1985 Chateau Montelena "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #900088 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep ruby-red; barely a sign of development. Floral, cedary aromas of crystallized berries (raspberry, cassis, mulberry) and graphite; extremely youthful. Thick, large-scaled and very strong in extract; layered and deep. Strong but harmonious acidity gives the wine a vibrant character. Conveys a sense of totally expressed soil. Finishes with substantial ripe tannins and superb sweetness. From a rather low-alcohol year with high natural acidity and lower-than-average yield. 93+ (ST)  (7/1998)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Consistently a low to mid-ninety point Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Montelena's 1985 remains frightfully backward at nearly ten years of age. The 1985, 1987, and 1991 have the potential to be three of the longest-lived Montelena Cabernets this fine winery has ever produced. In this tasting, the 1985 was unevolved and youthful, with an opaque ruby/purple color, and a closed but promising nose of cassis fruit, earth, minerals, and oak. Full-bodied, marvelously concentrated and pure, this highly extracted, muscular, blockbuster effort requires a minimum of 5-6 more years of cellaring. A candidate for 20-30 years of longevity, it should prove to be one of the great Montelena Cabernet Sauvignons, but patience is required. (RP)  (4/1995)

Wine Spectator

 Rich, complex and well-balanced, developing nicely with maturing earthy dried currant, anise and sage notes. The tannins are ripe and integrated, offering depth and dimension. — 1985 California Cabernet retrospective. (Web Only—2005)

K&L Notes

A five-star California vintage, according to critic Michael Broadbent in his book Vintage Wine, in which he wrote: "An extremely good vintage, one of my favourites..."

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.