Chateau Montelena

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I had a fabulous trip to Napa Valley last week. This was my second visit and again, I learned even more about wine and its history. One of the vineyards I would recommend is Chateau Montelena of the movie 'Bottle Shock' fame.  Although it shot to fame after the 1976 'Judgment of Paris' tasting, the estate's history began in 1882 when rope entrepreneur Alfred Loving Tubbs bought 254 acres of land just north of Calistoga at the foot of Mount Saint Helena. Tubbs planted vines, and by 1896 Chateau Montelena was the seventh largest winery in the Napa Valley.

However, like so many vineyards, the Prohibition brought an end to winemaking. The estate would change hands. In 1958 Yort Wing Frank, a Chinese electrical engineer, and his wife Jeanie bought the Chateua and excavated Jade Lake.

It wasn't until 1972 that the Chateau undership a partnership that included attorney James Barnett once more produced wines. Four years later, the Chateau Montelena 1973 Alexander Valley Chardonnay won first place among the chardonnays and white Burgundies entered in the "Judgment of Paris" wine competition. A bottle of that vintage is in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Our group was met by a guide who related the history and then we were shown into a spacious room where we watched a clip of 'Bottle Shock' and then indulged in tasting both chardonney and cabernet sauvignion. I actually picked out the 2007 Estate Chardoney as my favorite, and the guide told me that it was a favorite of those at the Chateau.  Fabulous wines, intriquing history and tranquil grounds.  :) Carol

Chateau Montelena

                                                Wine tasting room.

The 2007 Chardonney was 2nd glass on the left.

Wine press the character Sam Fulton was filmed cleaning in the movie 'Bottle Shock'

                                              Jade Lake

                                         St. Helena.


MaureenAMiller said...

Beautiful, Carol! I admit that my first introduction to the lovely wineries of Napa came from Falcon Crest. :)

Later in life my work took me to the area. It feels like I imagine Italy's Tuscany to be.

Carol Stephenson said...

Ohhhhh, Maureen. I remember Falcon Crest as well. We think we drove by the estate used in the show.