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  • 1994 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 6.0 liter bottle

1994 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 6.0L

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1994 was an excellent year for the farming of quality wine grapes. The overall weather during the growing season was typically warm days with cool nights, precisely the conditions we always hope for. The weather during the critical ripening and flavor development stagewhich is after veraison and through harvestwas especially cooperative with many cool nights, overcast mornings and warm days. With Calistoga’s higher elevations and austere soils, the much-heralded 1994 vintage’s weather effects on red wines are even more pronounced. This ideal weather is fundamental to why the ‘94 Napa vintage is being so highly praised. Our crop was light normal at 2.6 to 3.2 tons per acre. Similar vintages have been 1978, 1990 and 1984.

1994 is also the first vintage to include our hillside grapes, planted in 1989, in any appreciable percentage. Slightly more than 10% of the Montelena Estate blend comes from these plantings and a bit of the hillside extract is showing an intense perfume nose. This sub-tone carries through on the palate as an intensified spice that carries longer onto the finish.  The character we get from our 20+ year old vines, balanced with our trademark earthy berry spice from the low yields of dry farmed and hillside fruit, gives complexity and elegance along with the power you expect from Montelena. (The Montelena Estate is one of the few great Napa properties that has not been replanted due to phylloxera. We always wanted low yields and planted the entire Estate to St. George rootstock.)

The 1994 is the most balanced, in a California Style, of the great 90’s vintages we have released. Ripe, varietal Cabernet fruit drives the nose. As expected, it has a ripe, rich berry nose, extracted and jammy with great perfume. On the palate, it is very massive and richly fruited. The body is thick with ripe, chewy tannins and gives great length. It is very concentrated with the classic Montelena earthy berry complex and has many layers of flavor and aroma from our diverse terroir, the soil system. The fruit carries into a very long and smooth finish.

-Winemaker Bo Barrett

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