2000 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2000 vintage was long, with cool weather for the entire growing season keeping the vineyard moving at a slow pace. Even harvest was long and slow, with our longest crush ever in 30+ years at the old Chateau. We started harvest on August 29th and did not finish the last Cabernet blocks until October 28th. Two long months! A light Estate Cabernet crop was forecast and the crop came in even lighter. Meager vine growth in 1999 had not provided much good bud-wood for the 2000 season, so we started out with smaller vines, and we had some cluster loss from windy heat in June. The low yields became a blessing, since the smaller crop allowed our vineyard to ripen well in this cool vintage.

Of equal significance is the fact that our hillside volcanic soil blocks yielded close to average tonnage. These blocks are the first to ripen, ensuring that we didn't have to rush to pick all the Cab right at the end of the season. The slightly elevated proportion of these blocks also shows nicely in the finished wine, as the volcanic soils yield grapes with more spicy and cedary notes than those from other soils on the Estate.

90Wine Advocate
90International Wine Cellar

"Red-ruby. Claret-like aromas of black cherry, plum, currant, cocoa powder, loam, smoke and spice. Rich, dense and supple, with depth of flavor for the year and very good vinosity. Rather showy wine, with the characteristic medicinal-but-sweet flavors of Montelena. Tannins spread out nicely on the lingering finish."

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar
vintage weather

Cool. Average rainfall. Growing season dominated by cool weather and spikes of intense heat. Cluster loss from windy heat in June kept yield low. The light crop allowed full ripening and harvesting before the onset of wet weather. The wine is very refined, high quality.

tasting notes

We see a deep garnet red in the glass, nice dark claret. The nose is complex with ripe cassis and raspberry aromas, as well as hints of spice and earth. The cool vintage allows the signature terroir of the Montelena Estate vineyard to show much more than in a warmer vintage. The palate is rich but soft with great varietal flavors like warm cassis and red berries and with a very polished and supple tannin structure.

In the end 2000 is a rich yet elegant vintage where Montelena's traditional winemaking techniques and low vineyard yields combine to give a classically-styled wine: ripe yet accessible. Sneak this one into the area of your cellar where you keep your "first growths" because stylistically that's where it fits best.

After a special July 2010 tasting, wine journalist Laurie Daniel published her notes on this vintage: "Dark, but with a red fruit character. Elegant with notes of cedar, anise and fine tannins."

Harvest Date Sept. 15 to Oct. 27
Sugar At Harvest 22.5° to 25.9° brix
Barrel Aging 18 to 20 months
Bottling Date August 2002
Release Date March 2004
Cases Produced 8,300
Alcohol 14.0%