Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1997
Cabernet Sauvignon from California
The resulting wine is pretty much what we experienced all along. It is highly extracted and is really built for the long run with the balance we always seek, and will probably be very youthful on release. When tasted for these notes I gave it a good slosh of air to open it up, and for the first few years a good decant or opening it well ahead of time will be a good idea. There is the trademark Montelena earthy, berry fruit, smoky and rich with many subtleties. On the palate it has a big juicy front, a very full texture and many layers of flavors in a rich cross section of fruit and terroir. In summary it is the mother of all nineties Cabs and a great example of the Montelena Estate vineyard from an excellent vintage. As we have aptly demonstrated from wines like our 1978, this tasty wine has the right stuff to provide you decades of reward.
The Wine Advocate - "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."
Wine Spectator - "This California Cab serves up lots of ripe, supple black cherry, currant and plum-laced flavors, as well as pretty touches of earth, anise and mineral. Turns smooth and supple, finishing with polished tannins."
International Wine Cellar - "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.
Rating: 93+ Points"
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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 Other CaliforniaView a map of Other California wineries
California has nearly 100 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and accounts for almost 90% of wine production in the United States. In our section of Other California, we include wines from smaller AVAs as well as wines from the California AVA. Here are a few smaller AVAs you may see on the label:
Livermore Valley AVA, located right outside of San Francisco and home to wineries such as Wente.
Lodi County AVA, an AVA further east of San Francisco and known for its excellent, old-vine Zinfandels.
San Francisco Bay AVA, a sprawling AVA that covers Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, to name a few. Wine that holds only the California AVA is typically a wine that includes grapes from a number of different AVAs, which leads to the general labeling of the wine as California. This does not denote the quality of the wine, only the diversity of where the grapes originate.
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 & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.