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June 30, 2015

Chateau Montelena, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay 2012

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We are delighted to be able to offer the new 2012 vintage of the legendary Estate Chateau Montelena, en primeur, at these special pre-release prices. The quality of the 2012 vintage in California is extraordinary and the 2012 and 2013s have been compared to the 2009s and 2010s in Bordeaux. The market is experiencing superb demand for 2012 releases and we expect the same, if not greater demand for the most venerable of all California Estates, the history of which is nothing short of legend.

Chateau Montelena is arguably Napa’s most iconic wine. An earlier incarnation of the Napa Valley Chardonnay we are offering today, the 1973 vintage, won the judgement of Paris in 1976, beating all other Napa and Burgundy whites entered. This remarkable achievement alerted the world to the superb quality of the leading Napa Valley wines and cementing Chateau Montelena’s place in wine folklore. A bottle of the 1973 vintage can be found today in the Smithsonian National Museum of American history. The events that lead to this are well documented in the 2008 film bottle shock.

Today their Napa Valley Chardonnay continues to be one of the very best and Parker gives it one of the highest accolades by saying, You know you’re doing something right when, after 45 years of Chardonnay winemaking, they name a California Chardonnay style after your winery, the “Montelena style.” In short, it means a non-malolactic, minimally oaked Chardonnay. It also continues to offer incredible value for money on release, £26.66 per bottle at today’s special price.

While the Napa Valley Chardonnay took the accolades in 1976 it is Cabernet Sauvignon Estate that today steals the show. In 2012 they have succeeded in making one of their greatest ever wines, scoring 94+ from Antonio Galloni, 93-95 from Stephen Tanzer and 93 from Robert Parker. At today’s price of £300 per case of six bottles their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon offers pretty much the best value one can find in Napa Valley. In fact it is one of the most sought after Cabernets in California and certainly one of the best. As such there is an excellent vintage premium, with prices rising very quickly, as can be demonstrated by the table below, which represents similar scoring vintages to the stellar 2012.

table

Cabernet Sauvignon has been made at the Estate since 1882 and the vines today have an average age of well over 30 years. The Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is known for being one of the most precise, balanced and delicate Napa Cabs on the market. The 2012 is one of their greatest ever wines, it is extremely collectable and a truly iconic wine to share with friends and reminisce on how far Napa has come over the last forty years. It can be drunk young and will age and improve for decades.

The Chardonnay will be available for delivery in October 2015 and the glorious Estate Cabernet in February 2016

Chateau Montelena, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 6×75 – £300 EP or 3×150 – £315 EP

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media, 94+ points
Montelena’s 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine. Rich, ample and generous, but very much within the Montelena style, the 2012 captures the essence of the year in its pure resonance and sikiness. Dark red stone fruits, plums, menthol and tobacco with bramby undertones emerge over time, but the flavors are quite primary and undeveloped, all of which bode extremely well for the future. I expected the 2012 will offer a long and broad drinking window of pure pleasure. Drink 2017-2042 

93-95 points, Stephen Tanzer
Bright medium ruby. Medicinal aromas of blue fruits, minerals and spices, lifted by an herbal nuance. Rich and dense but with a powerful spine of acidity giving terrific cut to the black fruit and spice flavors. Extremely primary, energetic wine with surprisingly suave tannins for its size and outstanding savory persistence. It’s hardly surprising that Bo Barrett plans to bottle this vintage late–probably not until the end of the year. This should evolve in bottle for 20 years or more.  

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 93 points 
From bottle a solid 93. Surprisingly lush and charming for a young Montelena, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate has a deep ruby/purple color, with earthy, black cherry and blackcurrants. The wine has very ripe tannins, and is medium to full-bodied with outstanding purity and balance. Most Montelena estate Cabernets have traditionally required patience, but this one is set for drinking now and over the next 20 years

Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley Chardonnay 2012, 6×75 – £320 EP or 3×150 – £330 EP

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media, 91 points
Montelena’s 2012 Chardonnay has developed beautifully over the last year. Silky and generous on the palate, the 2012 is all about texture. White peach, lemon oil, spice and almond notes woven together in a very pretty, highly expressive Chardonnay…

Stephen Tanzer, 92 points
(just 8% new oak): Bright yellow. Rather Chablis-like aromas of apple and resin, plus a hint of honey. Sweet and ripe in the nature of the vintage, offering a touch of creaminess to the flavors of fresh peach, apple, herbs and spices. Shows a broad spectrum of ripeness without any obvious extremes. A very successful vintage for this wine.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90+ points 
You know you’re doing something right when, after 45 years of Chardonnay winemaking, they name a California Chardonnay style after your winery, the “Montelena style.” In short, it means a non-malolactic, minimally oaked Chardonnay. This estate has long made one of the best examples of a quiet, restrained Chardonnay that ages for 20 or more years. Montelena’s 2012 Chardonnay possesses zesty acidity as well as hints of white currants, delicate wood, tangerine oil and spice. Long and zesty with no noticeable oak (despite its barrel aging), it should drink well for 10-15 years. Drinks 2014 – 2029

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