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If you’ve ever heard of the 1976 Judgement of Paris Tasting, (or watched the movie Bottle Sock) then you know Château Montelena plays a very important role in this competition. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a quick recap our friends at Forbes magazine wrote: “The Judgment was a 1976 blind tasting in Paris that pitted the best of Bordeaux and Burgundy against the top Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays of a promising but (at the time) still fairly under-the-radar wine region called Napa Valley. The judges included some of the most important figures in the world of French wine, like Châteaux Mouton-Rothschild, Haut-Brion, Léoville Las Cases, and Montrose.”
Château Montelena was one of the big winners of this competition when their Chardonnay (which was competing among some of the best Chablis in the world) won the big prize. This “pushed Napa Valley’s Chateau Montelena into the wine world’s consciousness, bestowing lasting fame.”
Château Montelena has been the property of the Barret family since 1972. The castle-like winery is in Calistoga District in Napa Valley, just at the foot of Mount Saint Helena. Calistoga is one of Napa Valley’s most iconic AVAs with a perfect terroir and climate, the most extreme day-to-night temperature differentiation, and a refreshing cool breeze that comes from the Pacific ocean. This results in high-quality wines with excellent acidity and an amazing aging capability.
This is an iconic winery that has been recognized among the best estates in Napa Valley, and its wines have achieved several 90+ scores from some of the major wine critics and magazines. Among these recognitions, Vine Pair claimed that “the estate is continuing to operate at the highest level,” and Rob Report says “the business of Chateau Montelena hinges entirely on what ends up in the glass. They’re real.”
This Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most iconic Cabs out there. Discover the magic, tradition, and luscious taste of this Napa gem.
Aging: 16 months in French oak barrels (26% new)
Tasting Notes: 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 1% Cab Franc. The nose is classic Napa Valley, filled with juicy blackberries, rich cocoa, and cassis. After a few moments, dried cherry and a touch of tobacco come into focus along with some wispy notes of fresh violets. The palate has a density and concentration that is interwoven among layers of fresh raspberry, mint, and hazelnut. The wine slowly transitions to a subtle richness of molasses that’s almost chewy enough to sink your teeth into. The finish is seamless and complementary to the palate with strawberry jam, Earl Grey tea, and bright, refreshing acidity that should pair equally well with light fare or hardy cuisine.
The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley includes 9% Merlot from a vineyard in Oak Knoll and spent 16 months in 28% new French oak, with a bit of Hungarian as well. It offers up textbook notes of cherries and redcurrants, plus a hint of vanilla, all in an easy-drinking, medium to full-bodied format. The tannins are silky, and the acids are tart in this moderately concentrated effort that should provide enjoyable drinking over the next 10 years or so. ~91 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.
Solidly built, showing an array of singed vanilla and cocoa along the edges, with a core of steeped plum and blackberry compote flavors. The slightly chewy finish is scored by tar and savory accents, giving this a bit of an old-school bent in the end. Best from 2023 through 2034. ~90 Wine Spectator
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