A Calistoga Classic

Belated notes from a Chateau Montelena Dinner





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


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Chateau Montelena Cabernet Tasting

1.
Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1978)
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2.
Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1980)
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3.
Château Montelena Estate Cab la Costa Wine Co (1983)
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4.
Château Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Faded Bin-Soiled Label Depressed Cork (1984)
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5.
Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1985)
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6.
Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley (1987)
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7.
Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1989)
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8.
Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1990)
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9.
Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1991)
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10.
Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1992)
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11.
Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1994)
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Comments

  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 2,743

    I've hedged my bets for my kids' birth year bottles: Each one has a Dunn Howell Mountain and a Montelena Estate. Both are 90+ vintages, so I figure that odds are good that if the Dunn isn't ready yet, the Montelena won't have faded, and if the Montelena has faded, the Dunn will be entering its drinking window. Oldest Montelena I have had to date was 10 years and it was singing.

    May 14, 2013 at 4:32 PM


  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 4,728

    Wow, what an evening that was. Thank your for the excellent report. I wish I had even a single one of Montelena's Estate bottlings in my cellar. I guess there is a way to fix that.

    May 14, 2013 at 4:49 PM


  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 2,743

    Emark, I bought an extra of each from BPWine. If they are out, let me know. We do intend to drink one of each before the kids turn 21. I understand there's a Nascar race here every year and you might be in town... perhaps that sampling could be timed to give you a chance to taste them.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:11 AM


  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 4,728

    That's very gracious of you, Fox. I do plan on continuing to visit Sonoma for NASCAR. The weekend of June 21-23 is the next event. Don't forget, though, some time back you also promised to let me try some of your awesome sounding Zinfandel treasure. I certainly have not forgotten. :-)

    May 15, 2013 at 1:31 PM


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