1983 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

The location of a vineyard is recognized worldwide as one of the most important, if not the most important factor in determining wine quality. The 1983 “El Nino” vintage in the Napa Valley demonstrated this clearly. The unusually heavy winter rains which were followed by still later and more untimely fall-harvest rainstorms had virtually no effect whatsoever on our particular Cabernet vineyard. The sloping rocky soil at Montelena is very well drained and prevented any harm from the rain which ordinarily leads to moldy grapes and unusable fruit. Thus by keeping calm and trusting our vines we rode out the worrisome season and when the beautiful Indian summer rolled in that October, we were picking prime Cabernet at its best.

vintage weather

Cool variable. Record winter rains. Crop down 20% from 1982. Cool spring gave way to a heat spell in mid-July that caused damage. Early crush with a moderate sized crop. Good maturity, clean, balanced fruit.

tasting notes

The 1983 Cabernet is typical of Montelena right from the first glance. Our signature of extremely deep dark color is there and even the "tears" on the side of the glass are rich with a ruby hue. The clean unique earthy-berry aroma that represents the character of our vineyard is ever present, also with hints of licorice and oak. On the palate there is a similar impression of big berry-like flavors and distinctly earthy notes and lots of depth.

Typically, Montelena Cabernets have a nice texture of tannin balanced with a wealth of fruit, but the clean well defined nature of this wine will make it demand less bottle aging than comparable vintages like 1979. True, it will benefit from several more years in the bottle, but in our opinion 1983 was anything but an "iffy" vintage and this wine serves as fair proof.

Harvest Date September 15 to October 17
Sugar At Harvest 23.0º brix
Barrel Aging 24 months
Bottling Date May 1986
Release Date September 1987
Cases Produced 8,517
Alcohol 13.0%