Chateau Montelena Estate Zinfandel 2018
- Napa Valley,Calistoga
Long before they were confirmed to be two clones of the same grape variety, we noticed the synergies between Zinfandel and Primitivo in the bottle. Classic, heritage Zinfandel is a match for Calistoga: slightly rustic, occasionally briary, but rich and full-bodied when ripe. Primitivo, conversely, leans toward the red side of the flavor spectrum with ample acidity and incredible freshness.
Both exhibit unique expressions of our Estate vineyard and therein lies the creative challenge: how to blend these disparate characteristics into a wine that is delicious, ageable and complex. Thankfully, it’s due to this paradox that the profile has become so legendary and certainly rare in Napa Valley. Our Zinfandel is not like the others, and we’re perfectly fine with that.
NOSE: Brimming with fresh fruit, the aromas are dominated by ripe raspberry and cranberry, leaning southern Italian in style at first. However, after a few minutes, the Zinfandel component becomes more prominent and robust as blackberry jam, hoisin, and savory herbs appear, lending some allure as well as familiarity. It’s the nexus of these disparate, yet harmonious red and dark fruit characteristics that’s emblematic of Montelena wines and our Calistoga vineyard.
PALATE: The elegance of 2018 comes through immediately on the palate. Laserfocused acidity and strawberry slowly merge with sweet baking spices, dried cherry and earth. The tannins are soft enough to balance the acidity without overwhelming the steady stream of candied fruit. Medium bodied, the weight of the wine adds depth without the need for extended aging.
FINISH: As the fruit subsides, the brambly nature of Zinfandel comes to the forefront; first as mint and then as black pepper and tea. The tannins here are more chalky, almost chewy, and complement the subtle notes of smoke and pipe tobacco exceedingly well.- 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.