A bottle of Chateau Montelena Zinfandel 2014 on a table with cork and carafe

Chateau Montelena Zinfandel 2014

I liked this. Lots of wine people complain about recent zinfandel being too high in alcohol, too fruity, and too low in flavor. This is not that.

At 14.5% ABV, it’s the other side of the zinfandel spectrum from what we often drink, and it’s a very different effect. But if you go into it knowing you are getting something different, it’s clearly a well-made, interesting wine.


14.5% ABV is not the high end of the range for Great Big Reds, but it still has a smooth feel in the mouth.

It has a lot of flavor, which is what we care about most. All brambly/earthy to smell, and long-lasting spice/tannin in the finish.


I liked the complexity, the earthiness, the long spicy finish, and flavors.

It’s $30-40 wine, so, not what I usually drink. The quality seems appropriate to the price.

It deserves to be aired out a little. I think I missed out on a lot of the ‘nose’ by not decanting before the tasting. Even so, one of our team members caught the mint.

The tasting notes from Chateau Montelena include “cocoa, tobacco, and dried cherry”, and with a little airing out, “lavendar, cassis, and fresh mint.” The finish: “dark chocolate, cigar box, and a garrigue character….” I wouldn’t argue with any of that. It’s earthy zinfandel, but still with lots of spice in the finish… what I love the best about zinfandel.


The label says ‘zinfandel’, but the notes say it is a blend of primitivo and zinfandel, grown in the same fields.

Here’s a link to find the 2014 on Wine Searcher:


“Storied” may be a good description for Chateau Montelena. This is the winery that made the chardonnay that won the “Judgement of Paris” back in the 70s. (And yes, I bought this bottle right after I finally watched the movie.)

See the Chateau Montelena site: