• WA: 90

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    95-100

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  • JR: 75

    Jancis Robinson Score

    15

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  • RP: 90

    Robert Parker Score

    90

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  • WE: 90

    Wine Enthusiast Score

    90

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Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley 2003

Winemaker's Notes:

2003 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet 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. I have most Montelena Cabernets in my cellar (one of my friends has all of them), but at the end of the tasting, just to prove what aging potential these wines have, we did a blind tasting of a wine I rated 93 and guessed to be a very ripe year such as 1984 or 1990. It turned out to be the 1976 Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast, an amazingly rich wine offering loads of cedar, spice box, and mature Cabernet flavors, a wonderful, sweet, fleshy mid-palate, and beautiful ripeness in the finish. This is another example of why Chateau Montelena over the last thirty years has been the most consistently fine producer of top-flight, world-class Napa Cabernet Sauvignon!Wine Advocate #168 (Dec 2006) 93-95 pts (ST) 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. Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, May/Jun 05 This is a California Wine.

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

Member Reviews for Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley

Add your review
Snooth User: jamlani
630288610
4.50 5
02/02/2013

Four and a half glasses


External Reviews for Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley

External Review
Source: JJ Buckley Fine Wines
11/14/2013

A big wine from the Barrett family (14.2% alcohol) this 2003 exhibits earthy black currant fruit the restrained but intense Montelena style full body good richness and impeccable balance purity and density. The color is a healthy dark ruby/purple and the wine shows lots of cassis. In spite of the restrained aromatics the palate is rich full-bodied substantial and persuasive. This 2003 is approachable now but it will be even more gorgeous 15 20 and 25 years from now. This is a heritage wine from this great estate in northern Napa Valley. 94+ - RP Robert Parkers Wine Advocate.


External Review
Source: Premier Wine & Spirits
05/18/2011

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.


External Review
Source: Premier Wine & Spirits
05/18/2011

Quite rich and exotic, with complex, appealing flavors of cocoa puff, mocha, buttered cinnamon toast, blackberry granola and smoky cedar. This richness finishes drily, but the wine is very tannic, giving it a lockdown astringency. Needs time. Best after 2011 through 2015 or so.


External Review
Source: Premier Wine & Spirits
05/18/2011

The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a remarkably rich but still backward red. It will benefit from 5-8 more years of cellaring, and should last for three decades. The full-bodied, intense, dense ruby/purple-colored 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate reveals a closed, reticent bouquet of minerals, crème de cassis, and spice. This rich, full-bodied effort should be going strong 20-30 years from now.


External Review
Source: Premier Wine & Spirits
05/18/2011

Good deep ruby-red. Complex aromas of currant, licorice, graphite, bitter chocolate, smoked meat, tobacco and brown spices. Began juicy, penetrating and quite youthfully unevolved, but aeration brought a suppler, rounder texture and more generosity to this impressively structured wine. Complicating notes of bitter cherry, menthol and minerals. This will require a good eight to ten years of aging but the substantial tannins are sweet and lush. Very long, pure and powerful on the finish.


External Review
Source: Premier Wine & Spirits
05/18/2011

Bright-ruby-red. Blackberry, cassis and boysenberry aromas complemented by licorice, violet, menthol and bitter chocolate. Juicy, intensely flavored and quite fresh but a bit youthfully disjointed, with a firm tannin/acid spice supporting the crushed dark berry and menthol flavors. The wine's substantial tannins will need time to knit, but this wine retains good aromatic freshness.


External Review
Source: Premier Wine & Spirits
05/18/2011

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.


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2003 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet 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. I have most Montelena Cabernets in my cellar (one of my friends has all of them), but at the end of the tasting, just to prove what aging potential these wines have, we did a blind tasting of a wine I rated 93 and guessed to be a very ripe year such as 1984 or 1990. It turned out to be the 1976 Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast, an amazingly rich wine offering loads of cedar, spice box, and mature Cabernet flavors, a wonderful, sweet, fleshy mid-palate, and beautiful ripeness in the finish. This is another example of why Chateau Montelena over the last thirty years has been the most consistently fine producer of top-flight, world-class Napa Cabernet Sauvignon!Wine Advocate #168 (Dec 2006) 93-95 pts (ST) 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. Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, May/Jun 05 This is a California Wine.

Closure: Cork


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