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Chateau Montelena 2008 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $119.00
SAVINGS: 30%
RETAIL: $170.00


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This deal ended 3411 days ago


Complex dry red with layers of fruit and earth, a bottle that will age gracefully and taste amazing in 5 to 15 years.

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The Season
Some years Mother Nature throws you a curveball, but with years of practice and experience you can see that pitch coming and still connect for a home run. 2008 was one of those years where everything seemed to conspire to make life difficult here in the Napa Valley.

First, a cold and frosty spring caused a bit of damage and reduced the size of our crop. Then the heat and wind showed up right in time for bloom, which resulted in widespread shatter – again reducing the crop here on the Estate. The heart of the growing season was actually quite nice and normal, but then more heat showed up during the harvest; pushing some of the fruit to dehydration and serving up the final challenge of the season – there was a lot of movement on that ball. Despite all these challenges, 2008 produced an incredible, concentrated, and exceptional Estate Cabernet that is very representative of the vintage.

The Vineyard
The Estate vineyard is comprised of varied terrain, from flat to steep hillsides. The vineyard gently slopes downward towards its base, where a small patch of sedimentary soil was deposited by the settling of an ancient ocean or lake. Extending out from the Napa River is the alluvial soil, the most prevalent type on the property. In the back and outside areas of the vineyard are volcanic soils, formed by ancient lava flows caused by tectonic uplifting.

This diversified soil profile results in aromatic, rich and full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, characterized by the unique earthy-berry flavor that is the Montelena Estate. Our decades old Zinfandel vines, planted in volcanic soil, combined with our 10 year old vines in alluvial soil, produce a wine with a spicy, ripe berry flavor.

The Process
The wines produced by Chateau Montelena are handcrafted in the Chateau Montelena cellar by their dedicated winemaking team. The wines express the fruit from which they are made and the vintage in which they are grown, with all other elements in balance to complement the fruit. To achieve this goal, Chateau Montelena use modern crushing, de-stemming and pressing equipment to process the grapes as gently as possible. The Montelena team then use temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks to allow the wines to ferment slowly and evenly. Once fermentation is complete, the wines are transferred to small, French oak barrels to begin the aging process. Chateau Montelena uses a combination of new barrels along with older, neutral barrels to ensure that the natural flavors of the grapes are not masked by oak. After blending and bottling, the wines receive enough aging time prior to release so that they can be enjoyed right away or laid down to mature for years to come.

The Experience
Dense, rich ruby color in the glass, this Estate Cabernet Sauvignon shows complex aromas of dark cherry, dried fruits, earth, cedar, and vanilla cream along with hints of licorice and leather. The palate opens with big, chewy tannin – firm but not coarse – and builds even bigger into a mid-palate loaded with ripe red fruits and dried black fruits. There is a good, strong acid backbone completing the balance and structure. The barrel flavors are well-integrated throughout but are best evident in the warm and spicy finish. Still quite young and powerful, this dense compact wine will open beautifully with time in bottle (or glass).
 
The Facts
Varietal Composition: 98% Caberner Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Napa Valley, California
Barrel Aging: 22 months, 100% French Oak (34% new)
Harvest Date: September 7 to October 13, 2008
Bottling Date: December 2010
Release Date: Spring 2010
Case Produced: 5940
Alcohol: 13.9%


HISTORY
Chateau Montelena's rich history began on a chilly fall morning when Alfred L. Tubbs spaded over and inspected the soil where he thought of planting estate vineyards. He had heard the Napa Valley was the best place to grow grapes in California. A deal was struck, and in January of 1882 the San Francisco entrepreneur owned 254 acres of rugged land just two miles north of Calistoga at the base of Mount Saint Helena. The soils are well drained, stony and loose - perfect for the vines he would plant.

It took less than a decade to turn his dream into reality. First Tubbs planted his vineyards, then he built his Chateau, and in 1886 he imported a French-born winemaker. By 1896 his winery, christened Chateau Montelena (a contracted form of Mount Saint Helena), was the seventh largest in the Napa Valley. Winemaking at the Chateau came to an end with Prohibition. After Prohibition was repealed, the Tubbs family continued to harvest the vineyard, making some wines and selling grapes to other wineries and home winemakers. The Tubbs family sold the winery in 1958, at which time the Chateau and its overgrown grounds passed into the hands of Yort and Jeanie Frank, who were looking for a peaceful spot to retire. The Chateau inspired Frank to excavate a lake, with landscaping to reflect the Chinese gardens of his homeland. Today, Jade Lake is considered one of Napa Valley's most beautiful sanctuaries, home to a variety of fish and wildlife, and surrounded by weeping willows and native fauna. The next chapter began with the renaissance of Chateau Montelena Winery and the Estate vineyard. Under the leadership of Jim Barrett, the vineyard was cleared and replanted, and the Chateau outfitted with modern winemaking equipment. He assembled a team to oversee the vineyard and winemaking, then grew and contracted for the highest-quality grapes in the Napa Valley. In 1972 wines were made for the first time. Decades later, this celebrated family-owned winery continues to thrive with Jim Barrett at the helm.

WINEMAKING
The wines produced by Chateau Montelena are handcrafted in the Chateau Montelena cellar by their dedicated winemaking team. The wines express the fruit from which they are made and the vintage in which they are grown, with all other elements in balance to complement the fruit. To achieve this goal, Chateau Montelena use modern crushing, de-stemming and pressing equipment to process the grapes as gently as possible. The Montelena team then use temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks to allow the wines to ferment slowly and evenly. Once fermentation is complete, the wines are transferred to small, French oak barrels to begin the aging process. Chateau Montelena uses a combination of new barrels along with older, neutral barrels to ensure that the natural flavors of the grapes are not masked by oak. After blending and bottling, the wines receive enough aging time prior to release so that they can be enjoyed right away or laid down to mature for years to come.
 
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - 92 pts
"The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a gorgeous, mid-weight wine laced with mint, cassis, sweet herbs and tobacco. It is an understated, gracious wine from start to finish. This is a relatively approachable vintage for the Estate. It shows tons of finesse and mid-palate generosity while maintaining a medium-bodied personality. Today it is quite young, although it is drinking well. Readers who prefer more tertiary notes will want to cellar the wine for at least a few years. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2028.

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." - Antonio Galloni
Aging Potential: 5-10 Years, 10-15 Years
Alcohol By Volume: 13.9%
Appellation: Napa, California
Barrel Type: French Oak
Body: Medium
Color: Ruby
Flavor Pairing: Tomato Base, Herb Roast, Barbecue
Food Pairing: Steak, Seafood, Duck
On the Nose: Vanilla, Licorice, Leather, Earthy Minerals, Cedar, Black Cherry
On the Palate: Tobacco, Spicy, Cigar Box, Cassis, Black Cherry
Serving Recommendation: Cup Glass in Hand to Warm Slightly
Texture: Smooth
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc

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