1995 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

The vintage of 1995 was very interesting. Bud break was the earliest since 1988 yet April, May, and June were colder than normal, resulting in a delayed growing season. But the best was saved for last: the ripening season, the period after veraison and through harvest, was especially cooperative with truly miraculous ripening weather for more than 6 weeks. Cabernet Sauvignon was truly excellent this year. The moderate heat during this prolonged period resulted in excellent richness and fruit content. Of the great vintages of the 90’s the ’95 is a more classical, old-world structure type vintage. During the harvest we thought the finished wine would resemble the 1985 vintage. But during its time in the cellar and after bottling we realized that while this vintage possesses a classic structure there is much riper fruit throughout the wine.

94Wine Advocate
91International Wine Cellar
vintage weather

Cool. Well above average rainfall. Bloom, veraison and harvest all later than normal. Great ripening weather for 6 weeks.

tasting notes

In the glass it has one of the most intense, aromatic noses ever for a young Montelena Cab. To me, metaphorically at least, the bouquet boils out of the glass like a punch in the nose. Usually it takes a bit more bottle age to develop this intensity, and it will continue to evolve in the future. With our signature inky color and awesome bouquet it is complex and absolutely typical of Chateau Montelena, boasting our unique earthy-berry characteristics and hints of rich, tonal black tea. As it should be, the palate is equally attention getting. It is very rich and bold, almost too complex to simply describe, but since you are trying to read this instead of drinking a glass I'll try. It rolls across the palate with waves of cassis-berry, smoke, earth and spice. It is very classic in weight and balance, sort of a Bordeaux framework with California richness and big fruit. It has great tannin balance, big yet supple ripe tannins - very clearly a well executed great vintage from a great vineyard. As far as ageability we see a huge potential and it will easily go 20 years, it's that loaded with fruit and well balanced. As you can tell we think we did a good job on this one and hope you will too.

After a special July 2010 tasting, wine journalist Laurie Daniel published her notes on this vintage: "Leathery aromas, with flavors of black cherry and earth and fine tannins."

Harvest Date September 28 to October 29
Sugar At Harvest 23.2° to 24.4° brix
Barrel Aging 16 to 22 months
Bottling Date August 1997
Release Date March 1999
Cases Produced 11,000
Alcohol 13.5%