The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is a terrific introduction to the vintage at Montelena. Brisk and energetic, the 2014 offers a good bit of nuance and aromatic complexity. The flavors are dark and intense, but the 2014 is very much medium in body, as these wines are. There is no shortage of muscle and power, especially at this level. Hints of iron, smoke, leather and herbs inform the muscular, virile finish. This is a terrific set of new releases from Bo Barrett and winemaker Matt Crafton. After a bit of back and forth in recent years on the stylistic direction of the wines - the Cabernets in particular - Barrett seems to have settled into a very comfortable place, as is evidenced by the stellar 2014s. It will be interesting to see how things unfold in coming years. The 2014s seem to point to a slightly more classic style than the (admittedly) slight move to a sweeter, riper style seen in some recent vintages. (AG)
This was Matt Crafton’s first vintage as winemaker at Chateau Montelena, having joined as assistant winemaker in 2008. The wine’s fruit tastes of sweet red plums, while its scent hints at violets and roses. The tannins ground it in Calistoga, with an iron-like note under mint, and cocoa richness. Decant it if you open the wine now, for seared duck breast, or hold onto it for five or six years.
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)