• ST: 80

    Stephen Tanzer Score

    89-92

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  • WA: 89

    Wine Advocate Score

    89

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  • JR: 70

    Jancis Robinson Score

    14

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  • WS: 87

    Wine Spectator Score

    87

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Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley 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.

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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
Suggested Recipe Pairing presented by
Coconut Rice Sweet Potato Cheesecake

RiceSelect's creamy Arborio gets blended with sweet potato, coconut milk and vanilla to create this decadent cheesecake. Pairs well with Saunternes; a white dessert wine that has hints of coconut from aging in oak barrels.

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Member Reviews for Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley

Add your review
Snooth User: joshwoodward
129954234
4.50 5
05/15/2009

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.


Snooth User: razmaspaz
28350227
4.00 5
10/07/2008

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.


Snooth User: mhl
2815361
5.00 5
06/09/2007

Five glasses


External Reviews for Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley

External Review
Source: Premium Wine & Spirits
05/19/2011

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.


External Review
Source: Premium Wine & Spirits
05/19/2011

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.


External Review
Source: Premium Wine & Spirits
05/19/2011

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.


External Review
Source: Premium Wine & Spirits
05/19/2011

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.


External Review
Source: Premium Wine & Spirits
05/19/2011

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+.


External Review
Source: Premium Wine & Spirits
05/19/2011

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.


External Review
Source: Premium Wine & Spirits
05/19/2011

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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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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