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1991 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

  • 95 WA
  • 91 WS
  • 97 IWC
  • Variety
    Cabernet Sauvignon
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SKU: 54555-1991-750-3A

This item is available by the case only


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  • Wine Advocate | Rating: 95

    Montelena's incredible 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is an exceptional wine. It may be the most promising vintage among the bevy of Montelena Cabernets produced over the last two decades, rivaling even the winery's profound 1987. The 1991 is extremely closed and backward, and in need of 5-6 years of cellaring. The color is a dense, opaque purple. The nose offers up Chateau Montelena's tell-tale signature - abundant, pure aromas of cassis, minerals, and spicy oak. Full-bodied, spectacularly rich, and highly extracted, with moderate to high tannin, this is a youthful, exuberant, stunning example of blockbuster Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Its inner core of cassis fruit is something to savor! It should hit its peak around the turn of the century and last for 20 years thereafter. Don't miss it!
    Author: Robert Parker
  • Wine Spectator | Rating: 91

    Smooth, rich and intense without being overly tannic. The core of black cherry, anise, blackberry and currant flavors is well-focused, turning supple, with persistent flavors on the finish.--'81/'91 California Cabernet retrospective.
    Author: James Laube
  • International Wine Cellar | Rating: 97

    What a thrill it is to drink Montelena's 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that takes hold of all the sense and never lets up. Imposing and intense, the 1991 is simply riveting. The flavors are dark, intense and savory, but it is the wine's silkiness that stands out above all else. Well-stored bottles will continue to drink beautifully for another decade-plus. 97 - Antonio Galloni
  • Self | Rating: 95

    Author: kevinfarnham
  • Self | Rating: 92

    Drink Dates: 2009-2011
    Author: Walter Z
  • Self | Rating: 91

    Approaching full maturity. Well balanced with accessable tanins.
    Drink Dates: 2009-2012
    Author: Charles M71
  • Self | Rating: 97

    at its peak. Will last a few more years. Wonderful nose old leather and black currents. lots of fruit left. Unmistakeable Montelena with a long finish.
    Drink Dates: 2013-2018
    Author: Bobh
  • Anonymous | Rating:

    Delicious and should be drunk.
    Author: Chez Fisher
  • Anonymous | Rating:

    Drank 12/26/07. Excellent - very smooth, but nearly too light.
    Author: Nick Riley
  • Self | Rating: 94

    Fully mature but tastes like it could last another 5-10 years. Massive, with currants, cedar and chocolate on the palate, well integrated tannins and a moderate finish. A very good wine that needs a big steak to stand up to it.
    Author: Scooter
  • Self | Rating: 98

    Fully mature. Currants, leather, tobacco, mint, stone. Long finish. Drink up!
    Drink Dates: 2011-2015
    Author: Patrick
  • Self | Rating: 96

    great bottle
    Author: Johnnymd
  • Self | Rating: 91

    popped and drunk over the following 3.5 hours. dark garnet with no lightening at the rim. Still amazingly young for an 18-yr old cab. black fruits, cassis, and earth on the nose. in the mouth still quite tannic but fairly well balanced. long finish. i think there will be more development in the bottle, and would recommend waiting a bit for remaining bottles.
    Author: Jeff
"This soars out of the ordinary." -TIME, June 7, 1976 (Judgement of Paris, tasting quote)

This quote embodies the dedication to quality and the consistently elegant, classical style Chateau Montelena has embraced since the early days. The current offerings continue to display adherence to that handcrafted heritage. One of the original "blue-chip" estates of Napa, its illustrious history began in 1882 when Alfred L. Tubbs struck a deal to purchase 254 acres of land at the base of Mount St. Helena, two miles north of Calistoga. "Montelena" is a contracted form of Mount Saint Helena.

The present renaissance of this legendary estate began in 1972 under the leadership of James Barrett. It was thrust into the limelight after the famous Paris Tasting of 1976 when its 1973 Chardonnay walked away from stunned French judges with 1st place in the Chardonnay category. The continuing top-ranking results are testimony to the efforts of James' son Beau, who has maintained the quality performance level since 1982.
Click here to listen to GrapeRadio's podcast about Ch. Montelena (Show #103, 46:36 min 21 MB)

See other similar producers:Krupp Brothers Estates,Silver Oak Cellars,Duckhorn Wine Company

California is the heartland of wine production in the US, and the state that brought prestige to American wine thanks to the pioneers who built early wineries like Staglin, Beringer, Ridge, Mayacamas and Chateau Montelena in the 1800s. Its large geographic area ensures a great diversity in growing sites, varieties grown, and quality levels. Generalizations about the state's wines have numerous exceptions; however, a few key facts generally hold true—ample sunshine, dry weather during the growing season, and moderate winters prevail. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon continue to dominate the state's production—albeit in continually smaller percentages, as growers continue to diversify. More than 100 different varieties can be found throughout the state.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a thick-skinned variety that is high in color, flavor, tannin, and body, displaying aromas of black currant, blackberry, violet, bell pepper, and black cherry. It is late-ripening and therefore struggles to grow in cool climates. Quality can vary tremendously depending on terroir, vineyard management, and winemaking style, with the highest quality wines coming from the Haut-Médoc and Graves in Bordeaux, and Napa and Sonoma in California.

The powerful flavors, tannin, and body of Cabernet Sauvignon make it well suited to ageing and allow it to stand up to a large proportion of new oak without overpowering the wine. 225-litre barriques are the most popular size barrel and French oak is commonly used by the best producers to add structural complexity and flavors of chocolate, vanilla, and clove to the nose and palate. The best wines, many of which are below, can age further in the bottle for decades.

Old-World Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with Merlot, which ripens earlier than Cabernet and adds plum, softer tannin, and lighter body to this Bordeaux blend. These wines typically have earth-driven aromas such as wet leaves and truffle along with bell peppers and leather. First-Growth producers such as Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Latour, and Château Margaux consistently produce some of the highest-quality Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends.

New-World Cabernet Sauvignon is seen both as a blend and single varietal. Warmer climates and long sunlight hours result in an extended growing season, bearing grapes with richer fruit, bigger tannin, higher alcohol, and lower acidity than their Old-World counterparts. Some of the best expressions of these full-bodied wines come from producers like Screaming Eagle, Hundred Acre, Schrader and Scarecrow.

All Cabernet Sauvignon pairs phenomenally well with meat-forward dishes such as rib-eye steak, short ribs, lamb shank, or a cheeseburger. Vegetable-forward dishes featuring mushrooms are also a great choice for this variety. 

Collector Data For This Wine

  • 1234 bottles owned
  • 265 collectors
  • Average collector rating: 94
    (Out of 265 collectors)