When we began the process of replanting our Estate Vineyard, we understood that we had been given a unique opportunity to consider the past and how we could further our goal of creating site-driven wines that reflect the unique nature of our soils and the character of each vintage. We have a duty to produce the best wine, and with that in mind we’ve turned to our neighbors who share our fundamental beliefs of respecting and cultivating the best sites in Calistoga. In partnering with them we’ve taken a page out of Montelena history and recreated our Zinfandel by combining the best parts of the old and the new. From the old vines of the Tofanelli Ranch to our brand new Estate Primitivo plantings, we’ve relaunched our Zinfandel and are excited to share it with new packaging, a nod to the Chateau Montelena labels from the 1920’s.
From the outset, 2013 had the makings of a blockbuster year. Little to no spring rain set the vineyards up for early season stress, resulting in concentrated fruit with deep, dark color. The old vines thrived in the heat of the summer and ripening progressed slowly and methodically. Compared to the acclaimed 2012 vintage, the 2013 wines will be remembered for their density and power.
In the glass, our goal was to take the innate concentration of the vintage and marry it with the elegance and finesse that our vineyards express. This acute interplay is evidenced both aromatically and texturally. Cocoa, espresso, and cedar, readily apparent on the nose as the wine is poured, transition slowly to ripe blackberry, fig, and mint. The acidity on the front of the palate is contrasted and balanced by density and richness, along with notes of raspberry jam, dried blueberries, and cherry candy. The finish returns to the vineyard with a rustic earthiness and supple, yet chewy tannins.-Winemaker's Notes
Chateau Montelena was founded in 1882 by Alfred Tubbs. The renaissance of the winery, under the leadership of James Barrett, began in 1972 with the replanting of the Estate vineyard and the establishment of the Chateau Montelena philosophy: make the best, period. Today the tradition continues. Jim Barrett's son, Bo, winemaker at Chateau Montelena beginning in 1982, is now its Master Winemaker. After more than three decades of experience with the same vineyards and varieties, the Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Napa Valley Chardonnay are recognized as world-class.