1994 Montelena Estate Zinfandel

1994 was an excellent year for the growing of quality wine grapes. The overall weather during the growing season was typically warm days with cool nights - - what we always hope for. The weather during the critical ripening and flavor development stage, which is after verasion and through harvest, was especially cooperative with many cool (50°) nights, overcast mornings and warm days. All our wine grapes tasted great at the harvest and this is especially true for the Estate Zinfandel. In our annual crush report Dave Vella, our vineyard manager, aptly summed it up...“The Zinfandel ripened as evenly and developed flavors as good as I have seen in my 10 harvests here..” Naturally when Dave brought the Zin Grapes up to the Old Chateau we were stoked!! We think this is the best Zin we have grown since 1984, the Rolleri Reserve. It is a super vintage.

vintage weather

Temperate Consistent. Low rainfall, with classic warm days and cool nights all season long. Overcast mornings and warm afternoons all the way from veraison through harvest. Grapes ripened steadily and harvest was very orderly. Crop size above average, with excellent maturation and flavors.

tasting notes

Our 1994 Zin has a nice dark-garnet color and is bright all the way to the edge of the glass. The nose is nice, ripe Zinfandel berry fruit with a smoky-briary spice. On the palate it has a nice open entry of bright fruit that follows the nose. Fat and spicy Zin flavors dominate a round mid-palate which has a moderate weight. By "moderate weight" I mean that it has good red wine "grip" - lots of juicy bold flavors but not too tannic. It's naturally somewhat youthful now and would like to see a couple more years of bottle aging for all the complexity to develop. To summarize, it is a tasty, medium weight red wine with big, deep flavors, but not massive. We enjoy the Zin with a wide range of foods, from grilled fish to spicy BBQ and everything in between.

Harvest Date September 10, September 19-20
Sugar At Harvest 24.3º brix
Barrel Aging 12 months
Bottling Date April 1996
Release Date March 1997
Alcohol 14.0%