1992 – Chateau Montelena vs Opus One
I have been lucky enough to have shared both bottles with good friends that also stored them identically. Each one had a 100 plus bottle wine refrigerator and have been the sole owner of these wines from a retailer for their entire life. However, their was one difference. One bottle was a 750 ml and the other was 1.5 liter bottle.
Here is what I can tell you happened. The Chateau Montelana was fantastic. I was shocked that after 27 years this bottle still had a great nose and color before tasting. The fruit held up well. The Opus One was not so much fun. The wine was breaking down and separating. The aroma had flattened.
Why do I tell you about this? I have always felt that Napa Valley wines have been over extracted and have to big a flavor profile. I was thinking that you should probably drink them somewhere between 12 and 15 years depending on vintage. What became interesting was the bottle format and the effect it has on longevity. I noticed in Champagne that many wineries store their grapes in 1.5 liter bottles for blending.
What was interesting was that Chateau Montelana still has bottles for sale in that format. Something to think about if you are going to hold for a long time.