2012 was one of those vintages that expresses what makes the Montelena Estate a rarity, even in the Napa Valley. The estate vineyard’s porous alluvial soils and craggy volcanic terrain soaked up the late spring rains, which, coupled with copious sunshine and moderate temperatures, set the stage for an ideal growing season. By August, as most of the Valley dealt with scorching weather, the estate vineyard remained cool. Reliable northerly breezes materialized by mid-afternoon as rising warm inland air drew cool air in from the Pacific, thundering down Mount St. Helena. In short, the fruit from this vintage experienced the best of what this vineyard can offer, and the skilled hands at Chateau Montelena crafted a wine of elegance, structure, and finesse.
“From bottle a solid 93. Surprisingly lush and charming for a young Montelena, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate has a deep ruby/purple color, with earthy, black cherry and blackcurrants. The wine has very ripe tannins, and is medium to full-bodied with outstanding purity and balance. Most Montelena estate Cabernets have traditionally required patience, but this one is set for drinking now and over the next 20 years.”
93 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Jan 2015
“Bright medium ruby. Medicinal aromas of blue fruits, minerals, and spices, lifted by an herbal nuance. Rich and dense but with a powerful spine of acidity giving terrific cut to the black fruit and spice flavors. Extremely primary, energetic wine with surprisingly suave tannins for its size and outstanding savory persistence. It’s hardly surprising that Bo Barrett plans to bottle this vintage late–probably not until the end of the year. This should evolve in bottle for 20 years or more.”
(93-95) points, Stephen Tanzer, May 2014
“The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is one of the more open-knit, young Cabernets I can remember tasting at Montelena. Crushed flowers, sweet tobacco, mint, red cherries and plums are some of the signatures. Resonant and silky, the 2012 will drink well pretty much upon release, although today it comes across as less expressive than it was last year. Even so, there is plenty of vintage 2012 radiance and suppleness throughout.”
93+ points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Oct 2015