Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon

The December installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2002 vintage. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar.

2002 was a better than average vintage in both Washington and California. The contenders in this version of Pick My Next Bottle should be entering a period where they are drinking well and New Years Eve seems like a good enough occasion! Polls are open until Sunday afternoon.

The Contenders

  • 2002 Chateau Montelena “Estate” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon –  This appears to be one of the great efforts from Chateau Montelena, something I think I was correct about when I gave it an ‘in the bottle’ rating in 2006 of 95+. It is still an amazingly young wine that came from old vines on the famous St. George rootstock that did not require replanting because of the phylloxera epidemic that swept through Napa in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Despite its lofty 14.4% alcohol (high by Montelena standards) and the overall flamboyance of the 2002 vintage, it needs another 4-6 years of cellaring. This young, classic Cabernet Sauvignon represents the quintessential traditional school of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. It possesses an inky/blue/purple color in addition to a tight, but promising nose of black currants, crushed rocks, earth and spice. Rich, full-bodied, pure and brilliantly executed, with perfect harmony, this is a sensational yet forebodingly backward, youthful Cabernet Sauvignon should keep another quarter of a century.  96 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Unlike some minuscule production ‘cult’ wines or luxury cuvees culled from a winery’s primary product that have earned perfect scores over the years, Quilceda Creek’s Cabernet Sauvignon is the winery’s raison d’etre and is produced in significant quantities (3,400 cases in 2002, 3,425 in 2003). For accomplishing this feat the Golitzens should be doubly proud. Dark ruby-colored and sporting a nose of violets, sweet blueberries, dark cherries, and slight undertones of asphalt, the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon blossoms on the palate to expose a wine of ethereal delicacy yet immense power. Medium to full-bodied, it expands to reveal concentrated layers of cassis, blackberries, red cherries, raspberries, violets, spices, and touches of candied plums. This rich, exquisitely balanced, sweet, and broad wine is harmonious, graceful, and awesomely long. 100 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red – The nearly perfect 2002 Proprietary Red Wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and the rest dollops of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. This exotic, full-throttle, nearly over-the-top red wine’s intensity, richness and smoky coffee notes intermixed with notions of chocolate, graphite, and jammy blackberry and black currant fruit ooze from the glass. This rich, concentrated beauty tastes more like a top-notch, young Right Bank Bordeaux from a vintage such as 2009 than a wine dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. With stunning purity and awesome potential, it can be drunk now or cellared for another two decades. 99 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Should I Open?

  • 2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (44%, 17 Votes)
  • 2002 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red (33%, 13 Votes)
  • 2002 Chateau Montelena "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (23%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 39

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the January installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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7 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon

  1. My vote was simply that I’ve enjoyed both Pahlmeyer and Quilceda but have only ever had Chateau Montelena Chard never their Cab.

  2. My pick is the 2002 Château Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. I tasted this wine back in 2006 and it needed a lot more time in bottle. Enormous potential! Curious how it tastes in 2017. Cheers Tom!

  3. Nice choices Tom!

    My initial though was the 02 Montelena , but I just had a 97 out of a 375ml that was just hitting it’s strife, so I’m guessing the 02 in 750 needs more time.

    That being said…gotta go with the Pahlmeyer, as that should be drinking really well.

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