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.
It doesn’t take much time in the glass to reveal the ripeness of the vintage. Dried cherries, baking spices, and vanilla intermingle with softer notes of espresso bean, pipe tobacco, and lavender.
The 2015 steers toward dark fruit with plenty of blackberry jam and plums slowly yielding to intense, vibrant tannins and bright acid. A touch of smoke punctuates the midpalate revealing anise and cocoa. Within a few moments, rhubarb appears as do dried ginger and black pepper. Additional ageing time is undoubtedly necessary to reveal the potential of this wine.
The finish ties both the nose and palate together with fresh raspberries, a subtle hint of mint, and incredible freshness.
From the Winemaker, Matt Crafton
As we approach forty vintages of Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, there are certain values that draw together a harmony from those pioneering early wines to the dynamic, sought-after bottles we produce today.The valley has matured and we’ve endeavored to improve our offerings from the systematic replanting of our Estate vineyard to modernizing the cellar, to becoming an industry leader in sustainability. All of these individual facets come together under the auspices of tradition and history to create delicious, age-worthy wines year after year.
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 20 years|
|Allergen Information||Contains Sulphites|
|Barrel Ageing||100% French, 40% 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.