One of the historical attributes of the Montelena Estate Cabernet has always been its age-ability and longevity; often though, this meant that the wine really needed to be cellared before it would show its true beauty. Well, here at Montelena we’re all about the pursuit of excellence, and have been working to expand that window of drinkability through careful changes in how we farm, pick, and ferment the grapes from this magnificent property. By focusing on precision viticulture techniques, small fermentation lots, and earlier integration of more precisely chosen barrels – matched to the unique characters of each lot – we have been able to make the wine more approachable at a younger age, while retaining the core elements that ensure a long life in the cellar. The only problem…you may need more of it.
Starting out with fairly typical spring weather, the growing season in 2009 was defined by the cool summer, with no major heat waves all season. Any warmer weather was immediately followed by a long cool period. The effect of all of this was slow and steady ripening with long hang time and a later than average start to the harvest. The heat did eventually show up in September, just in time to kick that final ripening stage into gear.
One look at the dense crimson ruby color and you know that this is a big wine. The nose opens with big black cherry, currants, and plum spice cake notes. Underpinning all that fruit are layers of smoke, anise, and very subtle oak tones. The palate entry is soft and round, but builds quickly with loads of fine velvety tannin, huge black cherry, and red fruits that persist through to a rich finish layered with spice. A firm core of acid and barrel spice integrate beautifully across all layers, enhancing the structure and balance of this massive but approachable wine.
Cameron Parry, Winemaker
Harvest Dates: September 16 to October 27
Blend: 98.25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.75% Cabernet Franc
Barrel Aging: 22 months, 100% French, 34% New
Bottling Date: December 2011
Release Date: Spring 2013