Come Taste For Yourself

As a new member of the Montelena family, we invite you to meet us, taste the wines and enjoy a bounty of benefits.

Visit The Chateau

Have you gotten your ticket yet?

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Well…have you?  Who wouldn’t want to come up to wine country for one of the hottest parties of the year?  To everyone down in San Francisco and all the Bay Area, get up here….just for the fun of it.  Check out the event website at to get your tickets and more information.  Why not?


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We love our Chateau.   It defines us in so many ways, and over time we have put it on mouse pads and coffee cups, temporary tattoos (called “Chattoos”), shirts and hats, trivets and coasters – the latter  two items very popular sellers in our tasting room.   Some years back, a toy train manufacturer now out of business asked permission to use it on a box car.  We agreed.  It has become a collector’s item.  Any ideas for the next placement of our logo?

What’s Your Patio Wine?

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Now that we’re in the second week of May, the sunshine is coming out of hibernation and we’re entering “patio season” when the warmer temperatures beg for refreshingly cool wines.  The longer days mean I can come home, sit on the patio and relax while enjoying a glass (or two, let’s be honest) of one of my favorite summer whites – sauvignon blanc – as I unwind from the day and catch up with some of my favorite people.  These days, I just want to stock up on all the the light, refreshing wines that I can get my hands on!  I call them “patio wines” because these are the wines that make patio-sipping so enjoyable and usually bring about great memories.  Very soon, we’ll be releasing our own 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc which will likely become the summer wine for my house in 2011.  If you’re curious to taste it, we’ll be pouring it for a patio party of our own on June 25th.  So tell me, what’s the beverage that you stock up on so you can enjoy it all summer long?

A Symbol of Montelena History in Auction Napa Valley

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Vintage 2007 of our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon represents the 30th bottling of the wine that fulfills Jim Barrett’s vision for excellence in winemaking.  We thought it appropriate to offer a complete horizontal, six sizes from 375ml to 6 Liter, in the E-Auction of Auction Napa Valley coming up in early June.  Each bottle is signed by Jim Barrett, and by Master Winemaker Bo Barrett.  A cool add-on is that the case holding all the wine is constructed with reclaimed redwood removed during the renovation of the Private Residence in the Chateau.  You can view the lot description here.  One lucky bidder will get this treasure.  Do you think we should make more for sale here at the winery?  What do you think the auction lot will go for?

Luxury in Calistoga: It Does Exist

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If you’ve had the pleasure to visit the quaint little town of Calistoga, then you’ve enjoyed a throw back community to the new modern towns of US of A.   The town is rich with little shops, bed and breakfasts, casual dining; and most famous for the geothermal geography, which leads way to the mud and mineral baths.  But amongst the relaxed and personal charm of the laid back community, you’ll find Solage Resort and Spa, next to the old Calistoga Water plant on Silverado Trail.  This is a true oasis of luxury in a community full of  country lovin’.

While Solage boasts 4 star accomodations and spa treatments, it’s not over the top.  I call it minimalist elegance.  It is built to not intrude upon the natural surroundings.  All one story buildings with little invasion into its natural surroundings.

And if you don’t want to stay overnight, stop in to SolBar, their restaurant with amazing food; amazing settings.  I’ve taken  many out of towners there for lunch who simply said without saying by the expressions on their faces, this is paradise.

Ok, southern Napa Valley has a some of the finest dining in the country, but don’t overlook/underestimate what the little town charm of Calistoga has to offer.

Solage's SolBar Restaurant

What’s your favorite vintage?

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Recently I’ve had quite a few people ask me what is my favorite vintage of Montelena Estate Cabernet.

One of the great things about working at Montelena is that, as an employee, I’ve gotten a chance to taste almost ever vintage of Estate Cabernet since we started making it in 1978. I’ve definitely tasted all the way back to 1983 and I think I’ve tried a few of the even older ones as well. And, when I tell people this, they always ask me which one is my favorite. My gut response is that they are all great wines. But, I do have to admit that I have a few favorites – vintages that I think are truly exceptional. So far, my two favorite vintages are the 1998 and the 2002; in my opinion, these are the best wines we’ve made. But, I also always wonder, what you think.

