2003 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet While the 2002, which was quite extroverted right before bottling, has shut down, the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is still open-knit, although I suspect it will probably close down as well. It exhibits an opaque ruby/purple color along with a sweet, spicy nose of black currants, licorice, herbs, and damp earth. Rich and concentrated, it is the most accessible, and possibly the most elegant and French-oriented of the Cabernets produced between 2002 and 2004. This top-notch effort should be cellared for 2-3 years, and consumed over the following 20-25 read more...years. I have most Montelena Cabernets in my cellar (one of my friends has all of them), but at the end of the tasting, just to prove what aging potential these wines have, we did a blind tasting of a wine I rated 93 and guessed to be a very ripe year such as 1984 or 1990. It turned out to be the 1976 Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast, an amazingly rich wine offering loads of cedar, spice box, and mature Cabernet flavors, a wonderful, sweet, fleshy mid-palate, and beautiful ripeness in the finish. This is another example of why Chateau Montelena over the last thirty years has been the most consistently fine producer of top-flight, world-class Napa Cabernet Sauvignon!Wine Advocate #168 (Dec 2006) 93-95 pts (ST) Good full ruby. Very pure flavors of cassis, blackberry and licorice. Dense, rich and pure, with quintessential cabernet flavors of cassis and licorice. Like a finer-grained, fleshier version of the classic but tightly wound 2001. As rich as it is, this also boasts terrific inner-palate energy. Carries a distinctly moderate 13.8% alcohol. Finishes with big but ripe tannins and superb length. This should age for 15 to 20 years. Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, May/Jun 05 This is a California Wine. (hide)
International Wine CellarRating: 91(+?)? - As reviewed by International Wine Cellar in Issue 126, May/June 2006. Bright ruby-red. Sweet aromas of black cherry, flowers, menthol and creosote. Supple, sweet and fine-grained, though not especially nuanced for this wine. Strong note of chocolate. Finishes with a fairly fine dusting of tannins and lingering notes of cherry and licorice. This seems a bit less vibrant than it was from barrel a year ago. Barrett noted that the December 2005 bottling date was quite late for this wine, and my sample had not yet recovered.
DecanterRating: 4/5 - As reviewed by Decanter. Blackcurrant, elegant use of oak. Very rich, voluptuous, concentrated, dense tannins. A touch austere, which is quite welcome. Very good length. Built to last. Drink 2012-17.