1984 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Many wine aficionados and professionals, including we at Chateau Montelena, believe that the 1984 vintage for Cabernet Sauvignon will usher in a new era for California Cabernets.

The growing season was hot and dry, and our vineyards had severe water stress and dehydration, thus causing an early and compressed harvest. Similar conditions in the past gave us the "big" Cabernets of the 1974, 1976, and 1978 vintages and the 1984 closely resembles them in character. More significant however, is the fact that ten years of added skill, experience, and improved technique have allowed us to harness the raw tannic "monsters" of the great vintages of the seventies into more "genteel" wines with the richness and ripeness of the former years with more polish, finesse, elegance, and balance.

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vintage weather

Hot. Very heavy late fall-early winter rains, but no late winter rains resulted in warm soils and early bud-break. Hot spring and summer, shortest growing season on record. Fruit very clean, big, with surprisingly good balance.

tasting notes

This wine has the typical inky color of Montelena Cabernets; very dark garnet to blue-black. It has a very rich aroma and to describe it as merely "complex" would be an understatement. The distinct earthy-berry character from our vineyard is ever present with some choco-vanilla and oaky notes. On the palate it has a broad smooth texture and is extremely well balanced and supple for its youth and vintage. The flavors are plentiful and in terms of fruit will remind you of black currants or berries. As in the aroma, there are also earthy flavors derived from the volcanic and alluvial soils of our dry farmed vineyards. These are only the initial impressions you may have when you taste the wine! Just watch what happens to the wine as it begins to open up after a few minutes in the glass to even more richness and depth.

After a special July 2010 tasting,  wine journalist Laurie Daniel published her notes on this vintage: "Bright black fruit, savory notes of anise, cedar and slightly earthy undertones. Firmly structured and quite youthful."

Harvest Date September 7 to 18
Sugar At Harvest 23.8º brix
Barrel Aging 24 months
Bottling Date May 1987
Release Date September 1988
Cases Produced 11,439
Alcohol 13.5%