Conditions that give low yields often contribute to the production of superb wines. The 2001 vintage is testament to this phenomenon. Frost damage early in the year followed by excessive heat during flowering set the stage for a small crop, while consistently temperate weather during the growing season yielded beautifully balanced grapes with ripe, complex flavors.
An unseasonably warm March accelerated bud break just in time for a cold, wet April: prime time for frost conditions that damaged some of the new buds. During the critical flowering in May we experienced several days over 100º, causing ‘shattering’ in a few of the Cabernet blocks.
Fortunately the weather during the rest of the growing season was mild with consistently moderate temperatures ensuring a long ripening period and excellent, complex flavor development. The crop’s perfect ripeness was evident in the grapes’ fully mature skin tannin, tell-tale brown seeds, and delicious fruit flavors. Waiting for each block to achieve optimal maturity before picking, we harvested Cabernet on our Estate over an unusually long 5 weeks.
This wine has a deep, dark color revealing its concentration and extract. Its room-filling fragrance is the pure essence of Cabernet, with ripe cassis and black cherry fruit and the signature earthiness of The Montelena Estate’s complex soils. On the palate the wine is full and warm with ripe fruit flavors and layer upon layer of complexity. A velvety-soft texture is framed by a stylish tannic grip, ensuring drinking pleasure now and for many years to come.
Bo Barrett, Winemaker
Harvest dates Sept. 4 to Oct. 12. Sugar at Harvest 22.7º to 25.2º brix
Time in Oak 18 to 20 months
Bottling Date August 2003
Release date March 2005