This Zinfandel has a very pleasing, bright, clean ruby color. The nose is loaded with interest, from tobacco and cedar-spice box to classic Zinfandel briar-berry and bright strawberry on top. With a soft entry, the palate builds to a big, jammy mid-palate rich with barrel spice, clean tart blackberry, and velvety tannins throughout. Sweet vanilla notes lead into a smooth, ripe berry finish with hints of passion fruit.
"Normal" is the word of the day for the 2007 vintage, and when it comes to farming, normal is good. When you’re talking about Chateau Montelena, normal is very, very good. We saw historically average timing of bud break and correspondingly, a standard harvest as well.
The growing season here in Calistoga was very even and unremarkable – not too hot, not too cold – which is great for thin-skinned Zinfandel as it raisins quite easily and is more susceptible to rot problems when it rains. In 2007, we saw more even ripening of the grape clusters and the absence of the typical dry heat helped keep sugars (and thus the alcohols) down this season. Crop levels were also up this year, likely due to the lack of extreme temperature in both the spring and the fall.
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines(2002 Vintage) A noticeable bit of muscle that is suggested by the still-nascent aromas and seconded by the tough tannic veneer that coats the ripe, oak-influenced flavors gives this wine a sense of solidity to go with its ripeness and the evident flesh of its underbelly. Allow it a few years to come around.
Robert Parker(2002 Vintage)
Wine Advocate(2005 Vintage) Rating: (86-88) - As reviewed in Wine Advocate # 168 on Dec-06