What is your favorite vintage of Montelena Estate Cabernet? I would love to know.

Dave Hosts Jeremy Irons

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Recently, the famous actor Jeremy Irons visited us as part of a British documentary project.  Who was the lucky guy that hosted him?  Our own Dave Vella, because the whole subject of the upcoming feature is about sustainability, and Dave is our resident guru on that subject.  Catch Jeremy Irons on the current Showtime series “The Borgias” – catch Dave and Jeremy Irons on camera in a future Blenheim Films documentary about sustainable farming – we’ll let you know when the film is released.

Dave Vella and Jeremy Irons

Music Pairing with Wines?

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Okay I am going to go out on a limb here but I think this is an interesting topic and I would love to hear from other wine folks.   Music can be a big part of your life just like wine.  It is a part of celebatory events, moments of solitude as well as times of focus during work, (working out, cleaning house, working on projects).   Like wine, your choice in music depends on your mood and the event.   I am curious if certain music enhances your wine experience?  So here is a scenario:

You are on your weekend and decide to have a glass of Chateau Montelena and listen to music.  What music do you gravitate to?  And what Montelena wine do you drink?

Oh by the way - For those of you who have an iPhone, here is a link to a free app that does just that – pairs wine with music.  The app is called Wine DJ.

Time To Party at the Ol’ Chateau

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Once a year, we close the winery to throw the party of all parties for our dedicated CellarMaster members. Always the third Saturday of May, so it will be on the 21st of this year, is our annual Movable Feast.  As those lucky to attend last year will remember, the Modern/Cajun version of the Partridge Family, L’angelus, will be performing one more time. These young brothers and sisters act (yes, I had to card them last year) put on an amazing show; the attendees got up and danced, a Conga line formed, and some members showcased their true vocal talents (and yes, they were good); final round American Idol good; not midnight Karaoke at the local bar bad.

Food will be themed around the Cajun party; whole roasted pig, gumbo, crayfish, and much, much more.  Oh yeah, plenty of Montelena wines,  young and old, will be pouring a plenty as we celebrate our 35th anniversary of the famous Paris tasting of 1976. In our audience will be George Taber, author of Judgement in Paris, and sole journalist to witness and write about the famed tasting.

If you’re an eligible CellarMaster member, reserve now as it is limited, and will sell out.  For those who didn’t, well, sign up  to become a CellarMaster now and get ready for next year. After all, I’m tasked with making this party better and better each year!

And….if you didn’t get in this year, we’re throwing an open to the public event on June 25th.  Check it out at


Chateau Montelena's Movable Feast

Photo by Jason Tinacci


#Chardonnay Day

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Mark your calendars for a grand, online celebration on May 26, 2011!  It’s that time of year again – the day that we celebrate all things #Chardonnay (and it’s just 2 days after the 35th anniversary of the 1976 Paris Tasting).  You can participate in the online conversation by Facebooking, Tweeting, blogging, tumbling or using any other form of social media with the hashtag #Chardonnay.  Share fun facts about your favorite Chardonnay, taste virtually with your online friends or ask questions to learn more about this wonderful wine.

And if you happen to be in our neck of the woods, be sure to check-in to the winery on Foursquare, Yelp or Facebook to redeem special offers for winetastings.

Chateau Montelena Chardonnay

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About Our Authors

George Blanckensee

An expert event planner and an avid basketball and sports fan, George can tell you about all the best off-the-beaten path eateries.

Kali Clark

A Napa Valley native, Kali returned to the area after a stint on the East Coast and can be found documenting the latest happenings at the Chateau. When not behind the camera, she likes to experiment in the kitchen, travel, and enjoy the outdoors

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