1994 Calistoga Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon

1994 was an excellent year for the farming of quality wine grapes. The weather pattern during the growing season was warm days with cool nights - what we always hope for. During the critical time of ripening and flavor development, which is after verasion and through harvest, the weather was especially cooperative, typified by cool (50 degree) nights, overcast mornings and warm days - much of the reason why the ‘94 vintage is so highly praised. The Calistoga District is known for high daytime temperatures and cold nights, and when coupled with Calistoga’s higher elevations and austere soils, the much heralded 1994 vintages’ weather effects on red wines are even more pronounced.

The Chateau Montelena Calistoga Cuvee wine is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, but also Merlot and Cabernet Franc from vineyards spread throughout the upper Napa Valley. These vineyards have been selected and the wines blended (the "Cuvee" translation) to show the bountiful characteristics of Red wines from Calistoga. Thus this wine truly is a "cuvee" of the Calistoga District.

vintage weather

Temperate Consistent. Low rainfall, with classic warm days and cool nights all season long. Overcast mornings and warm afternoons all the way from veraison through harvest. Grapes ripened steadily and harvest was very orderly. Crop size above average, with excellent maturation and flavors.

tasting notes

This wine has a generous black currant jam and spice aroma, with some background tones of cedary Merlot and blueberry Cabernet Franc - very typical of the Calistoga District - and the color is dark ruby red. It is tasty with intense flavors of juicy berry and Cabernet Varietal spice that follow the nose. There is a very bright palate entry with big round fruit in a soft package. With moderate tannins and very fat on the palate it has a good "Red Wine" feel. The texture is key, a round feeling and rich tasting wine, with the concentration for which the Calistoga District is famous. Most importantly for you, the "user friendly" nature of the Calistoga Cuvee does not demand years of cellaring prior to finding a supple drinkability. I think this is a wine you will have a hard time passing up when looking in the cellar for a bottle to enjoy with tonight's fare; it's a finely crafted Calistoga Cabernet from a great vintage. That is a tough combination to beat if you like red wine!

Harvest Date Merlot September 10; Cab Suv September 19-October 1
Sugar At Harvest 22.4° to 24.5° brix
Barrel Aging 12 to 16 months
Release Date September 1996
Alcohol 13.5%