Chateau Montelena

Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Calistoga, Napa Valley, California

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Jim Barrett’s dream of Chateau Montelena was that this wine, their flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, achieve the balance and complexity of flavors, aromas and textures to be considered among the great examples of Cabernet in the world. Almost since his first vintages in the 1970s, this wine has been a show-stopper that has everything in place, while revealing the majesty and distinctive character of the estate vineyard site in the northern Napa area that the Barretts led to recognition as its own appellation, Calistoga.

Today, the 50-year legacy of excellence in farming, crafting and blending powerful wines and continued innovation and attention to detail is what sets Chateau Montelena Winery apart.


This wine is 100% made with estate fruit. The diversity of soils and slopes where this is grown in Calistoga directly translates to layers of complexity and depth in the glass. The Estate vineyard is comprised of varied terrain, from flat to steep hillsides. The vineyard gently slopes downward towards its base, where a small patch of sedimentary soil was deposited by the settling of an ancient ocean or lake. Extending out from the Napa River is the alluvial soil, the most prevalent type on the property. In the back and outside areas of the vineyard are volcanic soils, formed by ancient lava flows caused by tectonic uplifting.


The wine is made up of 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc. The wine is aged in 100% French oak barrels (28% new) for 20 months. It exuberantly reflects the Calistoga vineyard, while balancing power with an extraordinary ability to age.


When talking about vintages at Montelena, they are often categorized as “hot” or “cool.” Then, occasionally there are years like 2007, which, because of ideal conditions, earn the tag of “Goldilocks,” because everything was just right. Warm spring conditions led to earlier than normal bud break, while the moderate temperatures in summer and early fall further extended the growing season, resulting in long, slow ripening with fantastic flavor development and near perfect juice chemistries.

Tasting Note

Approaching 15 years of age, the 2007 has hit its stride with plenty of life left. Beautifully garnet in color, the wine opens with dried cherries, cinnamon, bergamot and cocoa. There’s a distinct note of cedar here, a hallmark of the Montelena hillside, that’s been prominent in this vintage since it was bottled. While some may be tempted to decant, experiencing the layered, aromatic evolution in the glass is a worthwhile investment of time.

As one would expect, the tannins have mellowed and integrated, although they’re pleasantly dusty and rustic. Tobacco leaf is still noticeably present but it’s balanced by spicy clove, raspberry jam and marzipan. The acid has harmonized as well yet still lends a freshness and tension on the palate.

The finish has softened but becomes more complex over time as the tannins have retreated, revealing black currant, ripe plum and a hint of licorice. Overall, the wine is quite graceful but with plenty of character and even some punch, befitting the vintage and Estate.

Food Pairing

This is a powerhouse wine that can stand up to any number of complex dishes, but can be best enjoyed with beef, lamb, game (deer, venison) and mature, hard cheeses.



Grape Varieties

Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon


Calistoga, Napa Valley, California


The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% estate fruit, all of which is sustainably farmed and produced in their solar powered winery



Suggested Retail Price



"Plush, rich and generously fruited"

Wine Advocate - July 14, 2021

“Deep garnet colored, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate displays a very slowly evolving nose of crème de cassis, chocolate-covered cherries, vanilla pod and smoked meats with touches of dried Provence herbs, cedar chest and cloves. Medium-bodied, plush, rich and generously fruited in the mouth, it has a wonderfully spicy character and long baking spice and black fruit-laced finish." - L.P.B. 


"Suave, fine-grained beauty"

Vinous - July 14, 2021

“Bright ruby-red. Slightly jammy aromas of blackberry, cassis and cherry complemented by spice and cedar nuances. Wonderfully sweet and mouthfilling but not a bit weighty, with its dark berry, spice and tobacco flavors firmed by medicinal menthol and mint notes. This suave, fine-grained beauty can be enjoyed now owing to its superb balance but it also has the penetration and cut to go on for another 20 years. Winemaker Matt Crafton describes 2007 as 'a Goldilocks vintage,' with long, slow ripening, no weather extremes and full flavor development. Finishes very long, with wonderfully suave tannins and no shortage of structure. " - S.T. 


"Full bodied and chewy"

James Suckling - July 14, 2021

"I am loving the intense currants, mint, eucalyptus, and blackberries in the nose. Reminds me of a Lynch Bages or Mouton. Full bodied and chewy, with lovely fruit and round velvety tannins. The finish is packed with some serious fruit, but this could still use some time " - J.S.  


"Blackberry essence"

Wine Enthusiast - July 14, 2021

Cellar Selection 

"Not a wine for drinking now or anytime soon [posted 2/2012]. It's so hard in tannins, it basically locks down the palate, and the astringency seems to accentuate the acidity and dryness. However, there is a deep core of blackberry essence and, after all, this is Montelena. All indications are that it will be a terrific wine in another 8 or 10 years." 


More on Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Wine Icon Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena Co-Hosts Wine Dinner

April 22, 2022 - Bob McGinn of Sarasota Magazine recounts a recent wine dinner at MichaelsWine Cellar,  in Sarasota Florida. He notes that rarely at wine dinners do you get to meet someone from…

Forbes calls out Chateau Montelena as “An American Icon”

May 13, 2022 - [pdf-embedder url="" title="04.27.22 Forbes"]Writer Brian Freedman had the pleasure of attending a 2 hour Zoom call and tasting with Bo Barrett, owner of Chateau Montelena and Matt Crafton, the winemaker. …

Trade Materials

Other Wines by this Producer

Potter Valley Riesling

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Riesling is a hidden gem within the Chateau Montelena portfolio. Many people don’t know it exists, and once they do – they keep coming back for more. Stylistically, it is amazingly refreshing with notes of lemon blossom, honeysuckle and rose petal that are balanced by lively acidity.


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Produced from grapes grown on the Montelena Estate vineyard, the Zinfandel is a classically-structured, subtle and refined wine. More than anything, it hearkens back to the way that Zinfandel was made in the 1960s and 1970s, with completely distinctive, rich and spicy California berry fruit, but a balance that made them no heavier than their Cabernet counterparts.

Napa Valley Chardonnay

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A true icon. The Napa Valley Chardonnay is the wine that put Chateau Montelena and Napa Valley at the forefront of the wine world in 1976, in what is now memorialized as “The Judgment of Paris.” To great disbelief, the Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay was the top-ranking wine against four white Burgundies and five other California Chardonnays. And as they say, the rest is history.

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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The Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon embodies the balance of Montelena, classic “old-world” structure with ripe California fruit.  It is crafted from fruit coming from the Montelena vineyard and several prime neighboring vineyards, all in the Calistoga AVA. The Montelena Napa Cabernet is a wine that delivers immediate pleasure upon release, but in Montelena style, while age and develop beautifully.