The wine matured for 22 months in French oak (34% new) and offers complex and inviting aromas of dark cherries, dark dried fruits, earth, cedar and vanilla cream along with hints of licorice and leather. Well integrated acids and tannins provide balance and structure for the impressively long and expansive finish.
Wine Maker Notes
One look at the dense crimson ruby color and you know that this is a big wine. The nose opens with big black cherry, currants, and plum spice cake notes. Underpinning all that fruit are layers of smoke, anise, and very subtle oak tones. The palate entry is soft and round, but builds quickly with loads of fine velvety tannin, huge black cherry, and red fruits that persist through to a rich finish layered with spice. A firm core of acid and barrel spice integrate beautifully across all layers, enhancing the structure and balance of this massive but approachable wine.
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate caresses the palate with layers of dark red fruit, flowers, spices and licorice. There is a ton of depth and richness to the fruit, along with the silky tannins that are the hallmark of this vintage at Montelena. The flavors build beautifully towards the caressing, generous finish.
Chateau Montelena’s 2010 Cabernets are among the highlights in this set of new releases, although the 2011 Chardonnay is pretty terrific as well. Bo Barrett credits his experiences in 1987 and 1988 as a big reason he was able to handle the stresses of the 2010 vintage, in particular the late season heat spikes that gave growers fits. It’s great to see this historic property making wines that live up to its reputation. A recent bottle of the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate was also superb.
One of the historical attributes of the Montelena Estate Cabernet has always been its age-ability and longevity; often though, this meant that the wine really needed to be cellared before it would show its true beauty. Well, here at Montelena we’re all about the pursuit of excellence, and have been working to expand that window of drinkability through careful changes in how we farm, pick, and ferment the grapes from this magnificent property. By focusing on precision viticulture techniques, small fermentation lots, and earlier integration of more precisely chosen barrels – matched to the unique characters of each lot – we have been able to make the wine more approachable at a younger age, while retaining the core elements that ensure a long life in the cellar. The only problem…you may need more of it.
The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 or the Judgment of Paris was a wine competition organized in Paris on 24 May 1976 by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant, in which French judges carried out two blind tasting comparisons: one of top-quality Chardonnays and another of red wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California). A California wine rated best in each category, which caused surprise as France was generally regarded as being the foremost producer of the world's best wines. Spurrier sold only French wine and believed that the California wines would not win.