least a decade to be fully appreciated. In 2014, the blend is more typical of Monte Bello than the Cabernet-dominated 2013, with a greater role for Merlot and other complementary grapes.
JebDunnuck.com: 97/100 The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello checks in as 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc. A much deeper, richer wine compared to the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, it offers incredible notes of crème de cassis, vanilla bean, tobacco leaf, and scorched earth. Rich, full-bodied, and concentrated, with moderate acidity and ripe yet present tannin, it's going to drink nicely with just short-term cellaring yet shine for two decades or more. It has sensational purity, balance, and elegance.