2011 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Chardonnay appears to have more richness and body than the 2010, which is counterintuitive considering the cool year, but in 2011 Bo Barrett and his team had to wait until the end of October for this fruit to fully ripen, which, needless to say, is highly unusual. The characteristic Montelena Chardonnay aromas and flavors come through, but in a slightly richer style than normal. Hints of lemon oil, crushed rocks and flowers meld together beautifully on the resonant finish. Barrett adds that the 2011 was the first wine made in the new cellar, which is set up to handle small-lot fermentations. Whatever the reasons, the 2011 is striking in every way. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025. (AG)
The 2011 Chardonnay is beautiful. Lemon oil, melon, white flowers, spices and a hint of pastry all take shape in the glass. This is a surprisingly broad, creamy Chardonnay for the year. The aromas and flavors are bright, but they are shaped by considerable texture and volume. The 2011 was aged mostly in neutral oak, with 8% new barrels, while the malo was blocked as is the custom here.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(13.8% alcohol; the 40th chardonnay vintage at this historic Calistoga winery): Bright, pale lemon-yellow. Crisp aromas of apple, citrus peel and white peppery, along with a light metallic quality. The palate offers bracing lemon zest and grapefruit pith flavors and strong acidity yet comes across as silky and tactile at the same time. Cool and spicy, but with a surprisingly glyceral quality for the year. The youthfully edgy finish suggests that this wine will need serious patience.