Chateau Montelena

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Napa Valley, California

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The wines at Chateau Montelena are often described as having classic “old-world” structure with ripe California fruit, and the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is emblematic of this style. These wines tend to have more acid and more moderate alcohol levels as compared to some of the “cult” Cabs. This combination of classic chemistry and California sunshine allows them to offer immediate pleasure and complexity on release, and the ability to develop beautifully.

The wine is crafted from Montelena estate and prime neighboring vineyards located in the northern end of the Napa Valley, in and around Calistoga, next to primary or secondary tributaries of the Napa River. More specifically, each site has been selected for its alluvium soil profile, which provides an earthy, complex and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is softened by the judicious addition of Merlot, more than the Estate Cabernet, and is aged similarly to the Estate Cabernet, just a few months fewer, and it requires fewer months in barrel before release.



Prime vineyards are located in the northern end of the Napa Valley, in and around Calistoga. All of the sites are located next to primary or secondary tributaries of the Napa River and have been selected for their alluvium soil profile. Soils provide an earthy, complex and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon. The cobbly, gravelly subsoil makes for deep root penetration and good drainage.


The Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has more acid, lower pH and more moderate alcohol levels as compared to some of the flashy “modern” Cabs. The 2017 vintage is made up of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Merlot. The wine is aged in French and Eastern European oak barrels (30% new) for 16 months. The earthy, complex and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon is softened by the judicious addition of Merlot, which results in a medium-bodied wine with depth of flavor.


Plentiful winter rains saturated the soil ahead of a pleasant, moderate spring. The vines responded fittingly with abundant green growth heading into summer. June arrived with periods of warmth punctuated by short bursts of intense heat, which continued through the remainder of the growing season. These somewhat erratic conditions present logistical challenges in the vineyard as careful monitoring of sun exposure and vine health become paramount. But, more importantly, these vintage characteristics provided ample opportunity for those of us watching carefully to harvest fruit with a dizzying diversity of flavors and textures.

Tasting Note

On the nose, cocoa raspberry jam and dried fig highlight a bright, fresh nose that quickly settles into a steady parade of baking spices, black pepper and earth. The palate is deceptively soft initially, the wine continues to build with its viscosity and concentration amidst layers of ripe plum, very fine tannins and espresso bean. A lively ginger note adds a tough of spice, bolstered by dried cherry, tobacco and fresh bright cranberries. The finish is laser-focused, mineral-driven and persistent, not unexpected in a young Cabernet. Delicious now, it will add breadth and polish with time in glass.

Food Pairing

This is a wine that can handle bold flavors and is a great match for a juicy steak or event wild pheasant and duck. It also pairs well with dishes such as beef stew, pot roast, or grilled veal or lamb. Consider enhancing your pairings with rich sauces, like a dark mushroom sauce, red wine reductions, or a hearty peppercorn sauce.



Grape Varieties

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot


Napa Valley, California


Chateau Montelena is committed to sustainable farming and produces wine in their solar powered winery



Suggested Retail Price


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