LCBO Vintages Release
The wines at Chateau Montelena are often described as having classic “old-world” structure with ripe California fruit. In years like 2014, this description holds true. These wines tend to have more acid, lower pH, and more moderate alcohol levels compared to some flashy “modern” Cabs. This classic chemistry allows them to pair very well with a variety of dishes, and sets them up for graceful ageing. The beauty of the style is that you get all the wonderful ripe flavours that California is known for, but with more expression of place, and less noise and distraction from high alcohol and overwhelming new oak.
The weather in 2014 couldn’t have been better. With persistent questions of long-term drought lingering, the mild, cool spring that materialized eased those concerns as the growing season stretched into a moderately warm, pleasant summer. The textbook conditions allowed the vines to set a bumper crop.
The final blend combines 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. The nose is rich, with blackberry jam, vanilla, and allspice yielding to dried plum and coffee bean. The palate is deceptively soft up front, with strawberry and raspberry immediately apparent. These flavours become more concentrated as tannins and acidity come into focus. The finish is elegant and balanced, drawing in bright acidity and a chalky minerality. Chateau Montelena fans will find the complexity, elegance, and Old World – New World balance they’ve come to expect.
“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 flavours 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.”
92 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Dec 2016