TN: 1986 Montelena Estate Cabernet

Must have been incredible storage, cork came out in one piece like it was 10 years old. Didn’t taste its 23 years, with bright black cherry and pomegranate fruit bookended by beautiful and complex secondary nuances.

I decanted for sediment, let sit in the decanter for maybe 20 minutes as I read on CT that people found it showed best towards the end of the bottle.

Seamless and in a gorgeous place right now - great with pepperoni pizza.

Great note PMC. Many of the 1986’s are still showing that way, some still in their youth.

please tell us it was @ least righteous pizza, not DiGiorno!

Freschetta (sp?) frozen pizza!

just a little something something to have with some frozen Za. [dance-clap.gif]

Dear God, what a horrible thing to do to a lovely wine.

So far, pretty much every bottle from that auction has been wonderful. For example, the 87 Monty I brought to Alex’s, the 97 Clerico I brought to Jud’s, all but one of the 73 Pape Clements, the 83 85 and 88 Guigal B&B’s I opened for poker, plus all these Montelenas you keep cracking without me!!

I’ll be dipping into a bottle of the 1988 Montelena (to pair up with a 97 our host is opening) tomorrow night, so will report on that.

Thanks for the note–still have my 1986 resting comfortably in the wine fridge…



I bought a number of these shortly after release and have been very patient with them. The vintage has a reputation of being very tannic and slow to mature.

I’m not surprised the cork was in great shape. When excellent wine makers use high quality cork (which was easier to find in '87-88 then now) and the wine is “reasonably” well stored, 21-22 years since bottling is by no mean an eternity. All of mine that I have open, have been in excellent condition as well.

I most recently had one about a year ago and it was deifnitely the best yet of the ones I had opened. It has taken many years to come into full form.

Now we just need to do something about the pizza!

Funny y’all mention the pizza - I like opening nice cabernet-based wines with stuff like za and burgers for whatever reason.

A wine like the '86 Montelena deserves a fine steak. It especially doesn’t deserve pepperoni, which would only overpower it. Just MNSFHO.


And why does pizza need to be shortened to za? Ugh.

Pizza fail.
Wine success.
batting .500 (actually .333 in my book)

Peter, the 1988 I opened on Saturday from that same auction lot as your 1986 had an absolutely pristine cork. Only the bottom of the cork was stained with wine, it hadn’t progressed up the side of the cork even a millimeter. And it drank beautifully (for several days afterwards, as well)! Perfect bottle. Outshone a bottle of the 1997 by a fair margin, IMO.



Do you think the 97 was actually a sound bottle or the 88 was just that good?

You just like 97 because it is your birth year.

Had a bottle of this not too long ago - still a long life ahead of it…

Super tasty stuff!

Tyler, this is the fourth time I’ve had the 1997 in the past 2 or 3 years and every time I’ve had it I’ve had wonderful things to say about it. The same is true of this bottle from Saturday night. But all 4 notes say it needs like 5 years. Comparing directly to the 1988, I’ve done that comparison one other time, too, and the 1988 was just a hair ahead of the 1997. This time, it may just have been stylistic appeal (the 97 is lower in acidity, a bit chewier-textured, but probably more complex) or the comparitive “readiness” of the wines (both have a lot left, but the 88 is more a point), but the 1988 blew me away and the 1997 was “merely” excellent. So, no worries on the '97!! Great wine. Just hold a while.

My main point was that the '88 was a maximum pristine bottle with a perfect cork (the 97 was about a third of the way up the cork). And Montelena in general continues to be my fave Cali Cab…

Older Montelena is almost always lovely, thanks for the note.

As to the pepperoni, come on people, he can take a sip of water between bites. Yes there are better food pairings, but so what. Barring some really palate shattering foods (artichokes, oysters, very acidic sauces) pretty much the best wine for any situation is the wine you want to drink. I happen to like young, tannic, new-world Cabernet with seared rare tuna. Not sure why. It just always works well for me. Yees a steak would be better, but it’s my wine and my palate. If Mr. C likes this sort of wine with pepperoni pizza then more power to him!

Nice, I gots me a couple 88s left, only 1 from our auction win though.

I brought an 88 Monty Estate to Andy’s a couple years ago, it was unfortunately corked and we tried that Saran Wrap trick as you recall.

I’ve always thought it was a steal on Winebid (where I got my previous bottles) around the $50 mark, before vig. Glad to hear this one was drinking well!

I’ve just got it and the 1982 left from the auction…

I would be weary of 88’s from wine bid. I am not saying they were not stored properly but the ones you all picked up from Skinner seemed to be stored really well and on the cold side. I have had the 88 a few times and while it is good I have never had he experience that Michael has had. The bottles I have had were stored properly since release, normal cellar temps though.

I would love to try an 88 like the one Michael had, sounds killer!