88 Points Antonio Galloni 2011 vintage has received quite a lot of attention – for its weather and growing conditions – not all good. The Napa Valley is a wonderfully complex place blessed with a huge variety of different soils, elevations, solar aspects, and mesoclimates; to paint the entire Valley with the same brush is rather naïve. As it should given the cooler season, the Chateau Montelena 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet definitely expresses qualities of a cool vintage and the wine’s classic, Old World styling nicely complements these features. We are also fortunate in that almost all of our Napa Cabernet vineyards tend to ripen early – due to either location, dry farming, cropping levels, or a combination of factors. This means that even in the cooler, harder-to-ripen years, we can expect to see full maturity, great flavor development, and classic Montelena
The 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet shows beautiful dark garnet color. The nose opens with big, ripe, red fruits - particularly raspberry and red currant - before moving into layers of barrel spice, anise, and warm cedar. Entering the palate, this wine is bright and lively with good weight and tannin presence. There is also a firm acidity that will make for great food pairings. The mid-palate is loaded with juicy red fruit and blueberry, which are nicely complemented by well-integrated barrel notes of vanilla, sarsaparilla, and toast.
This growing season was defined by a late spring and cool summer, with a slow and cool ripening through the fall. In fact, summer never really showed up in 2011, which resulted in both a later-than-normal harvest and wines that are very classical in nature – more red fruit focused with bright acidity and great refinement.
"Super classic scents of sweet tobacco, dried flowers, mint, licorice and dried cherries emerge from Montelena's 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. A floral, mid-weight wine, the 2011 Cabernet is built for near-term drinking. Soft, silky tannins support the gracious finish." - 88 Points Antonio Galloni