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Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena's French style château is located in the north of California's Napa Valley, where it is one of the oldest estates. Montelena has a celebrated history, making shock waves through the wine industry when its 1973 Chardonnay made by Croatian winemaker Mike Grgich, won the white wine section against a prestigious line-up of white Burgundies in the historic 1976 “Judgement of Paris” wine competition. A bottle of this wine is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, and the story is immortalised in the 2008 film “Bottle Shock”. Montelena's story however began in 1882 when the entrepreneur and Californian State Senator Alfred L. Tubbs purchased 254 acres of land and planted vines north of Castiloga at the foot of Mount Saint Helena, and by 1896 it was the seventh largest winery in the Napa Valley. During prohibition Tubbs sold his grapes but did not produce wine. The estate remained in the Tubbs family until 1958, when it was sold to Yort Wing Frank and his wife Jeanie. He was a Chinese electrical engineer who did not make wine either. Instead he created the château's Chinese style gardens, which remain a feature of the estate today. In 1968 the property was acquired by Lee and Helen Paschich, who brought in as partners James L. Barrett, a lawyer, and Ernest Hahn, a property developer. The vineyards were replanted, new winemaking equipment was installed, and in 1972 wine started to be produced once more. The Montelena's terroir is unique, a complex mix of sedimentary, alluvial and volcanic soils. Today the wines are produced by Barrett's son Bo, with assistance from winemaker Matt Crafton, who continue to produce iconic wines: powerful long-lived Cabernet Sauvignons, textbook Chardonnays and tropical aromatic Rieslings. Chateau Montelena is a wine legend!