1984 Montelena Estate Zinfandel

The hot, dry season of 1984 bode well for one of the world’s rarest and most unique wines; Upper Napa Valley Zinfandel from the Calistoga District. There is nothing like it in the world of wine.

The day we picked these estate-grown Zinfandel grapes, I stood at the hopper with our vineyard manager, John Rolleri, an old world Italian-American veteran of more than 60 year of grape growing in the Napa Valley. As we silently admired the fruit he had worked so hard with all year long, I could see the pure pride and anticipation in his face, and he knew we were thinking the same thing. I asked him, "You thinking what I'm thinking?" He turned his tanned, leathery face to me beaming and said, "You know, this is the best Zin we ever grew."

As time passed and we worked on this wine in the cellar, we knew there was something special about it. Sadly, the same passage of time also brought about John's retirement from full-time vineyard work at the age of 75. John has, like all of us who toil and live in the vineyards and cellars of the Napa Valley, a special love of Zinfandel. We think this wine is the embodiment of all of Zinfandel's attributes…spicy, intense, generous, and loveable, a lot like John. So we dedicated the 1984 Zinfandel, the only "reserve" wine Montelena has ever made and the "best Zin we ever grew" to him, as the John Rolleri Reserve.

vintage weather

Hot. Very heavy late fall-early winter rains, but no late winter rains resulted in warm soils and early bud-break. Hot spring and summer, shortest growing season on record. Fruit very clean, big, with surprisingly good balance.

tasting notes

Harvest Date September 12 & September 19
Sugar At Harvest 24.7º brix
Barrel Aging 12 months
Bottling Date March 1986
Release Date March 1987
Alcohol 14.0%