Chateau Montelena has a colorful past, but it was the legendary Paris Tasting in 1976 that made this winery -- and the California wine industry -- famous.
French wine experts chose Montelena winery's 1973 Chardonnay in a blind taste test, beating out France's finest from Burgundy.
The unexpected selection stunned the wine world. The rest of the world learned about it in Time magazine's article, The Judgment of Paris. A Hollywood version of the event was depicted in the 2008 film Bottle Shock.
Vintners here humbly say that the wine itself was the hero, and a win for all Napa Valley wineries. They certainly raised the bar.
Whether you're a serious wine lover or a history buff, you'll want to put this magnificent winery on your tour list. You'll love the wines and love getting the insider's story that the movie doesn't reveal.
Montelena wines are still world-class. Best known for its aromatic and full-bodied Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, and fruity, delightful (my words) Chardonnay, this winery also produces superb Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc.
Here are a couple stellar reviews:
Built in 1888, this magnificent Chateau was intended as a barrel aging facility. Made of stone walls three to twelve feet thick, the Chateau kept the wine barrels an even cool temperature year-round. It was quite extravagant -- and forward-thinking -- for nineteenth-century Napa Valley, where most wineries were constructed of wood. Its design was also a rarity, looking like an English Gothic castle.
In 2013, the Chateau Montelena winery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. This honor recognizes two legacies: From 1888-1920, Alfred Tubbs built and operated the winery; then, 1968-1976 when vintner Jim Barrett bought the property and rose to fame with its 1973 Chardonnay.
Today, Chateau Montelena is still owned and operated by the Barrett family, with Jim's son Bo Barrett as CEO.
This ivy-covered chateau is an exquisite gem to explore. Carved into the hillside of Mount St. Helena, the historic stone castle overlooks glistening Jade Lake, surrounded by gorgeous gardens and vineyards. It's truly a peaceful paradise you won't forget.
Reservations are now required for all tastings and tours of the magnificent chateau, its vineyards and cellars.
Step into the tasting room on the top floor of the chateau for a sampling of current release wines.
You have several tour/tasting options. The tours are in small groups -- and that's a good thing. You'll get more out of it from your knowledgeable guide, who'll share Montelena winery's rich history and show you around this beautiful estate.
True oenophiles will want the Montelena Estate Collection small group tour and tasting experience. You'll taste how Chardonnay made this winery famous, followed by four vintages of superb Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chateau Montelena occasionally hosts special events at the winery. Be sure to check their website for the latest happenings.
These are for Wine Club members only, and require reservations.
Can't-miss event: Calistoga Food & Wine Grand Tasting on November 18, 2023. Join Chateau Montelena, along with 30 other Calistoga AVA wineries at the Solage Resort. Mingle with friends while listening to live music, and savoring fine wine and gourmet bites.
Join truffle hunter Maria Finn for the Winter Truffle Experience on February 10, 2024. Learn how truffles are foraged, and take your tastebuds on a captivating flavor journey.
Sample current release wine alongside a library of vintage with your host Winemaker Matt Crafton. This is a rare opportunity for Comparative Tasting at the Chateau on March 16, 2024.
Enjoy a relaxing spring afternoon at the much-anticipated Spring Shindig, April 20, 2024. Sip new releases and library wines, savor a gourmet lunch, and listen to live music.
1429 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga, California 94515 * 707-942-5105 * www.montelena.com
Open daily, 9:30am - 4pm. The winery is closed for many holidays and special events. Check the winery's website for the latest schedule and tasting options.
What you'll want to know before you go: