The nose: Ripe and fragrant, with a modest touch of leather. On the palate: Absolutely fresh fruit, strawberries, raspberries, and plums, with just a touch of currant character. What tannin is here is well integrated now, leaving you with just a bit of mouth puckering tartness on the finish. It’s welcome after such a fruit-forward, but far from sweet, Cabernet — and that creates a wine with surprisingly good balance.
Wine Maker Notes
This growing season was defined by the long cool summer that led to slow, almost methodical ripening. The only exception was a brief but intense heat wave in the third week of August that caught a lot of growers with their proverbial pants down – they had opened up their canopies and ended up with lots of sunburn – but not us. Four decades of experience have taught us to trust our vineyards, and once again they didn’t disappoint. Essentially all the blocks of our Napa Cabernet came in with beautifully balanced chemistries, full maturity, and lower sugars – perfect for our style of wine.
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.