This past weekend I was in Napa for a quick wine tasting and "get out of LA" trip. I've never been to Napa but I've heard great things. While there I probably went to 8 different wineries for tasting and tours but none of them stuck out as much as Chateau Montelena.
For those of you who aren't familiarly with Chateau Montelena, this is the winery that pretty much put Napa Valley on the map. Back in 1976 there was a wine tasting with France's top wine tasters. Chateau Montelena's 1973 Chardonnay won the so called "Judgement of Paris" which in turn made Napa Valley a world renowned location for wine making. There is even a film made about the story called Bottle Shock.
Upon entry you drive down a little tree covered road that eventually opens up to a awesome view of the vineyard. You then walk up a hill to find yourself staring at a huge castle looking building. The smells of French Oak and fermenting wine hit your nose as you get closer and all you can think about it tasting some wine.
We were immediately greeted and brought into our private tasting area, which was a kitchen off the side of the main tasting room. This kitchen was amazing and looked like something out of a home building catalog. We tasted 5 different wines which included the Sauvignon Blanc, the Chardonnay, the Zinfandel or as our guide liked to call it the Primovito, the Cabernet Sauvignon and their 2003 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. To me the best ones were the Sauvignon Blanc and the 2003 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact I would have to say out of all the wines I tasted while in Napa. I figure I tasted about 5 different wines at each of the 8 wineries which is 40 different wines. The one that wins out of all 40 wines is the 2003 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon by far.
After the tasting we walked around the estate and had a little bread and cheese while drinking some of the Montelena Sauvignon Blanc at the edge of the grape vines.
It was by far one of the best experiences being on the Chateau Montelena Estate. The people were friendly, the winery was beautiful and the wine was to die for. I highly recommend checking out Chateau Montelena when you are in Napa!
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Ryan Weiss (RyanWeiss)
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Chateau Montelena is a Napa Valley winery most famous for winning the white wine section of the historic "Judgement of Paris" wine competition. Chateau Montelena's Chardonnay was in competition with nine other wines from France and California under blind tasting. All 11 judges awarded their top scores to either the Chardonnays from Chateau Montelena or Chalone Winery, another California wine producer. Chateau Montelena was featured in the 2008 film Bottle Shock.