2016 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay

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2016 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay

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.

Tasting Notes

Winemaker Matt Crafton best describes this vintage:

"Leadership is deeply ingrained in our DNA at Chateau Montelena. It drove Jim Barrett as he rehabilitated the winery in the 1970’s and continues today in the spirit of innovation, creation, and ingenuity that dene the culture here. Our legacy of leadership and stewardship informs how we make decisions both in the vineyard and winery; we’re deeply respectful of the past but openly embrace bold ideas as we aim to craft extraordinary wines each year. The 2016 Chardonnay embodies that perfectly. While our neighbors were still prepping their crush pads, we were deep in our Chardonnay vineyards tasting the incredible flavour development that just couldn’t be seen using routine lab analysis. The result was our recognition of an incredibly tight window to harvest while the sweetness, acidity, and flavours were in perfect balance."


All of our wines from the 2016 vintage are incredibly floral and this Chardonnay is no exception. Honeysuckle, jasmine, and apple blossom along with wispy notes of vanilla and lemon balm highlight a harmony of classic Chardonnay aromas.


Green apple, candied orange peel, and baking spices anchor a panoply of vineyard flavours. Seamlessly interwoven between each is fresh, bright acidity along with incredible minerality and depth that slowly build texture and weight.

The contrast between silky toast and sweet pear highlights an exceedingly rich finish that will only become more supple and dynamic with age.

2016 Chateau Montelena Tasting Note

Vintage Weather

2016 will be remembered as a classic vintage with consistent temperatures and few extremes. Although yields were low in general, a relatively mild August and September moderated ripening, allowing for uniform maturity and the opportunity for very selective, targeted picks.


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.

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.


    Year 2016
    Bottle Size 750ml
    Cultivar 100% Chardonnay
    Country USA
    Alcohol content
    13.6% alc vol 
    Units of Alcohol per Bottle 10.2 units
    Type White Wine
    Barrel Aging
    10 months French Oak
    Allergen Information Contains Sulphites
    Origin California
    Appellation Napa Valley