"Ripe peach, pear and cloves dominate the nose amidst a flurry of floral and honeysuckle notes. There's a wonderful fullness and weight on the palate punctuated by ripe melon, green apple, and fresh citrus. The oak contribution remains subtle with a hint of vanilla and baking spice. The density of the wine is readily apparent as grilled pineapple, lychee, and a rich creaminess linger."
Chateau Montelena's rich history began on a chilly fall morning when Alfred L. Tubbs spaded over and inspected the soil where he thought of planting estate vineyards. He'd heard the Napa Valley was the best place to grow grapes in California. A deal was struck and in January of 1882 the San Francisco entrepreneur owned 254 acres of rugged land just two miles north of Calistoga at the base of Mount Saint Helena. The soils are well drained, stony and loose – perfect for the vine cuttings he would plant.
The vineyard site, developed from old ocean terraces and alluvial fans, contains a lot of sedimentary material such as decomposed shale and blue/gray clay. This soil mixture gives moderate drainage and slight acidity. Typically the Chardonnay has a concentrated floral, green apple aroma and a refreshing and persistent impression on the palate.
The wine was aged in 100% French oak barrels for 10 months.
The source for Chateau Montelena's Chardonnay is located in the south-central Napa Valley appellation near the base of Mt. Veeder and Dry Creek Valley Road on the western bench of the Napa Valley. It has a good north-eastern exposure with a slope of 4-7%. The Haire-Loam soil has a profile very similar to that of the Carneros region, although the climate is slightly warmer.
Chateau MontelenaView all from Chateau Montelena
Chateau Montelena's rich history began on a chilly fall morning when Alfred L. Tubbs spaded over and inspected the soil where he thought of planting estate vineyards. He had heard the Napa Valley was the best place to grow grapes in California. A deal was struck, and in January of 1882 the San Francisco entrepreneur owned 254 acres of rugged land just two miles north of Calistoga at the base of Mount Saint Helena. The soils are well drained, stony and loose - perfect for the vines he would plant.
It took less than a decade to turn his dream into reality. First Tubbs planted his vineyards, then he built his Chateau, and in 1886 he imported a French-born winemaker. By 1896 his winery, then called A.L. Tubbs Winery, was the seventh largest in the Napa Valley. Like many other wineries in the area, winemaking at the Chateau came to an end with Prohibition. After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Tubbs' grandson, Chapin Tubbs, continued the family's venture harvesting the vineyard, making some wines and selling grapes to other wineries and home winemakers. In 1940, Chapin rechristened the winery as Chateau Montelena Winery, a contraction of Mount St. Helena.
Two years after Chapin Tubbs' death in 1947, winemaking was discontinued, and Chateau Montelena would not function as a winery for nearly two decades. The Tubbs family sold the Chateau in 1958, at which time the stone building and its overgrown grounds passed into the hands of Yort and Jeanie Frank who were looking for a peaceful spot to retire. The Franks emigrated from Hong Kong prior to World War II and had been living in Southern California where Frank was an electrical engineer. The Chateau inspired Frank to excavate a lake and landscape the grounds to reflect the Chinese gardens of his homeland. Today, Jade Lake is considered one of Napa Valley's most beautiful sanctuaries, home to a variety of fish and wildlife, and surrounded by weeping willows and native fauna.
The next chapter began with the renaissance of Chateau Montelena Winery and the Estate vineyard in the early 1970's. Under the leadership of Jim Barrett, the vineyard was cleared and replanted, and the Chateau outfitted with modern winemaking equipment. He assembled a team to oversee the vineyard and winemaking, then grew and contracted for the highest-quality grapes in the Napa Valley. In 1972 wines were made for the first time. Decades later, this celebrated family-owned winery continues to thrive with Jim's son Bo Barrett at the helm.