Chateau Montelena Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Calistoga, $50

chateau-montelena-cabernet-sauvignon-calistoga-nv-bottleOne of America’s most historic and beautiful houses stretched its harvest for this cooler vintage from Oct. 1 to Nov. 4, and the 14 months of barrel treatment in 27% new oak carries those fingerprints from beginning to end. The experience begins with aromas of bittersweet chocolate, espresso and black licorice among blackberry, tar and crushed leaf. There’s pleasing acidity on the palate that backs a rich entry of blackberry, dark raspberry and red currant, followed by black pepper and more chocolate. The finish is particularly enjoyable and food-friendly with savory and herbal touches of red bell pepper and porcini mushroom.

Rating: Excellent

Production: 21,936 cases

Alcohol: 13.4%

Winery website