2014 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1315887 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)  (12/2016)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 This was Matt Crafton’s first vintage as winemaker at Chateau Montelena, having joined as assistant winemaker in 2008. The wine’s fruit tastes of sweet red plums, while its scent hints at violets and roses. The tannins ground it in Calistoga, with an iron-like note under mint, and cocoa richness. Decant it if you open the wine now, for seared duck breast, or hold onto it for five or six years.  (10/2017)

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Price: $44.99

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Staff Image By: Mari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2018 | Send Email
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 Image By: Trey Beffa | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/9/2018 | Send Email
Sticking to its roots, the Chateau Montelena Napa Cabernet is a balanced, fresh, well rounded Cabernet that doesn’t 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 Image By: Anthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/6/2018 | Send Email
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.

Staff Image By: Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/4/2018 | Send Email
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.

Additional Information:


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.

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.


- 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.
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.