1991 Calistoga Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon

The Calistoga District, surrounded on three sides by mountains, is a unique area of the Napa Valley due to its formation millennia ago by the headwaters of the Napa River. The river deposited layer upon layer of different soils, resulting in special plots of land, many of which today are planted to vineyards. Throughout the Montelena Estate vineyard, we have seven different soils, which with various subsoils, evolve into fifteen distinct soil patterns. Because of these slight soil and climate variations, each vineyard block makes a different wine.

Like the traditional Chateaux of Bordeaux, we select only those lots of wine for the Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon that are truly consistent with out style of richness and balance. When we craft the master blend, there is usually some wine remaining that, for stylistic reasons, is not included. This wine, for those of you familiar with our vineyard, is from our bigger vines east of the creek on the A, B and J blocks.

Over the years, through improved farming methods, we've enhanced the quality of these grapes. As the core of Calistoga Cuvee, they now deserve the Chateau Montelena label. For this, our debut vintage, we have carefully selected additional lots from other local sources to blend with these grapes to make a wine that expresses the characteristics of the Calistoga district.

vintage weather

Cool. Light winter rains but good March precipitation helped soil moisture through to harvest. Cool growing season with warming right at harvest, so everything got nice and ripe. Fairly big crop with very good maturity and concentration of flavors.

tasting notes

Unlike the Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, which we release four years after harvest, we have fashioned Calistoga Cuvee for release and enjoyment two years after the vintage. The color is deep garnet and the nose is super spicy-berry, with a hint of French oak and a little bit of cedar. The wine is of medium density with lots of ripe Cabernet flavors and has a nice, soft feel to it. It finishes smoothly and the abundant fruit balances the tannin. It is likely you will be surprised by the early drinkability of this Cabernet, even though it is still a substantial and true-to-type Claret. The wine will be quite tasty at release, and will also reward you with further bottle ageing of one to three years.

Harvest Date October 1991
Barrel Aging 10 to 14 months
Bottling Date April 1993
Release Date September 1, 1993
Alcohol 13.5%