Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
When we talk about vintages at Montelena, they are often categorized as "hot" or "cool." Then occasionally there are years like 2007 which, because of their ideal conditions, earn the tag of "Goldilocks" because everything was just right. Warm spring conditions led to earlier than normal bud break, while the moderate temperatures in summer and early fall further extended the growing season, resulting in long, slow ripening with fantastic flavor development and near-perfect juice chemistries.
Medium red. Cherry, redcurrant and floral aromas are complicated by a whiff of soil. Offers good sweetness and breadth to its spicy, bright red fruit flavors. Finishes with a fine dusting of tannins and a hint of mocha. The fruit is mostly from Game Farm Vineyard in Oakville, which McMahon says features "rocky Tuscan soil." This will be bottled in July.
The Wine Advocate - "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 cuvee’s past history, this 2007 should age for 30+ years.
Rating: 94+ points"
International Wine Cellar - "Saturated, deep ruby-red. Deep aromas of blackberry, blueberry, violet and minerals; reminded me of a Pauillac. Silky on entry, then dense and sweet in the middle, conveying an impression of power. There's a youthfully medicinal quality to the dark berry and licorice flavors but unusual early sweetness and pliancy to this normally long-aging wine. Finishes with very suave tannins and impressive persistence. This is actually 14.3% alcohol, which is unusually high here. Barrett could only recall the 2004, 1994 and 1978 surpassing 14%.
Wine Enthusiast - "Not a wine for drinking now or anytime soon. It's so hard in tannins, it basically locks down the palate, and the astringency seems to accentuate the acidity and dryness. However, there is a deep core of blackberry essence and, after all, this is Montelena. All indications are that it will be a terrific wine in another 8 or 10 years."
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Chateau Montelena Winery
Chateau Montelena was founded in 1882 by Alfred Tubbs. The renaissance of the winery, under the leadership of James Barrett, began in 1972 with the replanting of the Estate vineyard and the establishment of the Chateau Montelena philosophy: make the best, period. Today the tradition continues. Jim Barrett’s son, Bo, winemaker at Chateau Montelena beginning in 1982, is now its Master Winemaker. After more than three decades of experience with the same vineyards and varieties, the Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Napa Valley Chardonnay are recognized as world-class. View all Chateau Montelena Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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