External Reviews for Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley
There are 10,200 cases of the remarkable 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate. Opaque purple-colored with a dense, chewy, full-bodied personality, it displays abundant cassis, mineral, and earth notes. This brilliantly made, super-concentrated, pure, blockbuster possesses sweet tannin as well as a terrific finish. Having added additional weight since last year, this sumptuous, multilayered, profoundly concentrated Cabernet contains 14% alcohol. It is a candidate for 25-30 years of longevity. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2030.
Good deep medium ruby. Very complex nose combines cassis, black cherry, plum, smoked meat, dark chocolate, Cuban tobacco and a hint of menthol. Youthfully unevolved and primary yet broad and pliant; offers impressive texture and stuffing for a young Montelena cabernet. Superripe hints of smoked meat and leather. Finishes with very lush tannins and strong dark berry flavor. The pH here is higher than average, an indication of the thorough ripeness of the vintage. The yield in this generous year was a reasonable 3.1 tons per acre, which Barrett described as huge. Still, this appears to be an outstanding vintage for this classic Napa cabernet.
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.
Good deep ruby-red. Highly aromatic nose combines musky redcurrant and tobacco. Plush, broad and fine-grained; atypically sexy and showy for this wine, in much the same way that Montelena's basic 2002 Napa cabernet is unusually pliant and rich. Finishes with big, dusty, but rather suave tannins. This offers early accessibility but has the material and structure for extended aging. The alcohol here is 14.3%, the highest since the 1978, which was 14.4%.
By the standards of Bo and Jim Barrett, the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (14.4% alcohol) is a relatively flamboyant effort. Its opaque purple color is followed by a gloriously pure nose of creme de cassis, licorice, earth, truffles, and flowers. Full-bodied, powerful, and rich, with high tannin as well as concentration, it is somewhat accessible, but will be even better after 4-6 years of bottle age. It should drink beautifully for 25-30 years.
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.
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.
Food Pairings for Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley
Dietary Information: Organic
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