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Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley 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.
RiceSelect's fragrant Jasmati® is blended with eggs, milk and fall's favorite spices, cinnamon and nutmeg, to create a delicious rice pudding, which is layered on top of fluffy cream cheese and abuttery pecan crust. Pairs well with a bold, tawny port with flavors of dried fruits, nuts, and spices.
Massive nose, with plum, black berries and a generous helping of dung. Light fruit, lots of aged leather. Probably at peak, but not over the hill. Medium body, silky tannins, light-medium acidity. Licorace, mushrooms.
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 Chardonnay Napa Valley
Good full ruby. Very pure flavors of cassis, blackberry and licorice. Dense, rich and pure, with quintessential cabernet flavors of cassis and licorice. Like a finer-grained, fleshier version of the classic but tightly wound 2001. As rich as it is, this also boasts terrific inner-palate energy. Carries a distinctly moderate 13.8% alcohol. Finishes with big but ripe tannins and superb length. This should age for 15 to 20 years.
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.
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.
While the 2002, which was quite extroverted right before bottling, has shut down, the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is still open-knit, although I suspect it will probably close down as well. It exhibits an opaque ruby/purple color along with a sweet, spicy nose of black currants, licorice, herbs, and damp earth. Rich and concentrated, it is the most accessible, and possibly the most elegant and French-oriented of the Cabernets produced between 2002 and 2004. This top-notch effort should be cellared for 2-3 years, and consumed over the following 20-25 years.
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+.
Bright ruby. Knockout perfumed nose combines cassis, spices and violet. Sweet, fine and smooth, with lovely density and purity of dark fruit flavor. This offers enticing inner-palate perfume and is sure to be a popular vintage for this bottling. Finishes with substantial but very fine tannins that hit the palate late. My sample did not yet include the 2% or so of Cabernet Franc that's likely to be added to this cuvee.
Good full, bright ruby color. High-toned, slightly sauvage aromas of exotic, liqueur-like berries, bitter chocolate, game and menthol; shows a distinctly candied aspect. Then superripe and very concentrated in the mouth, with slightly medicinal flavors of kirsch, chocolate and menthol. A bit drier and less suave in the middle palate than the 2001, and quite tannic today, in the style of so many 2002s. This will undoubtedly be filtered, noted Zacherle.
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