1980 Montelena Estate Zinfandel

1980 is beginning to be recognized as one of the finest red wine vintages California has ever had. The vines produced buds two weeks early and had a long, cool growing season that resulted in concentrated varietal character. In mid-September, a sudden heat wave sent the sugars rocketing upward and the picking began at a furious rate.

vintage weather

Hot. Coolest growing season on record, but heat wave at crush ripened grapes nicely. Intense, well-balanced fruit. Great potential on these wines.

tasting notes

The intensity and high character of this, our first estate bottled Zinfandel, speaks eloquently of the vintage. It is a wine of rich, ruby red color with an overwhelming heady aroma unique to Zinfandel. It has a distinctly briary, black cherry bouquet concentrated in a wine of very fruity flavors, medium body, and moderate tannin, along with an earthy undertone derived from the sloped, stony vineyards of Montelena. Given a year of oak aging in small French barrels, it has obtained a suppleness that is surprising in a wine this big. The 1980 Zinfandel is just beginning to round out after another year in the bottle and will continue to improve over the next three to five years.

Harvest Date October 9
Sugar At Harvest 24.3ยบ brix
Barrel Aging 12 months
Bottling Date June 1982
Release Date March 1983
Alcohol 14.4%