2013 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga Napa Valley – 92pts

Chateau Montelena Winery exterior

Historic Chateau Montelena Winery is scenic as well as full of excellent wine.

The 2013 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga Napa Valley is today’s Wine of the Day. Chateau Montelena is still best-known for Chardonnay, due to their victory with that wine in The Judgement of Paris in 1976, chronicled in George Taber’s book of the same name. However, the winery and estate vineyards are located in Calistoga, in the northern end of Napa Valley. The Calistoga AVA is very well-suited to robust red wines.

Chateau Montelena farms their vineyard, first planted by Alfred Tubbs in the 1880’s, organically and without irrigation. Vine maintenance and harvest, done at night for maximum freshness in the fruit, are all by hand.

2013 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga 92 14.1% 750ml $58

Dark ruby and expressive in the glass with aromas of black currant, blackberry jam, smoke, dark mineral and dark chocolate. On the palate, body and structure is medium with very fine, silky tannins. It’s long, smooth and flavorful, finishing on a savory, ferrous note.

This is, and I mean this in the best possible way, a middle-of-the-road Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s fruit forward, but savory enough to be interesting and not at all cloying. There is satisfying richness in the mouth, but alcohol is moderate and nobody will think the fruit over-the-top. It will go nicely with a meal, but doesn’t need food to tame acidity or tannins. Drink now through 2024.

Rating: 92
Drink: Now through 2024
Closure: Cork
Retail Price: $58


Winemaker: Matt Crafton
Blend: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc
Origin: The estate vineyard in Calistoga. It offers a variety of soils (largely volcanic and alluvial) and degrees of slope.
Fermentation: Stainless steel
Aging: 14 months in French and Eastern European oak barrels, 16% new.
Alcohol: 14.1%

Service Recommendations

Decanting: Brief decanting will round out the tannins, but isn’t essential.
Temperature: 61°–64° F
Food pairing: Red meat, from burgers to steak. It will also work with dishes featuring cooked tomatoes, such as lasagna.

Text Copyright Fred Swan 2016. Photo courtesy of Chateau Montelena Winery. All rights reserved.

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