18 December 2015 News

Next year, Chateau Montelena will celebrate 40 years since the Judgment of Paris, also known as the Paris Tasting, when its 1973 Chardonnay beat French and American competitors in a blind tasting of wines in Paris. The tasting forever changed the way the world views American wine and helped put California at the forefront of the wine world.

The winery will be hosting an exciting series of events from January through June. Click here for the official press release and a list of all the planned events!


6 July 2015 News

The latest issue of the Wine Advocate includes a retrospective on the 2005 vintage in Napa. Robert Parker note that  Chateau Montelena’s 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is “certainly one of the great ones.” See below for the text of the review.

“The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon at age ten is still a young, vibrant, dense ruby/purple -colored wine with lots of classic cassis fruit and a touch of earth undertones. It offers relatively soft and silky tannins by the standards of Montelena, but they’re there. It is full-bodied, rich and impressive. Cabernet Sauvignon from the northern end of the Napa Valley in Calistoga tends to be the St.-Estèphe of Napa. This wine is certainly one of the great ones. Forget it for another 3-4 years and drink it over the following 20-25.

Beautiful Montelena Winery was established in 1882, which says a lot. It has been owned by the Barrett family for a long time, becoming one of the iconic wines of Napa Valley. (There’s probably as much Château Montelena in my California collection as any Napa Cab.) However, the aging curve of Montelena is irrefutable, with the estate Cabernet easily going the distance of 20-30 years, even in lighter vintages.”

1 May 2015 News

Bo Barrett, CEO of California’s Chateau Montelena, recently sat down for a Q&A with Idaho-based newspaper Boise Weekly.  Some of the excerpts are posted below.

  • On taking top prize at the Judgement of Paris:  “Basically what happened was the Australians said, “Well, if the Californians can do it, we can do it, too.” And the South Africans and the South Americans. So we think it was a big part of the democratization of wine.”
  • On changes in Napa since the 1970s:  “We have a much better grip on precision viticulture; I’d say the fundamental change has been how careful we farm now. … We have much more gentle equipment, planting has changed quite a bit, we have closer spacing. … On the winemaking side, we have such a better grip on the chemistry, on the microbiology, the tools that we have to make better wine.”
  • On what’s interesting in the wine world:  “The most exciting thing to me is that they’re making good wine in Texas now and they’re making good wine in Idaho. Good wine has spread over the country. … That’s pretty cool to see Americans starting to enjoy it as a beverage and with their food and dinner.”
The whole interview can be read here.


23 February 2015 News

At Chateau Montelena, they are looking between the rows of vines for a way to absorb greenhouse gases, extend the life of farmland and keep soil moist in times of drought.  By extensively using ground-cover crops and composting methods, Montelena is preserving its lands for future use. The soil-hugging vegetation essentially acts as a safeguard against the exhaustion of the land.  The plants pull carbon dioxide from the air, retaining water, harboring pest-hunting insects and strengthening the ground against erosion.  As a bonus, all of these factors reduce the reliance on and cost of pesticides and fertilizers.

Vineyard manager Dave Vella states, “It’s all about balance; we want to maintain what we already have (in the soil). We’re not going to ‘improve’ on anything. … You have to look at soil like a big checking account; you make a deposit and you get a return, but you can’t keep withdrawing from the soil.”

The full piece can be read here.

18 November 2014 News, Videos

Antonio Galloni from Vinous Media inteviews Bo Barrett from Chateau Montelena. Chateau Montelena’s Bo Barrett discusses the 2014 harvest and recent vintages.

Click here to watch the full video

25 October 2014 News

Antonio Galloni writes up a remarkable dinner at Press on Vinous Media, and the two Chateau Montelena wines tasted, the 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County and 1991 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, show as you would expect.  Galloni writes about the wines:

“Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County is a real oddity. Not to be confused with the more famous 1973 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, the Sonoma County is a different wine, but very much compelling in its own right. Still remarkably fresh and beautifully layered in the glass, the 1973 impresses for its brightness and purity. Sweet red berries, crushed flowers and savory herbs add naunce on the sculpted finish. What a revelation this is. 94/Drinking window: 2014-2023.”

“What a thrill it is to drink Montelena’s 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that takes hold of all the sense and never lets up. Imposing and intense, the 1991 is simply riveting. The flavors are dark, intense and savory, but it is the wine’s silkiness that stands out above all else. Well-stored bottles will continue to drink beautifully for another decade-plus. 97/Drinking window: 2014-2024.”

Click here to go to the article (subscription required).


20 October 2014 News

David Stoneberg, editor of St. Helena Star, wrote an article on Chateau Montelena’s new winemaker – see below for an excerpt!

“Matt Crafton, a native of Virginia, first worked as a cellar rat, then cellar master before moving to California and earning a degree from UC Davis. After that, his first job was assistant winemaker at Calistoga’s Chateau Montelena.

For winemaker Matt Crafton, it’s all about balance.

Balance means walking in the vineyards at Calistoga’s Chateau Montelena starting in January and February; balance means making sure an old head-trained vine has the water it needs at the right time of year to produce the canopy for the fruit it is growing; and balance means understanding the grapes you’re given in the cellar and highlighting their best parts to make great wines.”

Click here for the whole article

18 July 2014 News, Videos

Check out this great video of Chateau Montelena’s new winemaker Matt Crafton explaining their work with Fish Friendly Farming to improve their stretch of the Napa River.

17 June 2014 News

Chateau Montelena Winery announced the promotion of Matthew Crafton from assistant winemaker to winemaker. Crafton will continue to work under the guidance of Chateau Montelena’s CEO and master winemaker Bo Barrett with the support of vineyard manager Dave Vella. Click here to read more about Matt in an article from Wine and here for an article that appeared today in the Weekly Calistogan.

21 April 2014 News

Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen give readers some great pairing options that will make you “rethink wines at the raw bar”. DeSimone and Jenssen say “Sure, the safe choice is a crisp Chardonnay or a bottle of bubbly. But there are many other whites – and even a few reds and rosés – that can elevate and add even more nuance to the flavors on your packed plate.” Their top choice for ceviche is Chateau Montelena’s 2012 Potter Valley Riesling! Click below to see the more pairings.