Cht Montelena Chardonnay 2008
External Reviews for Cht Montelena Chardonnay
Winemaker Bo Barrett's 2003 Chardonnay is one of the finest made to date. This is the classic non-malolactic style of Chardonnay that can age for a long time in certain vintages. It is never as showy or flamboyant as some of California's more Burgundian-styled, full-malo Chardonnays, but it is crisp, with more concentration than one might expect. The 2003 offers abundant quantities of lemon/lime-like fruit, hints of white pears, white currants, and green apples, a steely backbone, and noteworthy concentration. It can be drunk young or cellared for 5-7 years, maybe longer.
Fresh aromas of pear, apple, mint, flowers and minerals. Sweet and full but bright and youthful, with good citrus and spice intensity and an absence of rough edges. Still, this is a bit less penetrating and minerally than the 2002, which winemaker Barrett describes as "less heat-driven." Barrett is now harvesting his chardonnay fruit at night, pressing whole clusters to get more volume in the wine, and moving the wine from tank to barrel without any filtration.
Pale peach skin color. Bright aromas of apple, pear, pineapple and wet stone. Full but firm, with pineapple and more exotic tropical fruit flavors supported by underlying stoniness. Nicely fresh chardonnay, with firm backbone. Prior to the 2000 vintage, Montelena crushed all of its fruit; this was vinified with about 30% whole clusters. "A component of crushed fruit really pops the nose, accentuates the tropical fruit flavors," noted Zacherle, "but the whole cluster element gives finesse and elegance." Like the zinfandel, this chardonnay was mostly picked during the cool of night.
Cut from the same mold, the 2004 Chardonnay reveals more tropical fruit and lemon butter characteristics, but perhaps not the length and precision of the 2003. Nevertheless, it is a tasty, steely Chardonnay displaying little oak influence.
An understated style that's fruit-driven, with pure, ripe pear, melon, anise and hazelnut flavors that turn elegant. Finishes with a minerally aftertaste. Drink now through 2005.
About 10% of Montelena's Chardonnays are now put through malolactic, and even more revolutionary, about 10% is now being barrel-fermented in new oak. The wine spends six months in neutral, old barrels prior to bottling. While reserved and tight when compared to some of California's more flamboyant Chardonnays, it does merit considerable interest. A virgin expression of Chardonnay, with abundant quantities of crisp, green apple, tangerine, and pear fruit, this wine reveals good acidity, an elegant yet full-bodied personality, surprising depth, and a reserved, austere palate.
Clean, elegant and flinty, with crisp floral, apple, apple skin, and light nutmeg flavors. Drink now through 2005.