(30% new oak): Bright ruby-red. Captivating, high-pitched aromas of cassis, licorice pastille, bitter chocolate, violet, rose petal and mocha. Juicy and tightly wound, with fresh acidity energizing the middle palate but keeping the wine's dark berry flavors restrained today. There's a lightly peppery quality that gives away the vintage, but this highly aromatic wine is a big success for the year and very well made. (ST)
A red with blueberry and cherry character, plus hints of bark. Medium body with fine tannins and a savory finish. Fine wine for the vintage. Drink now. (JS)
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a pretty wine from Chateau Montelena. Expressive floral and savory notes add complexity to the dark, pliant fruit in a soft, open Cabernet that is already quite tasty. I expect the 2011 will drink well early, but then again, these wines can be deceptively age worthy. That said, there are no hard edges or vegetal notes at all. Montelena's 2011 Estate impresses for its balance and overall sense of harmony. (AG)
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