Overview of the Wine
Chateau Montelena’s history is one of the deepest and most storied in the Napa Valley and California. Founded just north of Calistoga by a senator and San Francisco entrepreneur in 1882 at the turn of the century, it was one of the largest wineries in the state. Prohibition put an end to Montelena’s winemaking, and the next major era began in 1968, when Jim Barrett purchased the estate. Jim fell in love with this exceptional property, blessed with a complex mix of soils, slopes and biodiversity of wildlife and fauna. He had a dream of creating wine at the level of the great First Growths of Bordeaux, and set about replanting the vineyard, outfitting the winery with modern equipment, and studying the processes necessary for farming and winemaking at the highest quality level.
In 1976 Chateau Montelena put California at the forefront of the wine world. That year a who’s-who of the French wine and food establishment gathered for a grand tasting at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Paris. Four white Burgundies were tasted against six California Chardonnays. When the scores were tallied, the French Judges were convinced that the top-ranking white wine was one of their own. In fact, it was Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay, rated above all other wines. This seminal event has been memorialized in the book "The Judgment of Paris," by George Taber, as well as in the 2008 feature film Bottle Shock.
Today Chateau Montelena’s distinct 19th century stone structure stands as a quality icon in Napa Valley, consistently producing some of the finest wines in California. Master Winemaker Bo Barrett, Jim’s son, now runs the estate with the help of Winemaker Matt Crafton and Vineyard Manager Dave Vella.
A Napa Green Certified Winery
Grape / Blend
Napa Valley, California
The wine opens with fresh peach, apricot, and honeydew amidst citrus blossom and rose water. The diversity of aromas in this vintage is astounding as the floral characteristics begin to take center stage with time in the glass along with ample fresh pear and cinnamon. Lush, viscous, and driven by lemon curd, the palate leans toward creaminess but with enough bright acid, green apple, and toast to bring balance and finesse. The ripeness of the vintage drives the mouthfeel as the flavors exude freshness and vibrancy, a unique combination. Concentrated and persistent, again stone fruit appear, albeit in candied form, along with a hint of white pepper and plenty of orange zest.
This is a totally food friendly wine that can be enjoyed on its own, or as a complement to any number of dishes – especially fresh seafood, shellfish or poultry. The creaminess of a crab salad or lobster roll will cut through the acidity and citrus notes of the wine beautifully.
94 Points - Vinous
Montelena's 2017 Chardonnay is bright, focused and tightly wound, with tons of citrus peel, orchard fruit and floral character. Medium in body, with terrific energy underpinning the fruit, the 2017 is a winner. Picking early and blocking the malolactic fermentation yields a finely sculpted, nuanced Chardonnay long on class. I loved it.
Product size: 750ml