1997 Montelena Estate Saint Vincent

At the Montelena Estate we grow other varieties than just Cabernet Sauvignon. Mostly we grow the Zinfandel, Primitivo and Sangiovese to make something we can drink while we wait for the Cabernets to age. Also, they are handy for BBQ’s down at the old bocce court.

The St. Vincent is the result of real "winemaking in the vineyard" with careful crop controls to get the most from each of these vineyard blocks while keeping the entire wine style as a focus. As this vintage will demonstrate, we have definitely decided to swing the styling of our St Vincent back to a Napa Valley "Zin" rather than the Tuscan styling we used when we first began to work with the Sangiovese and Primitivo.

In 1997 the weather during Harvest was great, if we could have ordered it a la carte it could not have been better. The weather remained warm with cool evenings… perfect for ripening. Zinfandel, being very thin skinned and susceptible to vintage vagaries, benefited the most. To even up the ripening and improve quality we pruned and thinned each of the varieties down to one cluster per shoot… the grapes came in excellent!

vintage weather

Temperate Consistent. Average rainfall, warm winter and spring, mild summer. Slow ripening and wonderful weather during harvest, warm days and cool mornings. Large crop, the wine is very dense and extremely flavorful.

tasting notes

Blending these grapes results in a wine that is a deep garnet color. It has a great perfumed nose of brambly berry, smoke and earth. The fruit also has some nice black cherry from the Sangiovese and a richer, almost thick Zin berry nose from the smaller berries of the Primitivo. Fans of the old Montelena Zinfandel will easily recognize the basic framework of this wine but with a much broader fruit spectrum and bigger body. Basically bold broad fruit, round with a good tannin grip that tapers off nicely. It is unmistakably Zinfandel so a little more ageing will do it well too.

We are very excited how the good, old field blending has enhanced our perennial home favorite, Zinfandel. We are sure when you taste the St. Vincent you'll see why we went to the lengths we have to plant new varietal vineyards and make a big commitment to this Zinfandel based wine.

Harvest Date August 26 to September 16
Sugar At Harvest 22.5º to 24.5º brix
Barrel Aging 12 to 16 months
Bottling Date April 1999
Release Date September 2000
Cases Produced 3,300
Alcohol 13.5%