2009 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon

Year: 2009
Appellation: Napa Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Advocate: 91
Vinous Media: 88
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.8%
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"The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is wonderfully supple and fragrant. Silky tannins frame a core of expressive dark red fruit. Floral and spice notes are nicely woven throughout. This textured, gracious Cabernet Sauvignon should continue to age gracefully for another 7-10 years, but it is awfully good right now. The blend includes 7% Merlot and 1.5% Cabernet Franc in 2009. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.

I was very impressed with the wines I tasted at Chateau Montelena. Bo Barrett and his team are going for a food-friendly style. They certainly appear to be succeeding in the endeavor. The signature wines are the Chardonnay and the two Cabernet Sauvignons. The Chardonnay is fermented in steel and aged in oak with no malolactic fermentation or less stirring. There is no question the Chardonnay can age, but personally, I am not sure the wines improve beyond age ten or so, at least not markedly. The Cabernet Sauvignon Estate typically includes 2% or so of Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Sauvignon is made from purchased fruit and incorporates small amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Barrett describes 2008 as a tough vintage for Cabernet Sauvignon. Frost and shatter were an issue earlier in the year, while temperatures rose dramatically later in the summer. Barrett is much higher on 2009 because it presented virtually no problems." (WA)

"Good deep red. Red berries, pungent herbs, menthol and cedary oak on the nose. Brisk and tightly wound, with edgy flavors of cherry syrup and rhubarb. The tannins are a bit dry but hit the palate late, allowing the red fruit flavors to express themselves on the back. Shows a slight overripe/underripe character but I would not be at all surprised if this wine came into better harmony with another year or two of bottle aging." (IWC)

Winery Notes:
Vintage Weather:
The cooler weather throughout the summer made for great growing conditions (and high yields) and then, in September, we got just enough warm weather to bring the fruit to full ripeness. The absence of any major heat events during the summer and during harvest resulted in lower-than-normal sugars, great balance, and no issues with shriveling fruit – perfect conditions for the classic, Montelena style of wines.

Tasting Notes:
This Cabernet is deep ruby in color with massive extraction and great density. The nose opens with huge intensity, great depth, and lots of layers. Big fruit aromas of black cherry, bright red berries, and plums all lead into the barrel notes of toasty oak, vanilla, and smoky undertones. The palate entry opens smoothly and builds predictably with big, firm (but not coarse) tannin, good acid balance and lots of structure. There is a great progression from ripe, sweet cherry and plum fruit up-front to rich, dried black fruit and spice on the finish - with the vanilla and spice from the barrel layering in seamlessly. For a young wine, it is already showing quite well and will continue to improve over the next 10+ years. This wine is definitely trying to seduce you, enjoy!