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28 June, 2018

Chateau Montelena Calistoga Zinfandel 2014

Posted in : Primitivo / Zinfandel, Red Wine, Wine on by : The Gourmez

Chateau Montelena Calistoga Zinfandel 2014
Calistoga, CA

Obligatory disclaimer: I received this bottle of Chateau Montelena Calistoga Zinfandel 2014 as a free sample for review.

The Wine

Chateau Montelena Calistoga Zinfandel 2014This Napa Valley zinfandel was aged in Irish oak barrels, which is a highly unusual choice for Californian winemaking. It smells like a candy that doesn’t exist but I wish did: chocolate-covered toffee with a layer of raspberry jam sealed inside.

Chateau Montelena Calistoga Zinfandel 2014In the glass, those notes are joined by others that conjure up an afternoon spent picking plums, cutting rhubarb stalks, and plopping it all into a basket made of reeds. It’d be idyllic, if I liked doing that sort of thing—I’m more of a “Buy at the grocery store, celebrate that hard work with an iced coffee” sort of gal. But I like the idea of it all the same.

The Chateau Montelena Calistoga Zinfandel 2014 is a young wine with plenty of potential now. I imagine I’d like it more as it aged.

My Rating:


Other Wine Writers’ Thoughts


A dry expression of zinfandel, with notes of cassis and black cherry, with a peppery nuance to the nose particularly. The body is loaded with fruit without being jammy, with a finish that evokes some fresh herbs and a touch of barnyard on the back end. Atypical of zin, though quite expressive. A-

Appetite for Wine

On the nose, more earthy than other Zinfandels I’ve had, but all the fresh blackberry bramble and fruit aromas I expected. On the palate, fresh blackberry, blueberry, cherry, and spice, with dusty chocolate notes, and secondary flavors of vanilla and leather, with smoky notes on the finish. Tannins are bold and chewy; balanced with light acidity. . . . This Zinfandel is truly one of a kind. I’ve tasted dozens of Zinfandels over the years; it is one of my favorite varietals; and this one is definitely unique. It’s bigger, earthier, and with more structure and tannin than many other Zinfandels. If you get the opportunity to try this spectacular wine, take it!

Michael Austin at the Chicago Tribune

Brimming with blackberry, plum and smoke, plus spice, black pepper and chocolate on the finish.

Reviewed 16 February 2018.

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