2018 Chateau Montelena Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
The wines at Chateau Montelena are often described as having classic “old-world” structure with ripe California fruit, and the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is emblematic of this style. These wines tend to have more acid and more moderate alcohol levels as compared to some of the “cult” Cabs. This combination of classic chemistry and California sunshine allows them to offer immediate pleasure and complexity on release, and the ability to develop beautifully.
The wine is crafted from Montelena estate and prime neighboring vineyards located in the northern end of the Napa Valley, in and around Calistoga, next to primary or secondary tributaries of the Napa River. More specifically, each site has been selected for its alluvium soil profile, which provides an earthy, complex and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is softened by the judicious addition of Merlot, more than the Estate Cabernet, and is aged similarly to the Estate Cabernet, just a few months fewer, and it requires fewer months in barrel before release.
Prime vineyards are located in the northern end of the Napa Valley, in and around Calistoga. All of the sites are located next to primary or secondary tributaries of the Napa River and have been selected for their alluvium soil profile. Soils provide an earthy, complex and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon. The cobbly, gravelly subsoil makes for deep root penetration and good drainage.
The Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has more acid, lower pH and more moderate alcohol levels as compared to some of the flashy “modern” Cabs. The 2018 vintage is made up of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. The wine is aged in French and Eastern European oak barrels (26% new) for 16 months. The earthy, complex and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon is softened by the judicious addition of Merlot, which results in a medium-bodied wine with depth of flavor.
Dark garnet, nearly violet in the glass; the nose possesses an aromatic intensity that is irresistible. Fresh berries and dried cherries commingle with bergamot, lavender, mint, gunpowder, and sage without a single element dominating another. The palate is fresh and dynamic, with cranberry, cola and raspberry jam. The acidity is laser focused, the spine pulling the layers of flavor into harmony with the wine’s supple, yet dense, structure. The tannins here serve to elevate, not overwhelm the kinetic balance of texture, ripeness, and vineyard character. Toasted hazelnut and vanilla emerge as the wine leans savory with mushroom, black pepper, and cedar. The Merlot in the blend really shines here with rhubarb, cassis, and velvety softness.
USA, California, Napa
88% Cabernet Sauvignon 11% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc
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