Mini WSET-Style Review: 2011 Chateau Montelena Estate Zinfandel

The 2011s from Chateau Montelena
The 2011s from Chateau Montelena

Last night I participated in a live event at ToutSuite Social Club in Napa called Montelena Live: 2011 Ain’t So Bad. The name is ironic, as the 2011s from Chateau Montelena are nothing short of spectacular. As Bo Barrett and winemaker Cameron Parry explained, the goal at Montelena is to stay as true as possible to the purest expression of their grapes regardless of the of growing season.

As part of my continuing WSET exam practice, I elected to review the Zinfandel from last night and share it with you, my readers. I chose the Zinfandel because it’s quite different in style than other California Zinfandels you may have tasted.

2011 Chateau Montelena Zinfandel
2011 Chateau Montelena Zinfandel

2011 Chateau Montelena Estate Zinfandel, Calistoga, Napa Valley

This Zinfandel is clear with a medium-intense ruby color and light sheeting on the glass.

The nose is clean with developing, medium-plus intense aromas of red and black fruits and spice.

On the palate, this Zinfandel is dry, with medium acidity, medium-plus alcohol, medium-plus body, medium-plus intense blackberry, black cherry, raspberry, and spice flavors, and a medium-plus finish. It is balanced and pure, not a jammy, overripe Zinfandel. The mélange of red and black fruit aromas and flavors is reflective of the 2011 cooler growing season.

This Zinfandel is very good. You may drink it now, but it has potential for further aging. As per WSET standards, this would be considered a premium-priced wine at $44.00/750ml bottle.

Other Information
HARVEST DATE: October 12 to 25, 2011
BARREL AGING: 14 months, 50% French and 50% American, 13% new
BOTTLING DATE: December 2012
RELEASE DATE: March 2014
ALCOHOL: 14.5%

Thank you to Chateau Montelena and ToutSuite Social Club for a fantastic event.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.