TN: 2001 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon (Non Estate) Napa Valley

  • 2001 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon (Non Estate) Napa Valley - USA, California, Napa Valley (3/18/2016)
    Lovely old school nose of plum, black & red berries with vanilla pipe tobacco and light spice immediately after popping the cork. Maybe a hint of oak, and graphite like in a mechanical pencil, but nothing so strong that it becomes like wooden pencil shavings. Palate of dark fruit and cocoa powder with a smooth as silk mouthfeel. The tannins are almost completely resolved but remind you late in the finish they’re still hanging on, albeit with a very fine texture. Not as austere as a Cab-based Pauillac, not as powerful as a Napa fruit bomb either. It’s a Goldilocks Cab - just right, and in a great spot now with at least a couple years of life ahead or more. (92 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

And presumably no off tainting?

That vintage was when Montelena was embroiled in controversy over the cleanliness of its wines, and Bo Barrett took the wines on the road. I was a club member at the time and received a gratis invite and attended in Philly. Great event, food, and a number of their wines including, as I recall (maybe not entirely correctly) the 2001 and 2002 non-estate and estate cabs, zin, maybe the chardonnay also. Everything was clean and the wines were great. I recall thinking that the 01 regular cab was a terrific value. The Montelena team really did a great job showing their wines.

None at all. This is my second bottle out of 10 from a clearance sale last fall for $40 each. A reseller bought out a wine store’s stock that was going out of business. The seller rounded out the case with 2 bottles from 2010, which will lay on the rack for years. We had our first '01 this past New Year’s Eve, using it as a second bottle that night. It won’t ever be a second bottle again though! As good as the Estate is, I just don’t see it being worth more than double the price… although I’m not sure what the recent release prices are.

IIRC, after Laure made his claims about TCA, the winery had the wines tested and they did indeed have a systemic problem, albeit at low levels.

I would be interested to see if he would still pick these out now versus then.

And just remember that everyone has a different threshold for TCA detection , and I believe Laure has been tested and his is either at or below 1ppb . . .


Was this the old “Calistoga Cuvee” bottling?


I do believe it is. I believe they started bottling the Calistoga Cuvee in the mid 90’s or so (I may still have a 95 I believe?), but I think they realized that from a marketing standpoint, it was probably best to just use ‘Cab Sauv’ on there instead.

Still great juice, especially for the price.