This one is pretty simple. We were given the incredibly rare opportunity to raid directly from the cellar of one of the most famous wineries in Napa, California, or anywhere on the planet. Today, Chateau Montelena — the iconic Napa brand known for being one of the best wineries in America for over 125 years is offering us up Library Cabernet selections at unbelievable prices.
In the 2005 vintage, Bo Barrett, known best as a risk taking, trailblazing winemaker and winner of the 1976 Judgement of Paris crafted a Calistoga Cabernet more closely related one of the Bordeaux counterparts he outpointed. The 2005 bottling is more elegant than forceful and a smooth, velvety masterpiece that will age gracefully and dazzle whenever you decide to pop the cork. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate said it was, “still incredibly youthful.” Decanter gave it a rave 96-point review and called it, “one for collectors.” That’s an understatement. This is a home-run.
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96 Points, Decanter
A long, cool growing season, with harvest from the end of September to the end of October, delivered fantastic flavour development. More Bordeaux-like than most in the tasting, it was highly aromatic, with a lush cassis, violet and graphite nose, and intense flavours of dark plum cherry fruit, cocoa, and notes of espresso. It’s expressive right now, yet the powerful tannins say it’s got years to go. One for collectors.
95+ Points, Vinous
Bright red-ruby. More reserved and medicinal on the nose than the flamboyantly expressive ’04, with cassis and violet aromas complicated by graphite and bitter chocolate. Very pure and silky on the palate, conveying a sexy subtle sweetness and a wonderfully complex meld of dark fruits, minerals and soil tones. The element of Cabernet Franc here adds to the wine’s mid-palate lift. This bottle was distinctly more pliant than an impressive but bound-up sample I tasted three years ago in my 2005 Napa Cab horizontal but is still extremely young. As broad and silky as this wine is, it stands out today for its energy. Goes on and on on the aftertaste, with the tannins utterly seamless and integrated. My best tasting of this vintage to date, as it is finally beginning to unwind.
95 Points, Parker’s Wine Advocate
Deep garnet in color, the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate leaps from the glass with notes of crushed blackberries, black cherries and Bing cherries with hints of raspberry leaves, bay leaves and underbrush plus a waft of pencil shavings. Medium-bodied, nicely poised, very fresh and beautifully elegant, it has a solid frame of very fine-grained tannins and a very long, berry-laced finish. Still incredibly youthful.
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