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Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate 1998
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.
I tried this at the beginning of a vertical montelena tasting. It started out weak, but when I returned to it at the end of the tasting it was fantastic. It tasted like what I envision aged cab to taste like.
External Reviews for Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate
By the standards of Bo and Jim Barrett, the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (14.4% alcohol) is a relatively flamboyant effort. Its opaque purple color is followed by a gloriously pure nose of creme de cassis, licorice, earth, truffles, and flowers. Full-bodied, powerful, and rich, with high tannin as well as concentration, it is somewhat accessible, but will be even better after 4-6 years of bottle age. It should drink beautifully for 25-30 years.
Bright ruby-red. Sweet aromas of black cherry, flowers, menthol and creosote. Supple, sweet and fine-grained, though not especially nuanced for this wine. Strong note of chocolate. Finishes with a fairly fine dusting of tannins and lingering notes of cherry and licorice. This seems a bit less vibrant than it was from barrel a year ago. Barrett noted that the December 2005 bottling date was quite late for this wine, and my sample had not yet recovered.
A classic Napa Valley Cabernet, the '96 Montelena makes a succinct and supple statement, then expands on it to juicy and delicious depths. The aroma is bright and clean, balancing scents of black currants and lead pencil. Then it builds on the palate with a powerful intensity, a full-bore ripeness without excess weight. In fact, there's nothing extraneous, nothing to get in the way of the beauty of the wine itself, round as a dark plum, juicy as a currant. The elegant expression lasts on the palate; long after swallowing, the juiciness keeps emerging out if the tannin. More of the wine will emerge as it ages, though it is already a satisfying match for a juicy veal chop.
Bright medium ruby. Medicinal aromas of crushed cassis, blackberry syrup, bitter chocolate and licorice; I might have picked this as Latour from the nose. Then almost surprisingly sweet and silky in the mouth; comes across as more pliant than the 2004 but with more acidity. This demonstrates less obvious concentration and power but boasts lovely balance and aromatic persistence. With less of the medicinal licorice and tarry quality on the end, this may well develop "naturally," as Barrett predicts.
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 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is one of Bo Barrett's finest efforts. While tightly knit, 24 hours of aeration reveals its upside potential. Dense ruby/purple with a nose of crushed rocks intermixed with creme de cassis and a hint of licorice, this full-bodied, pure, deep offering will be at its peak between 2010-2025. It is a blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Cabernet Franc that came in at 14.1% alcohol.
The inky purple 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate offers up abundant quantities of sweet earth/loamy soil notes intermixed with black cherry and black currant fruit as well as a floral characteristic. There is superb fruit concentration in addition to a heady blueberry/blackberry component in this effort. Again, these wines need plenty of time to reveal all their attributes, but at the moment, I would be hard pressed to say it's better than the 2003 or 2002. It should be ready to drink in about five years and last for 25 or more.
Food Pairings for Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate
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