1998 Montelena Estate Saint Vincent

The Montelena Estate Saint Vincent is a wine we make from pure enthusiasm; we all love Zinfandel and it is fun to make. It is a great wine in it’s own special way, soft & spicy and very distinctive. We make it from grapes all grown right here on the Montelena Estate: Zinfandel, Primitivo (a Zinfandel clone) and a tiny field of low yield Sangiovese grown in solid rock. It is our statement of the grapes from that year, so we let it show the vintage more than our four other wines. 1998 was a very challenging vintage due to an unusually cool growing season. We had virtually no spring; it just went from winter to summer, but not until July! Very cold rainy weather throughout the early to middle growing season made for prognostications of a difficult vintage. Happily it ended up very well, even great, with miraculous weather all of October. A metaphor would be the game turned around late in the fourth quarter.

We utilize very different winemaking for the grapes we grow for Saint. Vincent. One special technique called "delestage" is for maceration and cap management during fermentation. The fermenting wine is completely drained from the cap over a period of several hours, then gently flooded back over the top of the cap so that all the wine percolates through and back into the skins. This procedure is done approximately every other day during the fermentation. We use it for higher color and softer tannin extraction without bitterness. The gentle extraction makes for a big dark round wine.

vintage weather

Cool. Well above average rainfall, cold and rainy throughout the early to middle growing season. Warm and dry July and August, cool September and wonderful ripening weather in October. Average crop size, great flavors and ripeness, extremely well balanced.

tasting notes

The wine is a very dark ruby red, especially for Zinfandel. The nose is very spicy, berry, brambly - typical Zinfandel fruit. The first palate impression is also of a big and spicy peppery Zinfandel. It opens up to a round, earthy palate with soft tannins and a bit of licorice in the background. It is not made at all in the monster late harvest high alcohol style, rather a finely balanced, big but soft table wine we all love to drink. We especially like to have our Saint Vincent Zinfandel at the grill and Bocce court.

Harvest Date Zinfandel August 26, September 28 & 30; Primitivo September 10 & 19
Sugar At Harvest Zinfandel 23.9º brix, Primitivo 24.0º, Sangiovese 24.0º
Barrel Aging 12 to 16 months
Bottling Date April 2000
Release Date Fall 2001
Cases Produced 3,100
Alcohol 13.5%