1979 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

In June of 1979, just at the time the vines were blooming and the fruit was being set, a hot wind blasted through Montelena’s vineyards causing “shatter” to occur in the Cabernet Sauvignon that resulted in a 40% crop loss. However distressing this seemed at the time, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The lightened crop matured much earlier than normal and fortunately we picked all of our estate grown Cabernet grapes before the rains that hit unexpectedly during the harvest and have consequently given the 1979 vintage mixed reviews for the later maturing varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon.

93Wine Advocate
vintage weather

Cool. Early spring heat waves caused uneven set. Cool growing season, followed by rains at harvest. Early picking resulted in well-balanced, clean fruit.

tasting notes

This wine still has the purple edge of youth adding to its deep color. The nose has a rich varietal aroma of cassis combined with the earthy-berry complex unique to Montelena. Some additional complexity is already emerging and further bottle age will greatly enhance the wine's bouquet. On the palate it has very forward fruit flavors and subtle tones of earth and oak that end in a drawn out finish. With its stylish structure of body, acid and power, it will age excellently for many years to come.

Harvest Date September 17 to 28
Sugar At Harvest 23.6° brix
Barrel Aging 24 months
Bottling Date March 1982
Release Date September 1983
Cases Produced 5,776
Alcohol 13.5%