Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Editor at Snooth Happy to answer all your wine related questions.

Chateau Montelena Cabernet Tasting

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1978)
Comments: Rich with sweet notes of maderization this seems fairly evolved with linger red fruit tones and some light mineral and sand accents. In the mouth this is soft and rich with zesty acids and the remains of a once fairly aggressive structure lurking deep within the still rich berry fruit with notes of dried fruits, dates and figs, on the back end. Past peak but still a big, rich mouthful of wine. 91pts
Average price: $335.50 from 1 store
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2 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1980)
Comments: 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
Average price: $147.00 from 3 stores
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3 Château Montelena Estate Cab la Costa Wine Co (1983)
Comments: 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
Average price: $125.00 from 1 store
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4 Château Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Faded Bin-Soiled Label Depressed Cork (1984)
Comments: 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
Average price: $136.50 from 1 store
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5 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1985)
Comments: 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
Average price: $134.95 from 5 stores
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6 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley (1987)
Comments: Whoa doggie! This is great just to smell with it's core of rich, liquory black currant fruit edged with eucalyptus and sweet herb top notes. This is still youthful in the mouth but ready to go with a big, solid core of black currant fruit and just enough tannin still in residence to give the wine a slightly agressive edge but the depth here is just fabulous. Great length. this is monumental California Cabernet. 2009-2022 96pts
Average price: $269.65 from 2 stores
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7 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1989)
Comments: A little oxidized on the nose, with lots of earthy, leathery, mushroomy dried-out aromas. While the palate is rich and smooth, it offers flavors similar to those found on the nose with no nuance or detail, finishing abruptly on the short finish. Probably a bad bottle. 78 points
Average price: $135.64 from 2 stores
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8 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1990)
Comments: This is just classic Montelena with it's notes of seared black cassis mingled with spiced oak tones and a hint of green anise seed. In the mouth it's smooth and seamless with full, ripe round tannins and gentle hints of tomato leaf and herb framing the deep black fruit tones. Lovely wine and with a bright future. 92pts
Average price: $199.99 from 1 store
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9 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1991)
Comments: The nose on this is youthful and complex with lots of oak spice buffered by plenty of red and black fruits with a jammy edge to them. There are lovely complicating notes of wet horse, grilled peppers, leather and chalky soil adding to the bouquet. On the palate this is surprisingly elegant and composed with a fine, layered fell and deep flavors of black currant edged with smoke and earth. The backend is still a bit hard and feels a touch extracted but the balance to allow this to continue to improve is here and I expect this can only get better. 93pts
Average price: $190.55 from 5 stores
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10 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1992)
Comments: A bit dull on the nose with a hint of celery under lots of toasty spices, notes of burnt marshmallow and subtle black fruits. In the mouth this is intense and focused, and far fresher than one would guess from the nose. There's big fruit paired with big oak here, a little thick and astringent across the palate. This has a bit of a coarse edge to the rather long finish, but should still improve with time in the cellar. 91 points
Average price: $189.00 from 5 stores
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11 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate (1994)
Comments: Aromatically this remains coy, hinting at wood spice and licorice over a core of fine blue and black fruits. The aromatics carry over into the mouth, where this exhibits attractive spice notes over a palate that is as much about cedar and wood spice as it is about black raspberry and cherry fruit. There's a lot of dry tannin here to burn off, and there seems to be enough fruit to handle it, but it's a bit of an iffy proposition at this point based on this bottle. Based on track record, however, I expect this to pull itself together nicely by about 2018. 91 points
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