1998 Chateau Montelena "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (13,000 cases) will disprove all the naysayers about how bad the vintage was in the North Coast. It possesses an opaque ruby/purple color, a gorgeous perfume of loamy soil, new saddle leather, chocolate, and black cherry and black currant fruit, full body, and ripe tannin in the finish. As it sits in the glass, notes of cedar and spice box also emerge. Although more evolved than most Montelena Cabernets are at age 4, there is no doubting that it will still provide considerable pleasure at age 15 or 16. (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good ruby-red. Currant, black raspberry, licorice, dark chocolate, menthol, loam and tarry oak on the nose. Fat and full for the vintage but rather unforthcoming today. Much deeper than the Calistoga Cuvee. This will be a supple '98 with several years of bottle aging. Finishes with moderate length and ripe tannins. 'Ten years ago, when we were doing extended maceration and using a harsher destemmer, these tannins would have been tough and green,' notes Barrett. 'But then that's the advantage of being a grizzled veteran.'
Balanced, with supple currant, herb and berry flavors that are elegant. Finishes with fine tannins and earthy anise notes that are pleasing.