2002 Chateau Montelena

Montelena that I found in my orphan bin. I stopped buying Montelena when the winery was alledgedly hit with TCA issues. The cost and risk just didn't work for me. I suspect the bottle was a gift from a dinner guest. The wine was still quite dark and dense in the glass. Effusive nose of cassis, black plum and Napa dusty notes. Still quite youthful on the palate with very ripe blackberry, cassis and plum a fair amount of anise a slight smokey note and plush smooth tannins. There is a nice balance to this wine and like most Montelena wines I suspect it can last up to 25 years. Quite nice 'A-"
Reply to
Bi!!
Maybe you remember but back in 2001 there were significant reports of TCA contamination at Montelena. Jim Laube of WS gave them incredibly low marks in the 2001 vintage claiming TCA taint. There was a lot of back and forth and Laube wrote a column defending his position. Subsequently Montelena started an ad campaign and direct mail program to counter the claims. Eventually they brought in an outside company to decontaminate their cellars to put the critism to rest. You can get the particulars if you google "montelena TCA"
Reply to
Bi!!
Bill, I've been buying the Montelena Estate Cab for years. NO issues EVER including the 2001.
Don't get me started on Laube of WS as In my opinion he is an egomaniac. That same article he said he trained his pallatte to detect cork taint to less than 1 part per million....it's simply NOT detectable at those levels.
I heard a rumor years back that may NOT be true. The rumor was passed to me from a winemaker who knew JL wife. Supposedly he was playing base coach and got hit in the head with a baseball. Result, he could NOT taste anymore. That he lost sense of taste, smell etc. Then, this article came out on his training his pallatte. Imalways wondered if there was any truth to the rumor after I saw him overcompensating. Well, you never can trust a rumor...I bought the 2001 anyway...it was nice.
Reply to
Dick N
To be honest..I didn't know anything about the TCA issue until I saw a mailer from Bo Barrett about the controversy that he sent out to retailers, etc. Then they followed it up a year or so later with a complete cleaning of the cellars. I always loved the wine but I became leery of buying case lots that I was going to cellar if they had a TCA taint problem.. I've had planty of Montelena since then without significant problems...I did open a 1997 Montelena this weekend that was....CORKED!!!!
Reply to
Bi!!
The measured TCA amounts averaged a bit over 1 ppt I think, under most people's threshold. But that was an average, and way higher than most wineries. One would guess that a much higher percentage of bottles than normal would show corked to even those of us with average perception (not to mention fruit scalping issues). So good they did the cellar rehab- guess they owe Laube, as I think systemic TCA infection in cellar wood just gets worse. Look at Ducru- lots of 85/86s show as corked, but the 89s are almost uniformly noticably tainted.
Was the cellar room with the problem red only? I don't think I've had any corked Montelena chards.
As an aside, we did a Studs and Dubs tasting (10 pt or more difference between WS and WA) a few years ago. I'm not very TCA sensitive, but called the 2001 Montelena (blind) as corked.
I disagree strongly with Laube's palate in general, but I think there's no way he could hide anosmia.
Reply to
DaleW
I often wondered if the TCA issue at Montelena had anything to do with Cos d' Estournel owner Michel Reybier backing out of his potential aquisition of Montelena.
Reply to
Bi!!

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