Consistently a low to mid-ninety point Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Montelena's 1985 remains frightfully backward at nearly ten years of age. The 1985, 1987, and 1991 have the potential to be three of the longest-lived Montelena Cabernets this fine winery has ever produced. In this tasting, the 1985 was unevolved and youthful, with an opaque ruby/purple color, and a closed but promising nose of cassis fruit, earth, minerals, and oak. Full-bodied, marvelously concentrated and pure, this highly extracted, muscular, blockbuster effort requires a minimum of 5-6 more years of cellaring. A candidate for 20-30 years of longevity, it should prove to be one of the great Montelena Cabernet Sauvignons, but patience is required. (RP)
Good full medium red. Some very ripe notes as well as a black tea coolness to the rather claret-like aromas of dark berries, licorice, menthol, tobacco and balsamic cedar. Perhaps the silkiest vintage to this point of the tasting and distinctly Bordeaux-like in its texture and complexity, delivering complex flavors of red and darker fruits, mocha, spices and flowers. Barrett noted that the picking weather was "too hot in 1984, too cold in 1985 and just right in 1986." But the fruit in 1985 benefitted from very good hang time. A second bottle of nearly equal quality (91) showed a stronger note of cedary oak, which gave the finish a faint dryness. (13.5% alcohol) (ST)
Rich, complex and well-balanced, developing nicely with maturing earthy dried currant, anise and sage notes. The tannins are ripe and integrated, offering depth and dimension. (JL, Web Only-2005)
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