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Montelena Estate Cabernet Vertical (1996-2007), Château Montelena Mixed Vintage

SubregionNapa Valley

View all vintages of this wine | View all wines by Château Montelena

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Qty Units Price IB GBP Per Score
U.S.A.M.V.Montelena Estate Cabernet Vertical (1996-2007), Château Montelena

Not in original carton

BT1 \ 0121,980.00
1290/98 RP12197.7777773333398.0090.00Montelena Estate Cabernet Vertical (1996-2007)0.7510
Wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Tasting Notes

***1996 - 93 points***
A behemoth Cabernet Sauvignon is the stern, tannic, concentrated 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (13.5% alcohol). Full-bodied, but closed, with gorgeously pure black fruits, powerful, loamy, earthy scents along with fruit and extract, this wine also needs 5-6 years of cellaring, and should easily last through the first 2-3 decades of the next century. 2005-2030

***1997 - 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.

***1998 - 93 points***
The 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (13,000 cases) will disprove all the naysayers about how bad the vintage was in the North Coast. It possesses an opaque ruby/purple color, a gorgeous perfume of loamy soil, new saddle leather, chocolate, and black cherry and black currant fruit, full body, and ripe tannin in the finish. As it sits in the glass, notes of cedar and spice box also emerge. Although more evolved than most Montelena Cabernets are at age 4, there is no doubting that it will still provide considerable pleasure at age 15 or 16. Kudos to the Barretts for producing this impressive 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the vintage's few stars. 2002-2014

***1999 - 95 points***
The 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (an 8,600-case cuvee made from yields of 1.98 tons of fruit per acre) is considered by Bo Barrett to be a "great" year. The wine boasts a saturated inky/purple color as well as extraordinary density of fruit and cassis, and huge tannin, body, and extract. It is a substantial, palate-staining, long, muscular Cabernet that should only be purchased by connoisseurs with cold cellars as well as patience. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2030.

***2000 - 90 points***
The dense purple-colored 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc) reveals a sweet perfume of black currants, an expansive, full-bodied palate, surprising elegance as well as accessibility, excellent purity, and a long, layered finish. It is a successful 2000 Cabernet to drink now and over the next 12-15 years. 2003-2018

***2001 - 91+ points*** (92 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW)
Montelena’s backward, elegant, complex 2001 Estate reveals a dense ruby/purple color along with foresty, earthy notes intermixed with black currant characteristics as well as sweet tannin. Always a less ripe outlier (although it contains 14% natural alcohol), it will benefit from 2-3 more years of cellaring and should keep for at least 20 more years based on the extraordinary longevity Montelena Cabernet Sauvignons possess. 2014-2034

***2002 - 96+ points***
This appears to be one of the great efforts from Chateau Montelena, something I think I was correct about when I gave it an “in the bottle” rating in 2006 of 95+. It is still an amazingly young wine that came from old vines on the famous St. George rootstock that did not require replanting because of the phylloxera epidemic that swept through Napa in the late 1980's and 1990's. Despite its lofty 14.4% alcohol (high by Montelena standards) and the overall flamboyance of the 2002 vintage, it needs another 4-6 years of cellaring. This young, classic Cabernet Sauvignon represents the quintessential traditional school of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. It possesses an inky/blue/purple color in addition to a tight, but promising nose of black currants, crushed rocks, earth and spice. Rich, full-bodied, pure and brilliantly executed, with perfect harmony, this is a sensational yet forebodingly backward, youthful Cabernet Sauvignon that needs 4-6 years of cellaring and should keep another quarter of a century. 2016-2041

***2003 - 94+ points***
A big wine from the Barrett family (14.2% alcohol), this 2003 exhibits earthy black currant fruit, the restrained but intense Montelena style, full body, good richness and impeccable balance, purity and density. The color is a healthy dark ruby/purple and the wine shows lots of cassis. In spite of the restrained aromatics, the palate is rich, full-bodied, substantial and persuasive. This 2003 is approachable now, but it will be even more gorgeous 15, 20 and 25 years from now. This is a heritage wine from this great estate in northern Napa Valley. 2013-2038

