A Full-Bodied Napa Valley Red with Finely Grained Tannins
Established in 1882 by Alfred L. Tubbs on 254 acres in the rugged terrain of the Mount Saint Helena
foothills, Chateau Montelena
has both a remarkably rich history and a paramount legacy. In 1886, Tubbs hired a French winemaker to manage the production and by 1896 the winery was the seventh largest in Napa Valley
. After a period of decline during Prohibition and the death of the founder's grandson, the estate was sold, eventually being acquired by Jim Barrett
in the early 1970's. Barrett cleared and replanted the vineyard and updated the winery equipment with modern technology. The first wine was made in 1972 and just 4 years later, Chateau Montelena would bring international fame and recognition to Napa Valley and the Californian wine industry at the Paris Tasting of 1976
, in which the estate's 1973 Chardonnay was rated higher than any other in the world, including the prestigious Grand Cru wines of Burgundy. Today, the estate vineyard is home to a diverse terroir, ranging from sedimentary to alluvial and volcanic soils. This mosaic of soils gives rise to rich Cabernet Sauvignon with a distinct "earthy-berry" flavor, the signature of Chateau Montelena. The vine yield is kept low through dry farming and meticulous crop-thinning. The fruit ferments very slowly and gradually in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats for a gentle, patient extraction. The wines are then aged in a combination of new and used barrels, according to the vintage.
The 2015 vintage
at Chateau Montelena was marked by weather ideal for producing ripe and concentrated fruit. A dry and warm early spring became temperate toward the end, and drought limited the yield. Summer temperatures were quite moderate, with a very hot August just before harvest. The Chateau Montelena 2015
blends 91% Cabernet Sauvignon
with 8% Merlot
and 1% Cabernet Franc
, matured for 16 months in French and Eastern European oak, of which 26% was new.
The Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
from Chateau Montelena
displays on the nose a bouquet of fresh raspberries and other red fruit, along with strawberry jam, hints of vanilla, violet petals and black pepper. On the palate, this Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is quite dense and full-bodied, with finely grained tannins that promise a smooth integration with the dark fruit over its time spent in the bottle. On the finish, this wine achieves great balance between a subtle acidity, concentrated fruit and tannins.