Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chateau Montelena

While Drew was in town, we picked up a copy of the Judgement of Paris. This is the story of the famous blind tasting conducted just outside of Paris between French and Californian wines judged by George Taber and leading industry professionals. California's victory put Napa Valley wines on the map and brought some passionate vintners some well deserved respect. One of the wineries that competed in this tasting was Chateau Montelena. On my day off, we hopped in the car and drove 10 minutes to Calistoga to see it in person and learn more of its dynamic history that began in 1882.
For instance, did you know that there is a gorgeous man-made pond dedicated to a past owner's wife named Jade that descended from China? Did you know that they remodeled the winery into their home and the home was later remodeled back into the winery and tasting room?
Bottle Shock just released in town and is an exaggerated tale of the Judgment of Paris that depicts Napa Valley in the 70's as a hippie culture where vintners surf in the afternoon. Trust me, this was not the case back then. However, it is a reminder of how far California wines have come and how they have paved the way for more emerging wines from regions in other countries, such as New Zealand and Chile.

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