Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate 2001
We anticipated optimal crop yields, juice quality, fruit flavors and chemistry. And because this overall weather pattern essentially extended the growing season, we began harvest much later than average. But once we finally ripped into the red grapes there was a massive “tsunami” of them: Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot! A solid and steady picking schedule, with a daily crush of 13 to 40 tons, continued for 18 days. It was an awesome period of ideal weather and harvest activity, during which we took in an amazing 473 tons of fruit.
Good cherry, earth, and tovacco notes, but not showing much energy ten years later. Would recommend drinking now on this.
[PWJGT] Cassis, red fruit, just shy of being notable; but solid QPR **
Good, dry with light cinnamon and berry flavors. Short, enjoyable finish.
External Reviews for Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley the Montelena Estate
The dense purple-colored 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc) reveals a sweet perfume of black currants, an expansive, full-bodied palate, surprising elegance as well as accessibility, excellent purity, and a long, layered finish. It is a successful 2000 Cabernet to drink now and over the next 12-15 years.
The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, all from their old vineyards in Calistoga. This is a dense, ruby/purple-tinged wine with full body, and despite the softness of the general vintage, Montelena has plenty of structure. Like nearly every vintage of their top Cabernet Sauvignon, it will last for 25 or more years. The wine has sweet tannin in a broad, flavorful, concentrated style with plenty of black currant, licorice, and spice. The wine is beautifully textured, slightly more forward than most Montelena Cabernets tend to be. It is another beauty from probably the most consistent winery for Cabernet Sauvignon over the last three decades.
The powerful, concentrated 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (14.3% alcohol) exhibits aromas of black currant jam, tar, smoke, and forest floor. This opulent, rich 2003, while less flamboyant than the extroverted 2002, is deep, chewy, pure, and well-delineated. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025+.
The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, one of the most powerful Cabernets the Barretts have made, is reminiscent of the profound 1987. A blend of 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc, it tips the scales at 14.3% alcohol. The wine has a sensational nose of sweet creme de cassis liqueur intermixed with notes of beef blood, licorice, and underbrush. Full-bodied and more flamboyant than the more structured, muscular 2001, the 2002 is fleshier with more glycerin and higher alcohol. This chewy effort should be ready for prime-time drinking a few years ahead of the more rigid 2001. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2025.
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.
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.
Revealing sweeter tannin and a softer, riper, fuller-bodied style, the 2006 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a beautiful, classic wine with loads of berry fruit, an earthy character, and a spicy, pure, rich finish. The silkiness of the tannins suggest this 2006 will be drinkable in several years. It is another candidate for nearly two decades of aging. Chateau Montelena's sale to the owners of Bordeaux's well-known second-growth, Chateau Cos d'Estournel, fell through, no doubt because of the global economic crisis. It was unquestionably shocking that this Napa icon was on the block, and about to be sold to, of all people, the French, who Montelena had defeated in the famous Steven Spurrier tasting of 1976. Tasting through the wines with the ever reliable Bo Barrett is always a lesson in candor and honesty.