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Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1989

Cabernet Sauvignon from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
  • RP91
0% ABV
  • V95
  • WS92
  • WW95
  • RP93
  • JS93
  • WS91
  • RP91
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
When I think back to the top California Cabernet Sauvignon wineries twenty-two years ago (1973), it is shocking to see how many of the finest wineries in 1973 have fallen behind today's leading Cabernet producers. For example, Beaulieu, Heitz, Inglenook, Mayacamas, and Freemark Abby were undisputed leaders in the early seventies, but in 1995, they have been surpassed by thirty or forty other producers. I can think of only three wineries that were making fabulous Cabernet Sauvignons in 1973 that have continued to produce great wines, with no qualitative slumps through 1995 - Caymus Vineyard, Ridge, and Chateau Montelena. Because Chateau Montelena is "old" by California standards, it is easy to overlook the extraordinary wines produced by Jim Barrett and his son, Bo. Remarkably, there is not a bad vintage of Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon to be found. While hitting the peaks in top years, this winery makes fine Cabernets in vintages where other producers flounder. A recent example of this is the 1989 Estate Cabernet, a superb wine that continues to languish on the shelves of retailers. For that reason, an invitation to a vertical tasting of Chateau Montelena's estate Cabernet is one of the most exciting tickets in town.
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Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena

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Chateau Montelena, , California
Chateau Montelena
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.

With a distinctly Mediterranean climate featuring warm days and cool nights, the Lodi AVA in California’s Central Valley provides growers with ideal conditions for grape-growing. As most of the rain falls in winter months while vines are dormant, the risk of disease and pest problems is low and irrigation can make up for the dry conditions during harvest.

By a wide margin, Zinfandel is the most successful and widely planted variety in Lodi. Often made from old vines, these wines are robust and fleshy with ripe, plummy fruit and represent excellent value at the lower end of the price spectrum. Over 100 other varieties are grown here, ranging from the classic (Merlot, Chardonnay) to the obscure and experimental (Portugal’s Touriga Nacional, France's Picqpoul).

Sauvignon Blanc

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A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon Blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. A couple of commonalities always exist, however—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand and California, while Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon Blanc. High-quality Sauvignon Blanc is also produced in Washington State, Australia, and parts of northern Italy.

In the Glass

From its homeland in the Loire Valley, where citrus, flinty, and smoky flavors shine through in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, to Marlborough, New Zealand, where it is pungent, racy, and “green” (think grass, leaves, gooseberries, and bell peppers) and tastes of grapefruit and passionfruit, Sauvignon Blanc has something to offer every wine drinker. In Bordeaux, it is typically blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle to produce a softer, richer style. In California, any of the aforementioned styles can be emulated.

Perfect Pairings

The freshness of Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor—from bell pepper and cut grass to passionfruit, gooseberry, and ripe kiwi lend it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood, and mild Asian dishes. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like goat cheese and asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it can be paired with more complex seafood and chicken dishes.

Sommelier Secret

Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is the proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (an herbaceous aromatic compound) inherent to each member of the family.

LSB126447_1989 Item# 126447

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