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Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley 2003
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.
Four and a half glasses
External Reviews for Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley
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.
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.
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.
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.
A great wine in the making, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (just under 10,000 cases produced) possesses a fragrant bouquet of sweet black currants, crushed rocks, earth and background oak. Full-bodied and dense, with Montelena's typical power, tannin and reserved nature, this is a big, rich, formidably endowed red that requires 4-5 years of cellaring. That in itself is atypical of this exuberant, flamboyant vintage. Given this cuvée's past history, this 2007 should age for 30+ years.
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 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.