1982 Montelena Estate Zinfandel

1982 was a wildly unpredictable year with a long, cool, wet season and California’s all-time record volume crop. The “art” of winemaking in the vineyard became absolutely critical.

At Chateau Montelena, we work hard to control crop loads with the ultimate goal of superior wine quality in mind. 1982 was a difficult farming season and the vineyard required constant attention to preclude overcropping and its associated problems. After hand-thinning the Zinfandel vines no less than four times during the growing season in order to assure low yield and full maturity, the grapes ripened well ahead of the fall rains that spelled ruin for many overloaded vineyards. (Those same rains have since caused the '82 reds in general to receive some mixed reviews that we feel may; be undeserved.)

vintage weather

Cool. Wet winter, cool spring. Record crop, thinned 5 times to lower the yield. Mid-September rains caused some problems, but we finished picking before major storms in October. Big wines, clean, fat and juicy berries.

tasting notes

The color of this wine alone, which is a medium-dark garnet, indicates its sturdy structure, and the nose, while still developing, is intensely and unmistakably Zinfandel?that fabulous mixture of blackberries and rose, along with the earthy, smoky, brambly complex unique to the varietal. The body is moderate in tannin and finely balanced. The flavors are primarily big Zin-berry with an earthy richness that tastes almost sweet, even though the wine is totally dry. These many attributes will ensure that the wine will benefit greatly from 2 to 4 years of further bottle aging even though most of our supply will disappear long before that.

Harvest Date September 27 to October 6
Sugar At Harvest 24.8º brix
Barrel Aging 12 months
Bottling Date April 1984
Release Date March 1985
Alcohol 13.5%