2021 Chateau Montelena Potter Valley Riesling

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2019 Chateau Montelena Potter Valley Riesling

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

Riesling is a hidden gem within the Chateau Montelena portfolio. Many people don’t know it exists, and once they do – they keep coming back for more. Stylistically, it is amazingly refreshing with notes of lemon blossom, honeysuckle and rose petal that are balanced by lively acidity

Winemaker Matt Crafton best describes the experience associated with this unique wine:

“I love sharing our Riesling when I travel. Primarily, it’s because very few people actually know that we make Riesling and even fewer have tried it. But, secondarily, and this is my favorite part, I really enjoy the responses I get when I offer someone a glass. By far, the most common reply is some flavor of ‘No thank you. I don’t drink sweet wine.’ Once I coax them into a taste, however, few don’t finish the glass. “

Many years ago, Chateau Montelena selected a certified organic vineyard in the Coastal Mendocino Mountains from which, even today, it sources the fruit for the Potter Valley Riesling. The basic winemaking truth — “The Right Grape in the Right Place”—drove that decision then, and it is every bit as valid now. The Riesling grape is a noble variety that requires moderate days and cool nights to allow proper ripening and mature flavor development.


Aromas of lemon blossom, honeysuckle and rose petals are immediately apparent with a quick swirl of the glass. They’re followed by ripe strawberry, fresh-cut melon, and cinnamon.


On the palate, the wine evolves slowly but beautifully. The lively acidity is juicy and mouth-coating; gradually giving way to apricots, pineapple, and lemon candy. There’s a subtle spiciness that carries through the midpalate and balances the viscosity and texture – all hallmarks of the 2014 vintage. The finish is rich and refreshing, lingering past lemon meringue and kaffir lime.


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 2021
    Bottle Size 750ml
    Cultivar 100% Riesling
    Country USA
    Alcohol content
    13% alc vol 
    Units of Alcohol per Bottle 9.75 units
    Type White Wine
    Barrel Aging
    6 months in a combination of French oak and stainless steel
    Allergen Information Contains Sulphites
    Food Matches Enjoy Potter Valley Riesling with Asian cuisines, such as spicy pad Thai, or perhaps with citrusy grilled shrimp
    Origin California
    Appellation Napa Valley