Chateau Montelena “The Montelena Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 [3/cs]

chateau montelena estate napa valley cabernet sauvignon 2003
California Napa Valley
Cabernet and Cabernet Blends
Type: Red Table Wine
Vintage: 2003

Chateau Montelena takes a great deal of pride in the stewardship of their estate vineyard. It’s a reminder that even at the highest level, wine is rooted in agriculture: the relationship between the farmer and his field is a partnership, and human involvement is an integral part of terroir. When we consider what makes a site’s essence, it’s easy to forget the hands that plant the vines, amend the soil, and prune the canes. Chateau Montelena’s long history of classic wines is proof that success isn’t a sprint, but a single leg in a multi-decade marathon.


In 2003 a warm March and wet April set the stage for an excellent growing season that consistent, even sunshine and healthy vines. With no unexpected challenges as the season progressed, a warm September ensured fruit received the optimal amount of heat and sunlight to fully ripen just before they were harvested.


Fourteen years later, the 2003 vintage stands the test of time: the flavours have become complex on the nose and the palate, the tannins velvety and rounded thanks to a great growing season and extended time in the bottle.


“A big wine from the Barrett family (14.2% alcohol), this 2003 exhibits earthy black currant fruit, the restrained but intense Montelena style, full body, good richness and impeccable balance, purity and density. The colour is a healthy dark ruby/purple and the wine shows lots of cassis. In spite of the restrained aromatics, the palate is rich, full-bodied, substantial and persuasive. This 2003 is approachable now, but it will be even more gorgeous 15, 20 and 25 years from now. This is a heritage wine from this great estate in northern Napa Valley.”

94+ points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, June 2013


“Good full ruby. Very pure flavors of cassis, blackberry and licorice. Dense, rich and pure, with quintessential cabernet flavors of cassis and licorice. Like a finer-grained, fleshier version of the classic but tightly wound 2001. As rich as it is, this also boasts terrific inner-palate energy. Carries a distinctly moderate 13.8% alcohol. Finishes with big but ripe tannins and superb length. This should age for 15 to 20 years.”

93-95 points, Stephen Tanzer,, May 2005