Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1990 Front Label
Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1990 Front Label

Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1990

  • RP94
  • WS94
750ML / 0% ABV
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750ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Very dark ruby, almost black and the aromas have very intense, typical Montelena Estate characteristics of earthy, berry complex that is the hallmark of our vineyard. Interestingly, the cedar tones from the volcanic soils at the eastern side of the vineyard and the black olive from the richer soils are evident as background notes to the bouquet. The palate is also very full flavored with earth and berry, black cherry and plum. The wine is very complex and has fairly long flavor development.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Medium to deep garnet-brick in color, the 1990 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate sings with amazing expressiveness, sporting crème de cassis, blueberry tart and dried roses on the nose with touches of cloves, cigar box and Bovril. Medium-bodied, the palate is chock full of expressive black and blue fruit preserves with velvety tannins and a long, spicy finish.
WS 94
Wine Spectator
Tremendous complexity, depth and richness, with sharply focused layers of currant, anise, cedar, tobacco and spice, firming on the finish, where the tannins are soft enough for the wine to be enjoyed now.--California Cabernet retrospective. Drink now through 2010. 9,500 cases made.
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Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena

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Chateau Montelena, California
Chateau Montelena The estate at Chateau Montelena Winery Image

Chateau Montelena’s history is one of the deepest and most storied in the Napa Valley and California. Founded just north of Calistoga by a senator and San Francisco entrepreneur in 1882 at the turn of the century, it was one of the largest wineries in the state. Prohibition put an end to Montelena’s winemaking, and the next major era began in 1968, when Jim Barrett purchased the estate. Jim fell in love with this exceptional property, blessed with a complex mix of soils, slopes and biodiversity of wildlife and fauna. He had a dream of creating wine at the level of the great First Growths of Bordeaux, and set about replanting the vineyard, outfitting the winery with modern equipment, and studying the processes necessary for farming and winemaking at the highest quality level.

In 1976 Chateau Montelena put California at the forefront of the wine world. That year a who’s-who of the French wine and food establishment gathered for a grand tasting at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Paris. Four white Burgundies were tasted against six California Chardonnays. When the scores were tallied, the French Judges were convinced that the top-ranking white wine was one of their own. In fact, it was Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay, rated above all other wines. This seminal event has been memorialized in the book "The Judgment of Paris," by George Taber, as well as in the 2008 feature film Bottle Shock.

Today Chateau Montelena’s distinct 19th century stone structure stands as a quality icon in Napa Valley, consistently producing some of the finest wines in California. Master Winemaker Bo Barrett, Jim’s son, now runs the estate with the help of Winemaker Matt Crafton and Vineyard Manager Dave Vella.

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One of Napa Valley’s oldest wine growing subregions but last to gain appellation status, Calistoga occupies the northernmost section of the valley. Beginning at the foot of Mount St. Helena, its vineyards stretch over steep canyons and roll out onto the valley floor. The soils in Calistoga are volcanic, which means they are heavy in minerals, low in organic matter and allow good drainage for vine roots, creating less green growth and more concentration of flavor within the grape berries.

Summer days are very hot but most nights cool down with moist ocean breezes sneaking in over the Mayacamas Mountains or from Knights Valley to its northwest.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the area’s star variety with Zinfandel coming in a strong second, though the latter commands far less price per tonnage so continues to be outshined by Cabernet in vineyard acreage, save for some important exceptions.

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.

SSS26865_1990 Item# 26865

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