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Chris Corley
December 26, 2022 | Chris Corley

MONTICELLO 'Corley Reserve' | Proprietary Red Wine

A great pleasure of estate winegrowing is to see how our wines develop over time, sometimes very long periods of time. We’ve been farming our estate vineyards for more than 50 years … in fact we’re one of the few fifty plus year old, family owned, estate grown wineries remaining in Napa Valley. We tend to develop personal relationships with our wines and vineyard blocks.

One of my favorite wines to blend is our MONTICELLO ‘Corley Reserve’ Proprietary Red Wine. I love the freedom this wine allows me during the creative flow of the blending process. Since this wine is labeled simply as red wine, I’m free to follow my palate through all of the barrels in our cellar when assembling this blend each year. Ever since the first vintage in 1999, this wine has typically been composed of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, although there have been a few vintages over the last 24 years, that I’ve unconventionally blended in some Syrah.

Most of the blends have been led by Cabernet Franc, which is such a magnificent grape when grown with love. We grow four different selections of Cabernet Franc on two estate ranches in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley Each selection has a different nuance of the varietal, and all of them represent it wonderfully.

In general, these bold red blends hit a wonderful sweet spot on the palate at 10-15 years. With about an hour of decanting, the tannins are as smooth as silk, the fruit is awakened from its bottled slumber, and the finish just keeps going and going. I’ve been enjoying our MONTICELLO 'Corley Reserve' Proprietary Red Wine 2006 and Proprietary Red Wine 2007 over the last couple of years, and as we enter 2023, I’m looking forward to enjoying and featuring our 2008 as a fifteen year library selection!

The 2008 growing season was a little bit of a roller coaster, but It ended up being an exceptional year for quality. Drought preceded a hard frost, which led to an uneven set and a small crop. Then heat spikes hit as harvest began. But after that it was smooth sailing, resulting in wines of very good to exceptional quality. Given all the climatic challenges, our only disappointed was the low tonnage in several vineyards.

Our MONTICELLO ‘Corley Reserve’ Proprietary Red Wine 2008 is a blend of 44% Cabernet Franc, 38% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon. I just enjoyed a bottle of this with Christmas Dinner and it was absolutely terrific. Smooth supple tannins, beautiful aromas of plum, black cherry and tertiary aromas of cinnamon, potpourri and chocolate. The transitions across the palate are seamless, and the finish just sails on and on. The light beam of acidity on the midpalate (a telltale from our cooler southern Oak Knoll District vineyards) has kept the wine vibrant and alive at fifteen years, especially with the softer tannins.

We’ll be celebrating this wine all through 2023 as a fifteen year library selection. As we close out 2022, I’m excited to offer it together in a three-bottle bundle with our 2006 & 2007, so you can experience and enjoy the same multi-vintage transitions that I have for the last few years. And we’ll send it to you in a sharp three-bottle gift box!

If you’re intrigued, please CLICK HERE … enter coupon code BOXDAY, and you’ll receive 20.22% savings and we’ll ship the order to you for a MONTICELLO Nickel ($0.05 flat rate special).


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