1992 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

1992 was probably as close to our own definition of the fabled “perfect” vintage as we are ever likely to see. It was cool, then hot, then cool, then hot. We enjoyed a prolonged period of very hot days and cold nights, temperatures over 100° during the day and below 60° at night. This large temperature differential always bodes well for strong flavor development in red wines.

The importance of temperature differential is well acknowledged in every great red wine area of the world because, as you will see when you taste this wine, it results in super flavors. The heat of the day produces ripe, jammy fruit flavors and the cold nights maintain the balance and classic structure in the wines. When combined with our complex soil profiles, the higher elevation of the Montelena Estate vineyard and the descending nighttime cold air from Mt. St. Helena create this rare phenomena and the evidence is in the unique wines from the Montelena Estate.

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vintage weather

Temperate Consistent. Low rainfall, with classic warm days and cool nights throughout the season. Harvest started a little earlier then normal. Cooling trend after Labor Day allowed for more hang time and strong flavor development.

tasting notes

The color is typical Montelena - impenetrably dark garnet, almost black. Even the "legs" on the glass have deep color. The nose is very ripe and full of the unique characteristics of our vineyards; strong berry and black cherry fruits with our signature earthy aromas as a background quality. The intense bouquet has many layers and evolves remarkably in the glass over time. The palate is broad and bold with spice, earthiness and an unlimited bounty of Cabernet flavors. In my opinion, the best thing about this wine is that it is so smooth and supple yet possesses great power and concentration. We have been working hard in the cellar to attain this and it is also evident in the long and exceptionally supple aftertaste that lingers with a wonderful balance of spice, earth and jammy fruit.

We think this is a perfect wine for aging - as long as you have the patience and fortitude to keep yourself from drinking it all up. Do yourself a favor and hide at least a few bottles because we're extremely confident it will age magnificently. We're also quite sure you can figure out for yourselves, and enjoy doing so immensely, what meal will best complement this wine… Have fun!

After a special July 2010 tasting, wine journalist Laurie Daniel published her notes on this vintage: "Ripe black fruit with notes of chocolate, cedar and black olive. Firm tannins."

Harvest Date August 31 to October 3
Barrel Aging 18 to 20 months
Bottling Date August 1994
Release Date March 1996
Cases Produced 12,000
Alcohol 13.5%