Chateau Montelena Zinfandel 2009 (Calistoga, Napa Valley)

By Richard Saxton on Jan 17, 13 12:46 PM in

My trip to Napa last year was the definite wine highlight of 2012. Whilst we spent plenty of time checking out some of the more boutique producers I really couldn't help wanting to pop in to some of the more touristy and "obvious" spots. Having read George Taber's book on the judgement of Paris years ago a visit to Chateau Montelena was always on the cards. Since it was already a bit of an obvious thing to so we also hired a Mustang for the journey. When in California.....


Whilst the Chardonnay and Cabernets we tasted were impressive I was quite taken with the Zinfandel. The price also particularly appealed to me compared to its illustrious companions..... And so it was that a bottle of Montelena '09 Zin was one of only two bottles I had room for in my 2 bottle wine travel case (the other being a Casa Nuestra Petite Sirah).

When the wife decided to do her famous lamb shanks last night it seemed only right to break out a bottle of something a bit special, and the Montelena Zin stepped up!

First impressions were certainly good. It's a delicate Zin, quite restrained. I know which one I'd back in a fight between this and one of Joel Peterson's Zins over at Ravenswood. However, Zinfandel isn't all about bravado and brute force. In fact, this proved a very able food wine, something some Zins can struggle with. The chocolate and coffee notes are noticeable early on but settle down with time in the decanter giving way to more berry and herbal flavours. There's a lovely line of acidity which pairs very well with food. It's equally able though just on its own on the sofa.

All in all a very accomplished and polished example of California Zinfandel. I've had a good look but can't seem to find it on sale in the UK. Back to Napa I go.....!

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