1987 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

1987 was a special Cabernet vintage charac­terized by drought and low crop levels which yielded an intense, concentrated wine. A heat wave in the second week of May dried the flowers of the grape­vines during the bloom, when the berries are first developing. We ultimately lost almost half the crop because of this, getting only 1.7 tons per acre in the vineyard blocks where we normally get the already low amount of 2.5 to 3 tons per acre.

Other than that, the growing season was re­ally quite excellent, with nice warm days and cool nights for most of the summer. We enjoyed a nice heat wave towards the end of August which began the vintage. Moderate weather dominated the har­vest of 1987 until about September 14th, when a warm­ing trend began. Another fine heat wave followed, allowing for excellent red-grape ripening. We experi­enced a quick end to a good harvest.

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vintage weather

Hot. Drier than normal winter and a hot spring resulted in significant shatter. Late summer heat led to early crush. Yield was light, wine is very concentrated.

tasting notes

The very low yields from our estate Cabernet vineyard make this wine the essence of Chateau Montelena. The unique characteristics - the "terroir" ­of Montelena Cabernet are concentrated and extraor­dinarily preeminent in this wine. Beginning with the deeply-tinted color, the nose follows with waves of constantly changing aroma: dried fruits, roses and vio­lets, the rocky vineyard soil, cassis and leather, and the oak and cellar aromas particular to Montelena Cabernet.

Following the bouquet, the wine has many layers of flavors. On the palate it is juicy, berry Cabernet Sauvignon and very well balanced. The natural acidity is very slightly elevated in this vintage, giving the wine especially good structure. The finish is long and rich.

This is a vintage when the craft of wine making draws upon experience to put together an exceptional wine in an unusual year. When you enjoy this wine, you will really be able to taste "the vineyard and the vintage" that Montelena wines bring to your table.

After a special July 2010 tasting,  wine journalist Laurie Daniel published her notes on this vintage: "Dense, powerful, with ripe cherry, hints of chocolate and cedar and big tannins."

Harvest Date September 4 – 23
Sugar At Harvest 23.5° brix
Barrel Aging 24 months
Bottling Date May 1990
Release Date September 1991
Cases Produced 7,200
Alcohol 14.1%