Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
One look at the dense crimson ruby color and you know that this is a big wine. The nose opens with big black cherry, currants, and plum spice cake notes. Underpinning all that fruit are layers of smoke, anise, and very subtle oak tones. The palate entry is soft and round, but builds quickly with loads of fine velvety tannin, huge black cherry, and red fruits that persist through to a rich finish layered with spice. A firm core of acid and barrel spice integrate beautifully across all layers, enhancing the structure and balance of this massive but approachable wine.
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. Extending out from the Napa River is the alluvial soil, the most prevalent type on the property. In the back and outside areas of the vineyard are volcanic soils, formed by ancient lava flows caused by tectonic uplifting.
International Wine Cellar - "Bright, saturated ruby-red. Deep, complex nose offers cassis, blueberry, mocha, espresso, menthol, bitter chocolate and tobacco. Densely packed and vibrant, with layered, seamless flavors of cassis, licorice and minerals. Shows an almost chocolatey ripeness yet retains outstanding verve. This chewy, superconcentrated wine finishes with ripe, pliant tannins and outstanding length and mineral reserve. Should be long-lived. 94(+?) points"
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is immediate, juicy and expressive in this vintage. At the same time, it seems pretty clear that the 2010 needs at least a few more years in bottle. Today, it is a bit disjointed as it is neither primary, nor showing too many tertiary notes or complexity. Sweet tobacco, leather, licorice, menthol and spices emerge over time, but the 2010 is a wine built for the cellar. There is plenty of density, but it needs time to emerge."
Wine Spectator - "This red combines a sleek, rich core of dark berry, black licorice, roasted coffee and cedar flavors with a black licorice underpinning. The texture is firm, but the tannins have a fleshy side, with a long, clean finish. Shows a more supple, graceful, accessible style of Montelena Cabernet Drink now through 2028."
The Wine Advocate - "Chateau Montelena’s flagship wine, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Montelena Estate possesses a dense ruby/purple color as well as beautiful black currant and blueberry fruit, soft tannins, medium to full body, and a harmonious, supple mouthfeel. This classic, old style California Cabernet has been tweaked somewhat as evidenced by its sweeter tannins and more upfront fruit."
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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.