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93 - 95 Point Wine Advocate:Montelena’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate wraps around the palate with serious depth. Even with all of its intensity, the 2010 has a silkiness that makes it incredibly delicious at this early stage. Red berries, flowers, tobacco and sweet herbs all flesh out on the generous, radiant finish. While many 2010s are a bit tight today, Montelena’s 2010 Estate is showing very nicely, although it is keeping some cards close to the vest. I imagine the 2010 will start to enter its prime drinking window around age 8-10 and drink well for at least another decade beyond that.
This shows a more supple, graceful, accessible style of Montelena Cabernet, combining a sleek, rich core of dark berry, black licorice, roasted coffee and cedar flavors with a black licorice underpinning. The texture is firm but the tannins have a fleshy side. Offers a long, clean finish. Drink now through 2028.—J.L.
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.
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.