Some of the first big reds of the season are here — here’s a look at two new wines dropping from Napa icon Chateau Montelena, including the winery’s flagship estate cabernet release.
2014 Chateau Montelena Zinfandel Calistoga – A dry expression of zinfandel, with notes of cassis and black cherry, with a peppery nuance to the nose particularly. The body is loaded with fruit without being jammy, with a finish that evokes some fresh herbs and a touch of barnyard on the back end. Atypical of zin, though quite expressive. A- / $39
2013 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga – A very dry cab, this estate-grown wine’s notes of currants, dried flowers, and baking spice are restrained but vibrant and alive, finishing on something of a cherry note. The wine right now is a bit tannic and relatively closed off, but some time in bottle should help develop what feels to be an exceptional core. I’m particularly interested to see if those floral notes develop into something bigger with a bit more age. A- / $160