Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

  • wa93
  • ws87
Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2003


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The wine is a typically bright ruby red, with opaque density and color, which leads to a nice array of aromas: sweet black currant jam, with hints of black cherry and flowers. There is much fruit in the nose, not unexpected considering the excellent ripeness achieved in this vintage. The unique blend of soils in our vineyard leads to very pleasing layers of complexity, and I particularly like the evident menthol-cedar note attributable to the volcanic soil component. On the palate it delivers intense, broad and sweet fruit, layered with spicy cherry, and even a bit of chocolate. The overall structure is ripe and rich, pure and well delineated. It is very much in the Montelena Estate style, in which vineyard flavors drive the wine. It is a very structured Cabernet from a great growing year, and it will greatly reward you after a few more years of cellaring.
Category Red Wine
Region California, Napa Valley
Brand Chateau Montelena
Alcohol/vol 13.8%
  • wa93

Wine AdvocateWhile the 2002, which was quite extroverted right before bottling, has shut down, the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is still open-knit, although I suspect it will probably close down as well. It exhibits an opaque ruby/purple color along with a sweet, spicy nose of black currants, licorice, herbs, and damp earth. Rich and concentrated, it is the most accessible, and possibly the most elegant and French-oriented of the Cabernets produced between 2002 and 2004. This top-notch effort should be cellared for 2-3 years, and consumed over the following 20-25 years.

Robert Parker, 2006
  • ws87

Wine SpectatorFirm and dry, this is marked by chewy tannins. The core currant, pencil lead and dusty berry flavors are well-focused and long on the finish. The tannic strength and dryness are my major concerns. Decant. The best of two bottles tasted. Drink now through 2013.

James Laube, October 15, 2007