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.
Zinfandel is California’s heritage grape, and as anyone who has tasted long-lived examples from the 1970s, it can produce wines of tremendous quality, both immediate pleasure and age-worthiness, and all in a rich and spicy berry profile that is unique in the world of wine. Like every wine they produce, Montelena looks first and foremost to take the tremendous fruit they work with and transmit it in a complex, balanced package.
Beautiful and dark garnet in colour.
This Zinfandel opens with aromas of bright raspberry and floral top notes; followed by cedar, dried berries, dried plums, and the classic Zinfandel briar-berry along with hints of pipe tobacco and dusty cocoa.
The palate opens softly, with exceptional balance, and builds nicely into a good full finish. Dried fruit notes are perfectly complemented by fresh, red currant and mature black fruit flavors. Very juicy on the palate, it is ripe and sweet, with good length and just a hint of herbs on the finish. It shows good weight and velvety tannins throughout – very fleshy without being overbearing.
Not a hot or incredibly early vintage like ‘96 or ‘87, respectively, the weather cooperated and helped us produce wines of finesse, elegance, and balance – aspects that are critical for wines that exhibit a purity of expression and our wonderfully unique growing site.
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.
The vineyard is comprised of varied terrain, from flat to steep hillsides. Extending out from the Napa River is the alluvial soil, the most prevalent type on the property. In the back and outside areas of the vineyard are volcanic soils, formed by ancient lava flows caused by tectonic uplifting. The decades-old Zinfandel, planted in craggy volcanic soil, combined with 10-year-old vines in cobbly alluvial soil, produces a wine with complex character.
|14% alc vol
|Units of Alcohol per Bottle
|The Chateau Montelena Zinfandel can stand up to the big, meaty flavors, such as barbeque pork ribs, leg of lamb or a well-seasoned beef dish. The spicy notes of the wine will also complement dark chocolate dishes quite well.