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If you’ve ever heard of the 1976 Judgement of Paris Tasting, (or watched the movie Bottle Sock) then you know Château Montelena plays a very important role in this competition. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a quick recap our friends at Forbes magazine wrote: “The Judgment was a 1976 blind tasting in Paris that pitted the best of Bordeaux and Burgundy against the top Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays of a promising but (at the time) still fairly under-the-radar wine region called Napa Valley. The judges included some of the most important figures in the world of French wine, like Châteaux Mouton-Rothschild, Haut-Brion, Léoville Las Cases, and Montrose.”
Château Montelena was one of the big winners of this competition when their Chardonnay (which was competing among some of the best Chablis in the world) won the big prize. This “pushed Napa Valley’s Chateau Montelena into the wine world’s consciousness, bestowing lasting fame.”
Château Montelena has been the property of the Barret family since 1972. The castle-like winery is in Calistoga District in Napa Valley, just at the foot of Mount Saint Helena. Calistoga is one of Napa Valley’s most iconic AVAs with a perfect terroir and climate, the most extreme day-to-night temperature differentiation, and a refreshing cool breeze that comes from the Pacific ocean. This results in high-quality wines with excellent acidity and an amazing aging capability.
This is an iconic winery that has been recognized among the best estates in Napa Valley, and its wines have achieved several 90+ scores from some of the major wine critics and magazines. Among these recognitions, Vine Pair claimed that “the estate is continuing to operate at the highest level,” and Rob Report says “the business of Chateau Montelena hinges entirely on what ends up in the glass. They’re real.”
This stunning Zinfandel is slightly rustic, rich, and full-bodied. Owner and winemaker Bo Barret is proud of this unique Zin (which is a blend of Zinfandel and Primitivo grapes) that combines the elegance of an Italian Primitivo with the boldness of an American Zin. He says, “our Zinfandel is not like the others, and we’re perfectly fine with that.”
Aging: 16 months in French and American oak, 16% new.
Tasting Notes: 100% Zinfandel/Primitivo. The wine opens with cranberry, raspberry, and vanilla on the nose. While the aromas lean toward red fruit initially, they’re bolstered by baking spices, cocoa, and dried cherry. Medium-body, and balanced by fine-grain tannins. The tannins are silky and velvety, extending and lingering with a hint of minerality.
The 2015 Chateau Montelena Estate Zinfandel wows the palate with its excellent balance and persistence. TASTING NOTES: This wine is fresh and energetic with its aromas of active red and black fruits. Pair it with a slab of grilled pork belly in a piquant raspberry sauce. ~91 Wilfred Wong
~90 Cellar Tracker
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