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Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
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NOSE : Without any effort, dried blueberry and ripe plum are immediately front and center of an incredibly dynamic yet classic nose. A quick swirl of the glass reveals fresh lavender and cocoa, quickly followed by Bing cherry and a hint of black pepper.PALATE : The cascade of flavors and textures is prodigious as the palate meanders between rich, dark blackberry jam and lively, almost candied raspberry. The tannins, quite supple at present, add depth and breadth to a robust mouthfeel and converge on subtle earth and tobacco undertones that contrast and highlight the wine's polished and focused acidity.FINISH : Refined and well-integrated, the long, rich finish reveals hints of anise and cedar, which, along with ripe fig and incredibly fine tannin, add additional layers of elegance and grace.
Chateau Montelena's history is one of the deepest and most storied in the Napa Valley and California. Founded just north of Calistoga by a senator and San Francisco entrepreneur in 1882 at the turn of the century, it was one of the largest wineries in the state. Prohibition put an end to Montelena's winemaking, and the next major era began in 1968, when Jim Barrett purchased the estate. Jim fell in love with this exceptional property, blessed with a complex mix of soils, slopes and biodiversity of wildlife and fauna. He had a dream of creating wine at the level of the great First Growths of Bordeaux, and set about replanting the vineyard, outfitting the winery with modern equipment, and studying the processes necessary for farming and winemaking at the highest quality level.In 1976 Chateau Montelena put California at the forefront of the wine world. That year a who's-who of the French wine and food establishment gathered for a grand tasting at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Paris. Four white Burgundies were tasted against six California Chardonnays. When the scores were tallied, the French Judges were convinced that the top-ranking white wine was one of their own. In fact, it was Chateau Montelena's 1973 Chardonnay, rated above all other wines. This seminal event has been memorialized in the book ""The Judgment of Paris,"" by George Taber, as well as in the 2008 feature film Bottle Shock.Today Chateau Montelena's distinct 19th century stone structure stands as a quality icon in Napa Valley, consistently producing some of the finest wines in California. Master Winemaker Bo Barrett, Jim's son, now runs the estate with the help of Winemaker Matt Crafton and Vineyard Manager Dave Vella.
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