2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
The question of how to define value seems to linger in the collective consciousness of wine spheres, but remains just as nebulous as explaining quality. Many speculate why an incredibly expensive, esoteric bottle can be such a disappointment whereas a heralded but more easily-acquired wine can deliver satisfaction and enjoyment. Essentially, the core element of wine, outside the realm of pomp and hype, are where Chateau Montelena and this Napa Valley Cabernet are distinguished and continue to thrive year after year. Blending the context of incredible vineyard sites, sustainable farming, ruthless attention to detail, and a relentless drive for improvement is how we define value and quality inside the bottle, where it counts.
Nose Without any effort, dried blueberry and ripe plum are immediately front and center of an incredibly dynamic yet classic nose. A quick swirl of the glass reveals fresh lavender and cocoa, quickly followed by Bing cherry and a hint of black pepper.
Palate The cascade of flavors and textures is prodigious as the palate meanders between rich, dark blackberry jam and lively, almost candied raspberry. The tannins, quite supple at present, add depth and breadth to a robust mouthfeel and converge on subtle earth and tobacco undertones that contrast and highlight the wine’s polished and focused acidity.
Finish Refined and well-integrated, the long, rich finish reveals hints of anise and cedar, which, along with ripe fig and incredibly fine tannin, add additional layers of elegance and grace.
The 2016 growing season has all of the hallmarks of a classic Napa Valley vintage. Late winter rains primed the soil for early vine growth in the spring, with bright summer days unfolding in textbook fashion. There was plenty of warmth, cool afternoon breezes, and a few hot days through July. During the critical month of August, as the vines enter the final period of ripening, temperatures remained moderate and predictable, allowing us to slowly and methodically harvest with flavors and textures at their peak.