2005 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 375 ml

Year: 2005
Appellation: Napa Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Advocate: 91
Vinous Media: 93
Wine Enthusiast: 90
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.2%
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"The flagship wine, the 2005 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate displays a lovely perfume of fresh herbs, loamy soil, black cherries, and black currants. Spicy and very Bordeaux-like in this vintage, with high tannins, a cool climate freshness, and a leaner personality than is found in riper vintages, it will benefit from 1-2 years of cellaring, and should drink well for two decades or more.

Chateau Montelena’s sale to the owners of Bordeaux’s well-known second-growth, Chateau Cos d’Estournel, fell through, no doubt because of the global economic crisis. It was unquestionably shocking that this Napa icon was on the block, and about to be sold to, of all people, the French, who Montelena had defeated in the famous Steven Spurrier tasting of 1976. Tasting through the wines with the ever reliable Bo Barrett is always a lesson in candor and honesty. Montelena’s negociant blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, from northern vineyards in the Calistoga area, is meant to represent a Montelena house style, but it is much softer and less ageworthy, thus is the ideal restaurant/steakhouse wine." (WA)

"Good deep ruby-red. Complex aromas of currant, licorice, graphite, bitter chocolate, smoked meat, tobacco and brown spices. Began juicy, penetrating and quite youthfully unevolved, but aeration brought a suppler, rounder texture and more generosity to this impressively structured wine. Complicating notes of bitter cherry, menthol and minerals. This will require a good eight to ten years of aging but the substantial tannins are sweet and lush. Very long, pure and powerful on the finish. Barrett compared this to top previous vintages like 1986 and 1997, the latter, he admitted, "a brett wine." (IWC)

"Quite rich and exotic, with complex, appealing flavors of cocoa puff, mocha, buttered cinnamon toast, blackberry granola and smoky cedar. This richness finishes drily, but the wine is very tannic, giving it a lock-down astringency. Needs time. Best after 2011, and through 2015 or so. " (WE)

Winery Notes:
Winemaker's Notes
The 2005 growing season can be generalized as long, slow, and mild, but all the fun came in the month-to-month variations. We saw very early bud break here at the Estate, followed by limited growth due to cool temperatures and an exceptionally wet spring – especially the month of May. Even June was mild, with some rain. July finally brought much needed steady warmth, but no major heat spikes, providing a constant environment for great vine growth and berry development. Warm weather continued into early August, but then it cooled off through most of September, great for fruit ripening. Yet another heat wave arrived toward the end of September, just in time to push the Cabernet to full maturity. In sum, the weather could not have worked out better if we had custom ordered it.

Vintage Weather
Harvest occurred later than normal in 2005. Early bud break combined with the cool wet spring and mild growing season to result in nice long hang time and fantastic flavor development. The first Estate grapes didn’t come in until the last day of September, but once the flood gates opened we had a steady harvest of beautifully ripe, well balanced fruit through the end of October. We even managed to fill the winery to 100% of capacity for a day, but the already perfect weather held and we pressed on through. This idyllic season produced an Estate Cabernet with classic Montelena structure, showing tremendous depth and intensity.

Tasting Notes
Dark and powerful in the glass with great density and saturation, this wine grabs your attention from the first glance. Luscious and rich on the nose with great depth, we find top notes of violets, cassis, and rich dark cherry, all riding over a base of warm leather, cocoa, wet stone and molasses. The palate opens with red raspberry and blackcurrants before building to mouth-filling ripe cherry, a beautiful acid balance, and round rich velvety tannins. The incredible intensity of the palate fades slowly leaving a finish of dried fruits and hints of clove with remarkable weight and tremendous persistence.

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