Chateau Montelena shot to fame in 1976 at the iconic Judgement of Paris that shook the wine world to its core when their 1973 Napa Valley Chardonnay won first place against an enviable line-up of top French Burgundies. The result was a shock to the wine trade all over the world and changed the history of California wine - and Chateau Montelena - forever.
The interplay of cassis, vanilla, and black cherry are quite complementary but also dynamic; shifting to fresh blueberry with a hint of tobacco. These, in turn, are buttressed by dark chocolate, mocha, and a slight suggestion of sweet oak.
Silky, fine-grain tannins vie with vibrant acidity that slowly expose the rich, ripe raspberry and blackberry notes that dominate the mid-palate. While the fruit is lush and mouthcoating, some patience will unveil the subtle layers of anise, smoke, and earth hidden beneath. The finish extends the density and structure as cloves and cinnamon combine with nuances of briar and flint yielding an extraordinarily food-friendly wine.
From the Winemaker, Matt Crafton, July 2017
It’s always an incredibly special moment when we finish the final blend of our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon; when we’ve hit that perfect spot where the flavors, aromas, and textures reach the pinnacle of balance and expression. Our forty-year legacy of recognizing the far-reaching consequences of how we farm, craft the wine and blend, along with the ethos to agonize over every fundamental detail is what sets Chateau Montelena apart.
Established in 1882 and located in Calistoga, California– the Montelena Estate is one of the oldest and most notable wine-producing properties in the Napa Valley. Click below to explore our beautiful grounds and see for yourself.
Chateau Montelena Winery, originally called A.L. Tubbs winery after its founder Alfred Tubbs, was constructed in 1888 and intended as a barrel-aging facility. The Chateau was unique in materials, plan, size, and style for its era. In nineteenth-century Napa Valley, the majority of wineries were constructed of wood. Instead, the Chateau is made of stone with walls three to twelve feet thick, which provides natural insulation against outside heat or cold. Similarly, the structure built into a hillside, to further regulate temperature - something necessary for producing quality wines but uncommon at the time. Also rare among Napa Valley wineries, the Chateau resembles an English Gothic castle gatehouse complete with rusticated stone walls, battlement with crenels and merlons, narrow arched windows, large arched door in the place of a portcullis, and bartizans with faux arrow slits.
Accounts of the stone winery’s designer, masons and source of materials vary. The design has been attributed to Hamden McIntyre, the well-known local winery designer; however, McIntyre relocated to Vina in 1887 where he took charge of the vineyard and winery of Leland Stanford. The building is unlike McIntyre's other wineries, none of which were designed in a Gothic style. Some sources also suggest that while in Europe, Tubbs hired a French architect to draw plans for the building, brought back French masons to build it, and imported European stone for the walls. Other accounts suggest the design was inspired by the Cellar of Chateau Lafite in France.
Originally, the interior was one large space with a second-story crushing floor, but in 1960, a second-floor apartment was inserted so the Chateau could be used as a home. The space was then converted into our current Tasting room though parts of the private residence remain and are used on occasion today for family guests and private events.
|Cultivar||97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot|
14.1% alc vol
|Units of Alcohol per Bottle||10.4 units|
|Cellaring Potential||Good for now and up to 20years|
|Allergen Information||Contains Sulphites|
|Barrel Ageing||100% French, 35% New|
This is a powerhouse wine that can stand up to any number of complex dishes, but can be best enjoyed with beef, lamb, game (deer, venison) and mature, hard cheeses.