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    Wine Spectator Score

    87

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  • RP: 93

    Robert Parker Score

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  • ST: 86

    Stephen Tanzer Score

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  • JR: 80

    Jancis Robinson Score

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Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate 1998

Winemaker's Notes:

Wine Advocate # 142 Aug 2002 Robert Parker 93 Drink 2002 - 2014 The 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (13,000 cases) will disprove all the naysayers about how bad the vintage was in the North Coast. It possesses an opaque ruby/purple color, a gorgeous perfume of loamy soil, new saddle leather, chocolate, and black cherry and black currant fruit, full body, and ripe tannin in the finish. As it sits in the glass, notes of cedar and spice box also emerge. Although more evolved than most Montelena Cabernets are at age 4, there is no doubting that it will still provide considerable pleasure at age 15 or 16. Kudos to the Barretts for producing this impressive 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the vintage's few stars. The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon remains one of California's most remarkable Cabernets. I have been following it since the early seventies, and even the most difficult vintages are still drinking beautifully. The home vineyard is so consistent that even in vintages such as 1989 and 1998, this wine is far better than its competition.

Chateau Montelena Winery:
Chateau Montelena's rich history began on a chilly fall morning when Alfred L. Tubbs spaded over and inspected the soil where he thought of planting estate vineyards. He'd heard the Napa Valley was the best place to grow grapes in California. A deal was struck and in January of 1882 the San Francisco entrepreneur owned 254 acres of rugged land just two miles north of Calistoga at the base of Mo... Read more
Chateau Montelena's rich history began on a chilly fall morning when Alfred L. Tubbs spaded over and inspected the soil where he thought of planting estate vineyards. He'd heard the Napa Valley was the best place to grow grapes in California. A deal was struck and in January of 1882 the San Francisco entrepreneur owned 254 acres of rugged land just two miles north of Calistoga at the base of Mount Saint Helena. The soils are well drained, stony and loose – perfect for the vine cuttings he would plant. It took less than a decade to turn his dream into reality. First Tubbs planted his vineyards, then he built his Chateau, and in 1886 he imported a French-born winemaker. By 1896 his winery, christened Chateau Montelena (a contracted form of Mount Saint Helena), was the seventh largest in the Napa Valley. The next chapter began with the renaissance of Chateau Montelena Winery and the Estate vineyard. Under the leadership of Jim Barrett, the vineyard was cleared and replanted, and the Chateau outfitted with modern winemaking equipment. He assembled a team to oversee the vineyard and winemaking, then grew and contracted for the highest-quality grapes in the Napa Valley. In 1972 wines were made for the first time. Decades later, this celebrated family-owned winery continues to thrive with Jim Barrett at the helm. The Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Montelena Estate Zinfandel are grown in one of the world's most unique winegrowing properties. The Estate vineyard is comprised of varied terrain, from flat to steep hillsides. The vineyard gently slopes downward towards its base, where a small patch of sedimentary soil was deposited by the settling of an ancient ocean or lake. Read less

Editorial Reviews for Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065226,076
4.00 5
Vintage: 2010 07/18/2013

Very fragrant with an early note of lychee followed by very clear and pure fruit that shows notes of lemon verbena, crushed stone and orange tinged citrus fruits over a light base of oak spice and butter. Smooth and polished on entry, this quickly gains focus and shows off a bit of a steely edge to the mineral infused crisp apple and peach flavors on the palate. the oak is very well integrated and helps frame the fruit well adding a lightly spice on the backend. Besides a little bitter spice and a touch of warmth there is surprisingly little to be found on the finish. Perhaps that will come with a bit more age. 89pts


Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065226,076
4.50 5
Vintage: 1999 06/01/2009

This is very young and still heavily marked by oak on the nose with a fudgy quality that detracts from the rich, jammy fruit. In the mouth this has great balance with good mineral cut on the finish but the wood intrudes here as well offering a bit of bitter tannin on the finale that needs several years to resolve itself. Nothing wrong here just too young. Give this another 5 years or so and it should reveal much better definition to the fruit. 91pts.


Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065226,076
4.00 5
Vintage: 1994 05/14/2013

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


Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065226,076
4.00 5
Vintage: 1992 05/14/2013

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


Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065226,076
4.50 5
Vintage: 1991 01/26/2010

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


Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065226,076
4.50 5
Vintage: 1990 06/01/2009

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


Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065226,076
1.50 5
Vintage: 1989 05/14/2013

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


1 2

Member Reviews for Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate

Add your review
Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065226,076
4.50 5
Vintage: 2010 07/18/2013

Four and a half glasses


Snooth User: InWineTruth
2201061,634
3.00 5
Vintage: 2010 10/24/2012

Bright, green-gold hue with green pear and citrus; racy flavor notes of pear, green apple and lime carried to a clean & moderate finish.


Snooth User: VegasOenophile
20275912,198
3.50 5
Vintage: 2010 05/17/2013

Subtle nose of peach and citrus. Vibrant acid on the palate giving it a nice freshness. Citrus driven flavors with nice minerality and is juicy, yet crisp. 88 pts. 5/9/13 at winery


Snooth User: vin0vin0
3578087,200
4.50 5
Vintage: 2009 11/16/2012

First tried this at a tasting at the Chateau in August and ordered two bottles to be delivered. Finally arrived after the hot weather broke and the wait was well worth it. First impressions were of creamy lemon, soft grapefruit, touch of lime and extreme crispness. Fantastic balance between the fruit, alcohol and acid very much like a Grand Cru Burgundy.


Snooth User: VegasOenophile
20275912,198
4.50 5
Vintage: 2009 05/17/2013

Rich, elegant nose. Round and rich with cassis, cherry and currant fruit. Some licorice notes with creme de cassis and light camphor aromas. Richly textured wine with great structure. Approachable now, yet can easily age nicely. Round tannins. Flavors of cassis and kirsch with hints of graphite, violet and lavender. Very lush and nice. 91 pts. 5/9/13 at winery


Snooth User: grbaKKy
601103139
4.00 5
Vintage: 2007 01/23/2011

hints of blackberry... bold but very mellow.


Snooth User: kwistie
419154103
4.00 5
Vintage: 2007 12/30/2010

Long legs. Well made. Strong licorice and cherries. A good cab. Let it breathe.


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External Reviews for Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate

External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
Vintage: 2012 11/04/2014

Montelenas 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate wraps around the palate with serious depth. Even with all of its intensity, the 2009 has a silkiness that makes it incredibly delicious at this early stage. Red berries, flowers, tobacco and sweet herbs all flesh out on the generous, radiant finish. While many 2009s are a bit tight today, Montelenas 2009 Estate is showing very nicely, although it is keeping some cards close to the vest. I imagine the 2009 will start to enter its prime drinking window around age 8-10 and drink well for at least another decade beyond that. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029. - Robert Parker 93+ Points(bottled in December of 2011): Good red-ruby. Highly perfumed aromas of black cherry and menthol lifted by rose and spice oils. Suave, pure and vibrant, with red berry and spice flavors lifted by a pungent minty quality. Nothing black fruit about this vintage. Finishes with fine-grained, rather silky tannins and terrific energy. Less forbidding at this young stage than many recent vintages of this wine, and in a distinctly food-friendly style. This wine benefited dramatically from its final months in barrel. - Stephen Tanzer 93 PointsTight, intense and focused, this has a Bordeaux-like austerity, with a crushed rock and cedar overlay. Featuring a dense if murky mix of leafy berry, dried herb, sage and tobacco leaf. Best from 2014 through 2022. 7,104 cases made. JL - Wine Spectator Magazine 87 Points


External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
Vintage: 2011 09/20/2015

