2009 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay

Year: 2009
Appellation: Napa Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 89
Wine Advocate: 89
Vinous Media: 90
Wine Enthusiast: 87
White Wine
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"Pure, clean and elegant, true to the Montelena style, this is fruit-forward, with little discernible oak presence. Wildflower, peach and nectarine flavors turn smooth and delicate. Drink now through 2018. 13,900 cases made." (WS)

"Speaking of non-malolactic, the reserved 2009 Chardonnay exhibits delicate pear and honeysuckle notes as well as crisp, fresh acidity, medium body and a steely purity. This is often referred to as the Ric Forman style, but Montelena has been doing it as long as Ric has (as have such legendary wineries as Stony Hill).

Some time ago Bo Barrett and his dad, Jim, decided that they needed to produce a less expensive, more supple textured Cabernet Sauvignon for consumers and restaurants looking for immediate gratification. That goal has been met very nicely by their Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, which is blended with some Merlot. All the fruit comes from the Calistoga appellation." (WA)

"(just 10% new oak used; the winery cherry-picked the fruit for this bottling and sold off the rest in bulk): Bright yellow. Lively aromas of apple, citrus fruit, mint and licorice. Juicy and vibrant, with almost painful mid-palate cut. Still youthfully tight, but this no-malo chardonnay displays good underlying density. The persistent finish shows good cut. Clearly the product of a moderately cool growing season. Montelena's chardonnay is vinified to dryness in tank, then ages for several months in 10% new oak, on the fine lees but without stirring. I suspect this will evolve slowly." (IWC)

"A good, complex wine, although it does show the limitations of so many Napa Valley Chardonnays. The pineapple, pear and oak flavors have an earthy, herbal edge, and the wine lacks some vibrancy. Gets better as it approaches room temperature, so don’t chill it too much." (WE)

Winery Notes:
Coming off of the low yielding 2008 vintage, the Chardonnay vines in 2009 were just itching to put out a big crop, and boy howdy did they ever. With over 300 tons of grapes harvested, we were well over our target levels which allowed us to cherry pick only the very best lots for this year’s bottling. The mild growing season and warm (but not too hot) ripening period provided optimal conditions, giving us an abundance of excellent lots for our 2009 Chardonnay.