Chateau Montelena

Estate Zinfandel 2018

Napa Valley, California

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Zinfandel is California’s heritage grape, and as anyone who has tasted long-lived examples from the 1970s, it can produce wines of tremendous quality, both immediate pleasure and age-worthiness, and all in a rich and spicy berry profile that is unique in the world of wine. Like every wine they produce, Montelena looks first and foremost to take the tremendous fruit they work with and transmit it in a complex, balanced package.


The vineyard is comprised of varied terrain, from flat to steep hillsides. Extending out from the Napa River is the alluvial soil, the most prevalent type on the property. In the back and outside areas of the vineyard are volcanic soils, formed by ancient lava flows caused by tectonic uplifting. The decades old Zinfandel, planted in craggy volcanic soil, combined with 10-year-old vines in cobbly alluvial soil, produces a wine with complex character.
2018 vintage marks a return to our Estate Zinfandel, the first since 2012. Some of the vines are new, but the profile is recognizable and classic. After five years of replanting our Estate Vineyard, this wine makes its triumphant return.


The Zinfandel sees a primary ferment in stainless steel and malolactic fermentation in oak. It is then aged in French/Irish/ American oak barrels for 16 months, 17% of which are new.


The Primitivo component of this blend tends to show best in moderately warm years and 2018 certainly qualifies. Ample sunshine and plenty of heat throughout the summer months favored uniform ripening and a purity of flavor. That consistency carried into harvest, allowing for small, targeted picks across vineyard blocks, capturing the complexity and elegance of this vintage.

Tasting Note

“Brimming with fresh fruit, the aromas are dominated by ripe raspberry and cranberry, leaning southern Italian in style at first. However, after a few minutes, the Zinfandel component becomes more prominent and robust as blackberry jam, hoisin, and savory herbs appear, lending some allure as well as familiarity[…]The elegance of 2018 comes through immediately on the palate. Laser focused acidity and strawberry slowly merge with sweet baking spices, dried cherry and earth. The tannins are soft enough to balance the acidity without overwhelming the steady stream of candied fruit.”

Food Pairing

The Chateau Montelena Zinfandel can stand up to the big, meaty flavors, such as barbeque pork ribs, leg of lamb or a well-seasoned beef dish. The spicy notes of the wine will also complement dark chocolate dishes quite well.



Grape Varieties



Napa Valley, California



Suggested Retail Price


Trade Materials

Other Wines by this Producer

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The Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon embodies the balance of Montelena, classic “old-world” structure with ripe California fruit.  It is crafted from fruit coming from the Montelena vineyard and several prime neighboring vineyards, all in the Calistoga AVA. The Montelena Napa Cabernet is a wine that delivers immediate pleasure upon release, but in Montelena style, while age and develop beautifully.

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