Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Nose It doesn’t take much time in the glass to reveal the ripeness of the vintage. Dried cherries, baking spices, and vanilla intermingle with softer notes of espresso bean, pipe tobacco, and lavender. Palate The 2015 steers toward dark fruit with plenty of blackberry jam and plums slowly yielding to intense, vibrant tannins and bright acid. A touch of smoke punctuates the midpalate revealing anise and cocoa, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. Within a few moments rhubarb appears as do dried ginger and black pepper. Additional ageing time is undoubtedly necessary to reveal the potential of this wine. Finish The finish ties both the nose and palate together with fresh raspberries, a subtle hint of mint, and incredible freshness. Vintage Weather A relatively warm winter set the stage for another year of drought in California. Budbreak occurred early in Calistoga, increasing the risk for vine-damaging frost, but our concerns were allayed as spring proved to be mild and uneventful. As June and July arrived, the weather remained temperate providing additional hang-time for flavor maturity and color development in the fruit. As is usually the case, the light crop turned out to be of excellent quality.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.