2007 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet
When you talk about vintages at Montelena, they are often categorized as "hot" or "cool." Then occasionally there are years like 2007 which, because of their ideal conditions, earn the tag of "Goldilocks" because everything was just right. Warm spring conditions led to earlier than normal bud break, while the moderate temperatures in summer and early fall further extended the growing season, resulting in long, slow ripening with fantastic flavor development and near-perfect juice chemistries.
Medium red. Cherry, redcurrant and floral aromas are complicated by a whiff of soil. Offers good sweetness and breadth to its spicy, bright red fruit flavors. Finishes with a fine dusting of tannins and a hint of mocha. The fruit is mostly from Game Farm Vineyard in Oakville, which McMahon says features "rocky Tuscan soil." This will be bottled in July.
Chateau Montelena’s history is one of the deepest and most storied in the Napa Valley and California. Founded just north of Calistoga by a senator and San Francisco entrepreneur in 1882 at the turn of the century, it was one of the largest wineries in the state. Prohibition put an end to Montelena’s winemaking, and the next major era began in 1968, when Jim Barrett purchased the estate. Jim fell in love with this exceptional property, blessed with a complex mix of soils, slopes and biodiversity of wildlife and fauna. He had a dream of creating wine at the level of the great First Growths of Bordeaux, and set about replanting the vineyard, outfitting the winery with modern equipment, and studying the processes necessary for farming and winemaking at the highest quality level.
In 1976 Chateau Montelena put California at the forefront of the wine world. That year a who’s-who of the French wine and food establishment gathered for a grand tasting at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Paris. Four white Burgundies were tasted against six California Chardonnays. When the scores were tallied, the French Judges were convinced that the top-ranking white wine was one of their own. In fact, it was Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay, rated above all other wines. This seminal event has been memorialized in the book "The Judgment of Paris," by George Taber, as well as in the 2008 feature film Bottle Shock.
Today Chateau Montelena’s distinct 19th century stone structure stands as a quality icon in Napa Valley, consistently producing some of the finest wines in California. Master Winemaker Bo Barrett, Jim’s son, now runs the estate with the help of Winemaker Matt Crafton and Vineyard Manager Dave Vella.
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Outer quote mark Deep garnet colored, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate displays a very slowly evolving nose of crème de cassis, chocolate-covered cherries, vanilla pod and smoked meats with touches of dried Provence herbs, cedar chest and cloves. Medium-bodied, plush, rich and generously fruited in the mouth, it has a wonderfully spicy character and long baking spice and black fruit-laced finish. (LPB) Inner quote mark (2/2018)
95 points Vinous
Outer quote mark Bright ruby-red. Slightly jammy aromas of blackberry, cassis and cherry complemented by spice and cedar nuances. Wonderfully sweet and mouthfilling but not a bit weighty, with its dark berry, spice and tobacco flavors firmed by medicinal menthol and mint notes. This suave, fine-grained beauty can be enjoyed now owing to its superb balance but it also has the penetration and cut to go on for another 20 years. Winemaker Matt Crafton describes 2007 as 'a Goldilocks vintage,' with long, slow ripening, no weather extremes and full flavor development. Finishes very long, with wonderfully suave tannins and no shortage of structure. (ST) Inner quote mark (5/2019)