2004 Montelena Estate Zinfandel

After a fairly normal and mild growing season, vintage 2004 really turned up the heat in early September. Our attention to detail, along with many years of experience on the Estate vineyard, equipped us to deal with the sudden onset of high temperatures, strong drying winds, and exceptionally low humidity. I am very proud that we managed to capture the full fresh flavor of the Zinfandel variety when many of the grapes could just have easily turned to raisins. That may be fine for Port, but not for Montelena Estate Zinfandel

90Wine Advocate
vintage weather

We walked the Zinfandel vineyards at least twice daily in order to identify the rows, even the clusters, ready for picking. To harvest the grapes at optimum condition we picked only at night. The fruit was carefully sorted, first in the field and later on the shaker table. We de-stemmed all the grapes, rather than crush them, in order to get more whole berries into the tanks. During vinification the free run wine flavors were so different and appealing, even compared with the lightest pressing of the skins, that we selected only free-run juice for this wine. I don’t mind telling you that, when you get this wine in the glass, you will see how all of the extra attention has really paid off.

tasting notes

It is a nice looking wine, showing dark ruby-red color to the edge of the glass. In the Chateau Montelena tradition, this is an elegant, restrained, claret style Zinfandel. On the nose it has opulent, spicy black cherry varietal character, appealing briar and smoke overtones, and a layered, elegant structure. The palate is nicely balanced, with a bit of pepper and briar, and a refined texture. Overall this wine is tasty and fresh, offering bright fruit in a well balanced, suave package. Try it yourself, and see why we are so proud of this Zinfandel from a challenging harvest.

Harvest Date 1972 plantings: 8/24-9/14, 1994 plantings: 9/10-9/12
Sugar At Harvest 1972 plantings: 24.6-25.3, 1994 plantings: 23.4-25.2 brix
Barrel Aging 16 months
Bottling Date April 2006
Release Date Spring 2007
Cases Produced 3,500
Alcohol 14.6%