Nose: Notes of strawberry, rhubarb, and vanilla jump out of the glass, closely followed by lavender, bay laurel, and allspice that gradually increases in intensity as the wine breathes. Palate: The rich minerality is balanced by ripe raspberry and earth, all of which are tied together by silky, fine tannins that frame and enhance the soft texture, rather than overwhelm it. Finish: Almost Bordelaise in its subtlety and grace, with hints of cranberry, mint, and cocoa. Vintage Weather: 2011 was the most enigmatic in the string of three cool vintages beginning in 2009, as warm weather teased us for much of the season but never permanently settled in. By April, we had an inkling that a late harvest was on the horizon – everything from the flowers, insects, and trees here on the Estate were weeks behind in their life cycles. July arrived and a cautious sense of optimism materialized along with some sorely missed sunshine; however, the cold nights continued to persist, the fog lingered, and the heat from the Nevada desert stayed far, far away.


External Review
Source: Premium Wine & Spirits
Vintage: 2010 11/15/2013

Pale bright yellow. Complex, brisk aromas of musky pineapple, medicinal herbs, white pepper and licorice; hardly your typical California chardonnay! At once dense and penetrating, with a strong spine of acidity and some unabsorbed SO2 currently hardening the middle palate. This rather uncompromising no-malolactic chardonnay displays a serious structure for aging, and will probably need five to seven years to soften up and come into harmony. Assistant winemaker Matthew Crafton noted that in the cool growing season of 2010 it was a challenge to ripen chardonnay in cooler sites in Napa Valley.


External Review
Vintage: 2010 02/04/2013

Complex layers of black fruits through the mid palate, with good barrel spice underlayment throughout, are nicely complemented by bright red fruit on the finish.


External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
Vintage: 2010 01/23/2014

Good bright red. Perfumed, rather cool aromas of cassis, menthol, fresh herbs, flowers, anise and fennel. Juicy, spicy and tight but not hard, with a pungent core of acidity and an impression of briary, earthy minerality giving the wine plenty of personality. This firmly tannic cabernet smells a bit raw in the way of a young barrel sample. "Not the sun-baked fruit of 2009," noted assistant winemaker Crafton. "It was hard to get superripeness in 2010." - Stephen Tanzer 88-90 Points Dense and chewy, if a bit unbridled, with a core of dark berry, licorice, crushed rock, dried herb and toasty cedar. Best to give this one time in the cellar. Best from 2015 through 2026. 21,963 cases made. -JL The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is an attractive, supple wine made from 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Round and easygoing, it is ideal to gulp down with a charred piece of rare beef. There are no hard edges in this 2010, and it appears...


External Review
Vintage: 2010 11/08/2012

This wine has excellent mouthfeel with big full texture and a mouthcoating creaminess that nicely complements the white stone fruit (nectarine and peach) and slight green apple fruit flavors. On the finish, look for a pleasantly subtle marzipan nuttiness.


External Review
Vintage: 2010 01/06/2013

The 2010 Chardonnay is quite a bit fresher and more linear than the 2009, partly because of the length of the growing season, partly because it is a year younger. Slate, minerals, crushed rocks and grapefruit linger on the precise, crystalline finish. Thi


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All Prices

Shipping to:

Wine Advocate # 142 Aug 2002 Robert Parker 93 Drink 2002 - 2014 The 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (13,000 cases) will disprove all the naysayers about how bad the vintage was in the North Coast. It possesses an opaque ruby/purple color, a gorgeous perfume of loamy soil, new saddle leather, chocolate, and black cherry and black currant fruit, full body, and ripe tannin in the finish. As it sits in the glass, notes of cedar and spice box also emerge. Although more evolved than most Montelena Cabernets are at age 4, there is no doubting that it will still provide considerable pleasure at age 15 or 16. Kudos to the Barretts for producing this impressive 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the vintage's few stars. The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon remains one of California's most remarkable Cabernets. I have been following it since the early seventies, and even the most difficult vintages are still drinking beautifully. The home vineyard is so consistent that even in vintages such as 1989 and 1998, this wine is far better than its competition.

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