1997 Chateau Montelena - Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Chateau Montelena Description
The resulting wine is pretty much what we experienced all along. It is highly extracted and is really built for the long run with the balance we always seek, and will probably be very youthful on release. When tasted for these notes I gave it a good slosh of air to open it up, and for the first few years a good decant or opening it well ahead of time will be a good idea. There is the trademark Montelena earthy, berry fruit, smoky and rich with many subtleties. On the palate it has a big juicy front, a very full texture and many layers of flavors in a rich cross section of fruit and terroir. In summary it is the mother of all nineties Cabs and a great example of the Montelena Estate vineyard from an excellent vintage. As we have aptly demonstrated from wines like our 1978, this tasty wine has the right stuff to provide you decades of reward.
Wine Spectator: 95 Points
Wine Advocate: 98 Points
There are 10,200 cases of the remarkable 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate. Opaque purple-colored with a dense, chewy, full-bodied personality, it displays abundant cassis, mineral, and earth notes. This brilliantly made, super-concentrated, pure, blockbuster possesses sweet tannin as well as a terrific finish. Having added additional weight since last year, this sumptuous, multilayered, profoundly concentrated Cabernet contains 14% alcohol. It is a candidate for 25-30 years of longevity. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2030.
Steven Tanzer: 93 Points
Good deep medium ruby. Very complex nose combines cassis, black cherry, plum, smoked meat, dark chocolate, Cuban tobacco and a hint of menthol. Youthfully unevolved and primary yet broad and pliant; offers impressive texture and stuffing for a young Montelena cabernet. Superripe hints of smoked meat and leather. Finishes with very lush tannins and strong dark berry flavor. The pH here is higher than average, an indication of the thorough ripeness of the vintage. The yield in this generous year was a reasonable 3.1 tons per acre, which Barrett described as huge. Still, this appears to be an outstanding vintage for this classic Napa cabernet.
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