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A Classically Styled Montelena Cab - A Triumphant Return to Form - 01/13/2018 - Cabernet Sauvignon (domestic)

Since its triumphant showing at the Judgement of Paris in 1976, Chateau Montelena has been firmly established as one of the top wineries in the world. Across their portfolio, the wines have become benchmarks with generation after generation of winemakers following their time-tested approach. Their Napa Valley Cab, in particular, is a style which is often imitated, but never equalled. We recently received a new parcel of the spectacular 2014 vintage. Longtime collectors of Montelena will be very familiar with its style and approach. Balanced, refined, with restrained power, it is a perfectly composed effort from start to finish. Wine critic, Antonio Galloni, was so taken by the 2014 he noted, it is “a terrific introduction to the vintage at Montelena” and a “stellar” rendition of this historic bottling. Priced under $45, it is an absolute bargain when compared to other Napa Cabs of this caliber. For any collector of Napa’s best, this 2014 is an essential bottling to own.

Also available in limited quantities, is the monumental 95-point, 2013 “Estate” bottling.

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2014 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($44.99)

92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is a terrific introduction to the vintage at Montelena. Brisk and energetic, the 2014 offers a good bit of nuance and aromatic complexity. The flavors are dark and intense, but the 2014 is very much medium in body, as these wines are. There is no shortage of muscle and power, especially at this level. Hints of iron, smoke, leather and herbs inform the muscular, virile finish. This is a terrific set of new releases from Bo Barrett and winemaker Matt Crafton. After a bit of back and forth in recent years on the stylistic direction of the wines - the Cabernets in particular - Barrett seems to have settled into a very comfortable place, as is evidenced by the stellar 2014s. It will be interesting to see how things unfold in coming years. The 2014s seem to point to a slightly more classic style than the (admittedly) slight move to a sweeter, riper style seen in some recent vintages. (AG)" (09/2016)

Staff ImageMari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 10, 2018

Over the past few vintages, the style of the Montelena Cab has waivered ever so slightly. But I rejoiced with happiness when I tasted the 2014 and realized that the classic Montelena is back! The aromatics couldn't be more classically Napa. Dark cassis, blackberries and red plum marry perfectly with the sophisticated yet structured mouthfeel. At less than $50, you can't find a more refined and polished Napa Valley Cab.

Staff ImageTrey Beffa | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 09, 2018

Sticking to its roots, the Chateau Montelena Napa Cabernet is a balanced, fresh, well rounded Cabernet that doesnt hit you over the head with a big dose of sweet vanilla oak. The fruit, oak and tannins are all working together in this wine. Flavors of red cherries, strawberries, cedar and plum jump from the glass, while the finish is firm but not harsh. This is a great wine to enjoy now with a steak or any other red meat dish and should age quite well over the next 5-10 years.

Staff ImageAnthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 06, 2018

Best winery in Napa, year after year, and this is yet another perfect example as to why. Energetic aromas of plum, wild blackcurrant, pencil shavings, and mint jump out of the glass. On the palate, this Cabernet has plenty of structure: balanced acid, ripe tannins, and lively, but not forward, fruit flavors. All crucial parts of the equation that lead to a beautiful, balanced wine with lots of terroir that will age delicately. All this for one of the more competitive prices for the area.

Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 04, 2018

2014 is really starting to show itself as a fantastic vintage for Napa Cabernet, and the Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon from Chateau Montelena is a great example. Packed with flavors of plum, dark cherry, tobacco, and leather, the 2014 Vintage is a classic text book example of what a Napa Cab should taste like and it helped remind me why I even fell in love with the varietal many moons ago, and just under $50 bucks, it also proves to be a fantastic value as well. Definitely worth a whirl, if you're looking for a nice cab to bring to dinner with you.

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2013 Chateau Montelena "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($119.95)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate opens with profound black and red currant cordial notes over an undercurrent of Indian spices, chargrill, scorched earth and bay leaves. Medium-bodied with wonderful intensity and depth in the mouth, it has a firm frame of grainy tannins and compelling freshness, finishing long and layered. (LPB)" (03/2018)

95 points Vinous: "Montelena's 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is unctuous, deep and concentrated. A wine of gravitas and power, the 2013 possesses remarkable textural richness, with a demi-glace like sweetness that is unusual for this wine and that lends an exotic feel throughout. The tannins are nearly buried by the sheer intensity of the fruit, but they are very much present. Patience will be key. Iron, smoke, tar and licorice are some of the many notes that infuse the voluptuous finish. (AG)" (09/2016)

94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Winemaker Matt Crafton embraces the winery's longstanding tradition of elegant Napa Valley Cabernet in this estate winea beautiful expression of exotic, savory characteristics wrapped in a seamless texture. Tomato leaf, meat and soy notes underscore deep layers of black pepper, black cherry and cassis, with grippy, dense tannins. Enjoy 20232033. *Cellar Selection* (VB)" (12/2017)