1980 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon

Sweetly fruited and wide open on the nose with pretty currant fruit topped with notes of wood spice and a big black tea note. On the palate this is a touch lean, yet very fresh with nuanced bay leaf and cedar notes framing sweet black cherry fruits that really persist on the finish. Small scaled and a tad simple, this bottle is nonetheless at peak and shows excellent length on the finish. Elegant and complete. 91 points

1983 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon

Low and leafy on the nose with strong dill, herb, and cherry oak aromas. In the mouth this is a bit astringent and medicinal, showing some black cherry fruit supported by rough and rustic tannins. This is tough going with green tannins dominating the finish. Shows only modest ripeness. A bit like drinking chainmail. 83 points

1984 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Jammy on the nose with rich blackcurrant fruit over notes of leather, mint and cedar, turning fresher with air as it reveals more red fruit. Fresh, bright and tense in the mouth, this is still youthfully opulent with meaty hints and a chocolate edge framing the core black currant and black cherry fruit that has a gentle, lingering sweetness to it. Smooth, ripe and very well-balanced, this is at peak. 93 points

1985 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

A bit brothy on the nose with lots of toasty spices and sweet oak-derived aromas. Smooth and finely balanced in the mouth, this really exhibits lovely balance with a touch of leanness across the mid-palate that gives this a bit of Bordeaux character. The finish shows the classic black currant and black cherry fruits but is a bit on the short side. A bit tough and monolithic. 88 points

1987 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Intensely aromatic, this is layered with notes of leafy herbs, big black fruit, roasted coffee, cedar, leather and a hint of mushroom. Exploding on the palate in opulent style, this is rich and chewy packed with blackberry, black currant and black cherry fruits that remain ripe and supported by ripe tannins. The finish is long and fruit-driven. A seductive wine. 94 points