1993 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

This 1993 Estate Cabernet is the fourth in the currently unprecedented string of killer vintages for our District. Starting in 1990 and continuing with the vintage we just crushed, the 1996, we have enjoyed great winegrowing seasons and great resultant wines.

For the reds the 1993 ripening season was variable; it ran the gamut from ideal to merely perfect. The weather during 1993 Harvest was fine, with 10-15 days of outstanding ripening weather. These were days of overcast mornings and warm sunny afternoons. A cooling trend in mid-September allowed for the excellent timing of harvest. In late September we had ten days of Indian Summer weather which caused continued good ripening of all red grapes. The weather was so good that all the tanks were filled and we were forced to take a one day break in crushing. Then, from October 2-4, we had a significant cooling trend and even a small bit of rain. This cooler weather led to much less speedy harvesting, and we finished off the Estate red vineyards at a slow, steady pace.

For our Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc this was a "normal" crop year, averaging three tons per acre. We had good maturation and flavors. Very good grapes. We were excited about this vintage, and the new stemmer was set on dead slow to get really well- developed fruit flavors. The grapes ripened steadily and the wines are excellent.

95Wine Advocate
93Insider's Wine Line
vintage weather

Cool. Average rainfall with some rain every month through June. Cool spring and cool weather at harvest, good fruit maturation. Crop size average, excellent flavor development.

tasting notes

Right off the bat one can see our trademark very deep color, almost black. Even the tears on the sides of the glass have great color. The nose is very concentrated Montelena earthy-berry (cassis) and has very well developed fruit. It is not such a "jammy" style wine as the '92 or upcoming '94, but more a classic Cabernet. All it takes is one taste and it's clear that this wine is from good old Calistoga. The wine is driven by our distinctive varietal fruit. It has a full, rich mouthful of fruit and a rich body, followed by ripe tannin and good acid balance... strong and smooth. Packed full of complex berry varietal character, it is spicy, and not at all peppery. Oak from barrel aging is in the background and aftertaste. A powerhouse, yet smooth for it's total mass, this will be a long lived wine. We now think that the most similar vintages to the 1993 Montelena Estate are '84, '90 and '91.

After a special July 2010 tasting, wine journalist Laurie Daniel published her notes on this vintage: "Ripe black fruit and firm tannins."

Harvest Date September 13 to October 6
Sugar At Harvest 23.4° to 24.0° brix
Barrel Aging 14 to 24 months
Bottling Date August 1995
Release Date March 1997
Cases Produced 10,500
Alcohol 13.5%