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

Life of a Vine

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If you read George’s recent post on the subject of vintage, you might be interested to see the entire vintage of 2007 – the current release of Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – through the “eyes” (as it were) of one particular vine.  Life of a Vine presents a monthly summary, in three installments, of what actually transpired that year.  Take a look.

Life of a Vine Part 1

Life of a Vine Part 2

Life of a Vine Part 3

Vintage Watching

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A lot of us religiously read and watch what critics are saying about vintage quality.    We already know that 2007 is a vintage of the decade, but if you look back 30 years, and if you have an opportunity to try wines of vintages that were not as highly touted, you should come to the conclusion that, as with all critics, their statements are broad based, and not addressing individual regions and wineries that may indeed have made some wonderful wines.  “Shoulder” vintages, or years that precede or follow the superstar years are often overshadowed (how do you follow up an almost perfect vintage?!)

All I’m sayin’ is before you dismiss some of these vintages, do a little research, go taste some, and be your own judge.  Yes, I am talking about 2010.

CellarMasters, don’t forget…

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Remember that all CellarMaster wine club members are invited to take part in special CellarMaster club tasting during your visit to the winery.  This exclusive club benefit is offered by appointment and includes both current and library wines accompanied by a cheese plate.  For more information on these tastings, please visit our Tasting Room page and scroll down to the CellarMaster tasting information.

To book, call us at 800-222-7288 or email us at

If you aren’t already a club member, this is a great reason to join.

We hope to see you soon!

Wooden You Know?

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Here’s a wood rendition of our Chateau.  It’s one of those collector’s items.  Very creative little sculpture, if you ask us, fun to look at.  It also got us thinking about our Re-Imagine the Chateau Contest and the inspired entries we have received so far (no sculptures, hint, hint).  Why enter?  Because you could win two free passes to our Franc&Blanc  event here at the Chateau on June 25.  We’re going to have fun – just for the fun of it.  Of course you can buy tickets now, but if you are feeling extra creative enter the contest and if you win, bring two extra friends.  Either way, we hope to see you here on June 25.

Chateau Montelena, Franc and Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon

Wood Carved Chateau Montelena

What Is Your Great Pairing?

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2008 Montelena Estate Zinfandel

For me I like it with an Irish beef stew.  But will always go for a glass on its own.  What is your great pairing with this wine?

New Connecticut Distributor

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We’re pleased to announce that Slocum & Sons is now distributing our wines in Connecticut!

John Slocum and Bo Barrett

John Slocum and Bo Barrett

For more information, visit our distributors page.

Napa’s Best Secret: The Calistoga AVA

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Any true wine geeks out there?  OK it’s a little long for our blog, but it’s one of the best summaries of what makes the Calistoga area (an official American Viticultural Area, or AVA) such a great place to grow wine grapes.  This was written for a local journalist by winemaker Cameron Parry, and provides a link to the actual petition – authored by Bo Barrett – that led to government approval of the AVA.  Here goes, hope you like it:

The Calistoga AVA has a lot of great sloping/hillside and higher elevation vineyards and the well recognized concentration that they bring, along with a relatively small amount of “flat” valley floor land.   That valley floor land has a lot of alluvial influence, so even though it is flat, it is not that heavy – lots of stony, well drained soils.   There are 3 different soil origins, and numerous classified soil types, which bring in a great complexity as well.  But, it’s not just the dirt!   One of the most defining features of the Calistoga AVA is the influence of Mt. St. Helena, which acts like an air pump: drawing air up (pulling cooler air in from the Knights Valley gap) during the day as the mountain warms, and sending cool air sliding down slope at night.   This near constant air movement helps keep temperatures in check and reduces the mildew pressure.  It also contributes to a large diurnal swing (as much as 40 degrees a day on a regular basis), which (without getting into too much grape physiology) helps preserve the natural acidity in the grapes resulting in wines with great balance, complexity, and longevity.   Many people think that Calistoga is the hottest of the AVA’s in Napa, but in reality the hottest part of the valley is just north of St. Helena.   The other often overlooked aspect of the Calistoga AVA is the orientation of the valley.   Most of the Napa valley runs about 340°, but right around Larkmead Lane, the valley turns West by about 20-25°, running about 305°.   The result is that the Calistoga AVA has a very different solar exposure than the rest of the valley.   The result, here at Chateau Montelena, is that we see earlier ripening/earlier harvest dates than many other locations, which often means that all of our fruit is in before the fall rains.  Somehow we also seem to have better solar capture even in the “difficult” years, meaning that we always get ripe fruit.

Much of this is outlined in the TTB petition that Bo wrote back in 2003, so that would be a great reference as well.

Calistoga AVA

Bud break is here…

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…the growing season has begun!  After a rainy, wet March, the last week has been beautiful.  The vines just couldn’t wait to bud.  Below is a picture of a new bud on one of the Cabernet Sauvignon vines from block A, planted in 1972.  This picture was taken Thursday afternoon.  By next week, the whole vineyard will be sprouting with green shoots.  This is my favorite time of year!

In a few weeks the vines will be cloaked in green shoots. It all happens so fast.

“Re-Imagine Our Chateau” Design Contest

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Win Two VIP Tickets to Franc&Blanc on June 25, 2011

Chateau Montelena Logo

Introducing our First AnnualRe-Imagine Our Chateau” Design Contest.  Submit the winning design and earn two VIP tickets to Franc&Blanc, the just-for-the-fun-of-it event at the Chateau on June 25, 2011.  The image above of the iconic stone castle, emblazoned on all of our wine labels, has been the most-widely recognized depiction of the winery for generations.  How would you re-imagine it for a new generation?  Be as creative as you like.  Whether you render a whole new drawing, get fancy in Photoshop, build a sculpture, paint a picture, or invent something totally wild and unpredictable – we want to see it.  Post an image of your creation(s) on our Facebook Page, anytime between now and May 11th. The winning design* will be announced on Friday, May 13th.

*The winning design remains yours.  We only ask for the right to use it in our promotions.

Please Note:  We welcome entries from all geographic locations, but please keep in mind that the prize includes two (2) VIP tickets for admission to the Franc&Blanc party only.  Travel, lodging and other costs are not included.


Montelena Family Hard at Work

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BEFORE: Daisy eager to start her tasting assignment.

Sometimes it can be quite exhausting tasting the new releases.  Why in fact, take a look at Daisy here.  She is completely worn out after trying the recent release of the Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.




(Thank you, Daisy, for allowing us to take these photos of you with these props).
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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