***2004 - 95 points***
A classic, old style Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Montelena’s 2004 reveals beautiful purity along with lots of creme de cassis fruit, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and a long finish. By Montelena standards, it is a bit more powerful than usual (14.1% alcohol). These wines have an uncanny ability to age for 2-3 decades, and while the 2004 is slightly more forward and evolved than other vintages have been (2001 and 2002), it should last for 20-25 years. 2014-2039

***2005 - 93+ points*** (95 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW)
The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon at age ten is still a young, vibrant, dense ruby/purple -colored wine with lots of classic cassis fruit and a touch of earth undertones. It offers relatively soft and silky tannins by the standards of Montelena, but they’re there. It is full-bodied, rich and impressive. Cabernet Sauvignon from the northern end of the Napa Valley in Calistoga tends to be the St.-Estèphe of Napa. This wine is certainly one of the great ones. Forget it for another 3-4 years and drink it over the following 20-25. 2019-2044

***2006 - 91+ points***
The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate appears to have completely shut down, not surprising as Montelena’s Cabernet Sauvignons typically need plenty of time. The 2006 reveals medium to full body, austere tannins and lots of red and black fruits, dusty, loamy soil undertones and a hint of herbs/tobacco leaf. Give it another 4-5 years of bottle age and drink it over the following 20+. 2014-2034

***2007 - 94+ points*** (95 Lisa Perrotti Brown MW)
A great wine in the making, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (just under 10,000 cases produced) possesses a fragrant bouquet of sweet black currants, crushed rocks, earth and background oak. Full-bodied and dense, with Montelena’s typical power, tannin and reserved nature, this is a big, rich, formidably endowed red that requires 4-5 years of cellaring. That in itself is atypical of this exuberant, flamboyant vintage. Given this cuvee’s past history, this 2007 should age for 30+ years.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, January 1990

From a Vertical Tasting - Chateau Montelena Cabernet Estate: 1977-2010

***1996 - not tasted***

***1997 - 93 points***
Good medium-dark red with a healthy rim. Sexy red berry aromas are lifted by exotic spices and complicated by notes of smoke and leather (Barrett noted that this vintage showed a brett element early on but today the leathery nuance is just another note of complexity in the wine, as it was in a sample I tried two years ago as part of my 1997 horizontal tasting.) The palate delivers a lovely combination of sweetness and silky, fine-grained texture, with tactile raspberry and redcurrant fruit delivering surprising freshness and energy. Not hugely concentrated or thick but finishes broad and deep, with a firm tannic spine to support continued graceful evolution. Barrett noted that he was back to "moderate maceration--just two weeks" in 1997, and that this was the first year that he hand-harvested his fruit at night. (14% alcohol) 2019-2036

***1998 - 92 points***
Good dark red with ruby highlights. Medicinal black fruits, violet and cedar on the nose, plus a subtle carnal aspect; cool--even a bit minty--in a positive way but not especially green. High-pitched and aromatic on the palate, with dense, briary dark berry fruit framed and lifted by a floral quality and mounting minerality. Not jammy or particularly fleshy but not herbaceous either, this wine is long on personality and soil character (in comparison, the '97 and '94 bottlings are more typical Napa Valley Cabernet). Finishes with well-integrated, fine-grained tannins for this challenging year. Barrett noted that he used a relatively high 20% of mountain fruit (nowadays the mountain component is around 10%) and that this fruit achieved good ripeness in 1998. (13.9% alcohol) 2019-2033

***1999 - 93+ points***
Good dark red with no amber showing. Medicinal black fruits, violet, menthol and mint on the nose, complemented by rocky volcanic minerality. Very pure and intense, with its ripe but youthfully primary dark fruit, mineral and bitter chocolate flavors framed by a strong impression of acidity. The tannins are substantial but ripe, with the finish showing lovely subtle flavor development and sneaky building length. Today this wine stands out for its purity and cut and I'd expect it to expand further with more time in the bottle. Barrett did not even start harvesting the small crop (1.8 tons per acre) in '99 until the last day of September, about two weeks later than average. (13.9% alcohol) 2019-2040

***2000 - not tasted***

***2001 - 95 points***
Bright, dark red with ruby tones. Captivating floral lift to the very primary aromas of black cherry, cassis, minerals and earth, plus subtle notes of coffee and mocha. Tactile and sharply delineated, delivering a wonderful balance of sweet fruit and salty mineral and soil elements. Still linear but not at all angular, this penetrating wine finishes firmly tannic, classically dry, subtle and very long, with echoing mineral complexity. Really complete Cabernet here--and stuffed with flavor. (14.1% alcohol; the estate began using a new Delta destemmer as of 2001) 2019-2045

