The wines at Chateau Montelena are often described as having classic “old-world” structure with ripe California fruit. In years like 2017, 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 final blend combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and 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.