We recently received a very kind email from Brennan and Lindsey Sheedy about their memorable first experience with Chateau Montelena wines. Bitten by the wine bug during the planning of their wedding, here’s their story…
THE WINE THAT STARTED IT ALL – FOR US!
by Brennan and Lindsey Sheedy
This past November, Lindsey and I were married at a small vineyard in Santa Barbara County – our wedding location and our appreciation for fine wine can be traced directly back to our introduction to Chateau Montelena. About two years earlier, while walking through the local movie store in Charlotte, NC, Bottle Shock caught my eye. We both like wine and I, a native Californian, thought the movie would be perfect for our Saturday evening. That night, we settled in with our gourmet bottle of $7 wine and were entertained as we learned the story of how the “kids from the sticks” beat the French at their own game. Over the next 18 months as we planned our wedding, wine began to play a much larger role in our life together. In wine shops and restaurants, we would point out the bottles of Montelena and, on one or two special occasions, we’d splurge on a glass of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. From that moment on, our appreciation of wine began to grow: we split a three-year vertical with a few friends; bought a small wine fridge to store all of our “good” bottles and eventually wine magazines began arriving at the house.
The wine theme was very much prevalent on our wedding day: our guests were greeted with table assignments in wine glasses; we hosted a wine tasting on the veranda before dinner and we even made wine cork napkin rings to give out as favors. Later that night, after dancing in the barrel room until the winery kicked us out, Lindsey and I headed back to our room where she had prepared a special wedding gift for me. There, waiting in our room was a basket containing the following items: the movie Bottle Shock, a copy of the book Judgment of Paris and a bottle of Chateau Montelena Chardonnay.
On our honeymoon, I spent days reading Judgment of Paris. What was glossed over in the movie jumped out of the book as George Taber explored the lives of the winemakers and wineries that made the world take notice of California wine. Whether the French judges knew they were tasting Californian and French wines or that they felt duped into the competition, you couldn’t argue with the results – that California winemakers could make wine as good as the French. That significant tasting event sparked wine production around the globe and Taber gives a brief introduction to many of the world wine regions at the end of the book. During the rest of our honeymoon, I think Lindsey started to regret the gift she’d given me as I’d only let her order Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or bored her with explanations of how “right bank” Bordeaux was made predominately from Merlot.
Now home in Charlotte, the articles and tasting notes in the wine magazines have started making more sense and our cellar continues to grow. However, the bulk of our wine collection grows only with wines that we feel we have a personal connection. After reading Judgment of Paris and having watched Bottle Shock, we have learned some of the history of Chateau Montelena Winery. This past February, we made a stronger connection with the winery by visiting the Chateau. We had a great time viewing the historical notes and (cheesily) taking our picture with the champion 1973 Chardonnay bottle on display. And just recently, we were fortunate enough to enjoy a local wine dinner featuring Chateau Montelena which demonstrated the quality of the fine wines. With the rich history and the phenomenal wine, we look forward to a long relationship with Chateau Montelena. More importantly, as we explore other wines from around the world, we will always remember that Montelena started it all – both in Paris and for us.