1990 Montelena Estate Zinfandel

Zinfandel vines are the last of our varieties here at the Chateau Montelena Estate to “bud out,” that is, begin their spring growth after winery dormancy. This is why they are also the last vines to begin their flowering and pollination?the “bloom.” In 1990, the continuing drought conditions were mitigated by strong rains in late May, which were essential to enable the vines to thrive during the dry season, but heavy rain at bloom washes the pollen off the grape flowers and reduces the size of the crop.

Good luck intervened with the Zinfandel. Because of its late bloom, it missed the earlier rain, which limited the size of our Cabernet Sauvignon crop. This was followed by good, warm weather in the later summer, great for ripening all wine grapes, but especially good for the often uneven ripening of Zinfandel. We picked the Zin in the third week of September and right from the first load of grapes to the winery, we knew we had a fine vintage.

vintage weather

Temperate Consistent. Low rainfall, droughty conditions, then heavy rain during bloom reduced yield by 50%. Remaining year was routine with good ripening and good fruit development. Complex and concentrated wine.

tasting notes

This wine is what I look for in a Zinfandel! A good, dark ruby color fills the glass. The nose invites you further with lots of brambly, jammy, blackberry character, tinged with smoke that is unique to this grape variety. On the palate, it has a good entry, smooth and strong varietal flavors following the aromas. The warm, rich burst of flavors gives way to mouth-filling fruit, then goes on to a hint of oak and earth later in the long finish.

We are very excited to see the blend of fresh fruitiness and old vine depth of flavor develop in the Estate Zinfandel vineyard as the vines reach their magical twentieth birthday with the 1992 vintage. Old vines give the big and tasty nature of this Zinfandel: a combination of nuance and richness that only comes from a mature single vineyard. Chateau Montelena Zinfandel is one of the most distinctive wines you will ever experience. There is truly nothing else like it?anywhere in the world! Please taste it for yourself and see how much you like it.

Harvest Date September 16 to September 22
Sugar At Harvest 24.2º brix
Barrel Aging 12 months
Bottling Date March 1992
Release Date March 1993
Alcohol 14.1%