***2002 - 93 points***
Bright dark red with ruby highlights. Flamboyantly ripe aromas of candied blackberry and baking spices verge on exotic. Larger-scaled and thicker than the more classically structured 2001, yet somehow still with very good definition to its sweet dark berry, black cherry, tar and earth flavors. This rich, deep, viscous wine finishes with big but suave tannins and lingering sweetness. Our bottle seemed starved of oxygen and expanded dramatically with air. This wine's sheer concentration should keep it going for another 20 years. (14.3% alcohol, the highest since 1978) 2019-2038

***2003 - not tasted***

***2004 - 95 points***
Dark ruby-red. Knockout nose combines black fruits, spices, volcanic minerality and earth, plus a sexy note of coffee torrefaction, all lifted by a violet topnote; reminded me of a ripe-year Pauillac. Wonderfully silky and concentrated on entry, then tactile and solid yet juicy as well in the middle palate, conveying terrific sweetness of sun-baked dark fruits complicated by licorice and exotic spices. This compellingly rich, deep wine displays the sappiness of a fruit reduction. The wine's saline minerality contributes to its impression of energy and a note of juicy cranberry enhances its current appeal. But this beauty is just embarking on what should be a multi-decade plane of peak drinkability. Uncommon flavor intensity here--and still just 30% new oak. Incidentally, this is the first year that "Calistoga" appeared on the front label, along with Napa Valley. (It was actually Bo Barrett who initially proposed AVA status for Calistoga, but it wasn't officially granted until 2009. (14.1% alcohol) 2019-2045

***2005 - 95+ points***
Bright red-ruby. More reserved and medicinal on the nose than the flamboyantly expressive '04, with cassis and violet aromas complicated by graphite and bitter chocolate. Very pure and silky on the palate, conveying a sexy subtle sweetness and a wonderfully complex meld of dark fruits, minerals and soil tones. The element of Cabernet Franc here adds to the wine's mid-palate lift. This bottle was distinctly more pliant than an impressive but bound-up sample I tasted three years ago in my 2005 Napa Cab horizontal but is still extremely young. As broad and silky as this wine is, it stands out today for its energy. Goes on and on on the aftertaste, with the tannins utterly seamless and integrated. My best tasting of this vintage to date, as it is finally beginning to unwind. (14.1% alcohol; from fruit picked almost entirely in October) 2019-2042

***2006 - 94 points***
Dark red with ruby tones; not as deep as the '05 or '04. Very dark aromas of cassis, licorice and cocoa powder are complicated by exotic dusty spices and Provençal herbs. Suave, pure and mouthfilling, with its fine-grained dark berry and spice flavors broadening on the back half. Boasts a lovely balance of sweet and savory qualities, with bright acidity and refined tannins giving the wine plenty of backbone for further leisurely evolution in bottle. Finishes with excellent building length. The late summer of 2006 was very hot but temperatures dropped sharply in mid-September, pushing the harvest mostly into October, according to Barrett. In my earliest note on this vintage, I found the wine a bit disjointed (Barrett described it shortly before bottling as "60% a superripe component from the rocks and hillside, while the other 40% was all pepper and no jam--very Bordeaux-like in style"), but it is harmonizing beautifully. (13.9% alcohol) 2019-2039

***2007 - 95 points***
Bright ruby-red. Slightly jammy aromas of blackberry, cassis and cherry complemented by spice and cedar nuances. Wonderfully sweet and mouthfilling but not a bit weighty, with its dark berry, spice and tobacco flavors firmed by medicinal menthol and mint notes. This suave, fine-grained beauty can be enjoyed now owing to its superb balance but it also has the penetration and cut to go on for another 20 years. Winemaker Matt Crafton describes 2007 as "a Goldilocks vintage," with long, slow ripening, no weather extremes and full flavor development. Finishes very long, with wonderfully suave tannins and no shortage of structure. (14.3% alcohol) 2019-2039

Stephen Tanzer, vinous.com, May 2019
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.