Sunday, September 26, 2021

Chateau Montelena Napa Cabernet - Long Shadows Feather

Chateau Montelena Napa Cabernet - Long Shadows Feather Columbia Valley Cabernet

Fellow  'Pour Boy' Bill and Beth C came in for the weekend for our  'Pour Boys' Winers and Diners Cityscape Deck Dinner. 

We dined together the following evening and Linda prepared grilled BBQ ribs with baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, baked beans, asparagus and haricot verts following a caprese salad. 

Bill brought from his cellar a Chateau Montelena Napa Cabernet and I pulled a Long Shadows "Feather" Columbia Valley Cabernet

Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Calistoga Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

This is the classic flagship label from this legendary producer.  This 2004 release was the first year that "Calistoga" appeared on the front label, along with Napa Valley. Montelena proprietor Bo Barrett initially proposed AVA status for Calistoga to the US, but it wasn't officially granted until 2009.

We visited the historic Chateau up in the north end of Napa Valley back in the early nineties, before I was blogging and writing about such activities. 

This label was awarded 95 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and Vinous

This was delicious, likely at the peak of its drinking window at seventeen years, and likely to drink well for another decade or more. The fill level, foil, label and most notably, the cork, were in perfect condition.

Robert Parker summed it up well in his review in 2014, "A classic, old style Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Montelena’s 2004 reveals beautiful purity along with lots of creme de cassis fruit, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and a long finish. By Montelena standards, it is a bit more powerful than usual (14.1% alcohol). These wines have an uncanny ability to age for 2-3 decades, and while the 2004 is slightly more forward and evolved than other vintages have been (2001 and 2002), it should last for 20-25 years."

Vinous referred to it's "Knockout nose", and said, "But this beauty is just embarking on what should be a multi-decade plane of peak drinkability. Uncommon flavor intensity here--and still just 30% new oak."

This was one of the most memorable and appealing Napa cabs I recall ever having, dark inky purple colored with incredible floral aromas and fruit flavors bursting from the glass, elegant and polished, bordering on exotic, bright expressive, concentrated but superbly integrated, seductive smooth silky ripe blackberry and black raspberry fruits with notes anise and tobacco leaf, hints of cinnamon and clove spices, mocha and eucalyptus continuing on and on with a lingering finish. 

This was so tasty, it would've been pleasurable drinking by all by itself, or paired with about any grilled meat or stew or just bread and any moderate cheese, but it stood up nicely to the tangy BBQ as well.

RM 95 points. 

Bill posted his CT tasting note on this wine too.

9/26/2021 - favorite Likes this wine: 94 Points

"A spectacular treat. As highly rated as 2004 Napa Cabernet was, almost every bottle I drink exceeds expectations. We drank this with friends Linda and Rick M, the night following a gala wine dinner. Linda prepared ribs which did cause us to rethink the order of wines as the Montelena would have been overwhelmed by the delicious, spicy barbecue."

"After dinner and almost 2 hours after opening, we finally got to the Montelena. Inky purple still. Full of dark cherry, black raspberry, chocolate and hints of sweet vanilla and eucalyptus on the palate. Maybe a bit of tobacco on the back palate rounded out this elegant, classic, historic cabernet. Tannins had diminished as expected after 17 years but were still evident. This had a long, lingering, 35 second finish. After some discussion we agreed that this was best enjoyed without food to appreciate the nuanced layers. A little chocolate or some cheese would be fine but this wine calls for no distractions. Glad I have another bottle."

REMc note ... He shouldn't have mentioned he has another bottle! :>)


Long Shadows "Feather" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Bill had never had this Randy Dunn special selection from this collaborative project with this northwest, Columbia Valley producer. 

Knowing I am a club member and have several vintages which I thought would go back five or six vintages, we planned to opt for the oldest vintage. 

Surpisingly, I had this dating back as old as 2006, which was a nice comparison, almost a horizontal comparison, to the seventeen year old 2004 Montelena. 

We discovered this wine and Long Shadows Collectors Series during a visit to the Long Shadows Wine Cellars tasting room in Woodinville, Washington during our Seattle Culinary and Washington Wine Tour back in 2018. 

With Randy Dunn at Dunn estate high atop Howell Mountain.
We've been fans of Randy Dunn and collectors of Dunn Vineyards Cabernets for decades. We have a vertical collection of his labels dating back to 1980. We visited Randy Dunn and the Dunn Vineyards estate high atop Napa Valley Howell Mountain during our Napa Valley Howell Mountain Wine Experience back in 2008. This unique collaboration with Allan Shoup as part of the Long Shadows Collectors series showcases Randy's winemaking handiwork featuring the best of Washington State Columbia Valley fruit.

This release is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the finest vineyards in the Columbia Valley and was aged 22 months in new French Oak. It was rated 93 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and 91 points by Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar.

Garnet colored, medium bodied, dark blackberry, black currant and black cherry fruits with earthy leather, black tea, spices and toasted oak on a moderate tannin laced finish. 

RM 91 points.