1981 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

In 1981, the absence of Spring rain affected our Cabernet Sauvignon vines more seriously than other varieties. Early maturity and extremely small light berries made for a very limited vintage with our estate production dropping over 40%. Only 99 tons of grapes were crushed from our 65 acres, barely 1 ½ tons per acre.

vintage weather

Cool variable. Dry year. Extreme heat waves in June but cooler in late summer. One of the shortest growing seasons on record. Low yields, very concentrated wine.

tasting notes

The resulting wine helps lend substance to the old crusty "tales from the cellar" and legends of wine folklore and superstition, one of which is that an early vintage will produce wines that mature earlier and are ready for drinking sooner. The balance and finesse of this vintage have been obvious all through the cellar life of the wine and have become even more prominent after only one year in the bottle.

The wine has the typical inky color of a Montelena Cabernet and an intense aroma of varietal spice and oak in the background. The bouquet, which has already started to develop into a pronounced cassis earth-berry fragrance, is almost perfume like in nature. Similar flavors of berry and spice also carry through on the finely tuned structure of tannins and acidity. Despite its youth, the wine is already very approachable but its additional complexities will become more and more apparent as it ages.

Harvest Date August 29 to September 9
Sugar At Harvest 23.8° brix
Barrel Aging 24 months
Bottling Date May 1984
Release Date September 1985
Cases Produced 7,144
Alcohol 13.5%