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Tasting at Chateau Montelena

For our final day in Napa Valley, we headed up to Calistoga for a 9:30AM tasting at Chateau Montelena. Kevin Jordan, our tasting room host, had a question for us, "Have you seen the movie?" (Bottleshock). Of course, we've seen the movie. The next question, "Do you know how much was fiction?"

"I think I do," I replied, "I read the book, too," (Judgment of Paris-by George M. Taber). I could tell this earned me a bit more respect in Kevin's eyes, he spends a lot of his time during tastings explaining the fictionalized moments in the movie's rendition of the story.  We would start our discussion closer to the present time.

Then, from my husband, "That wasn't all true?" I gave him the big eye roll while poor Kevin had to politely return to his usual routine. Many people that visit Chateau Montelena, like my husband, have seen the movie and believe they "know" the story of Bo and Jim Barrett, they are surprised to learn that the movie was not 100% accurate. The tasting room at the winery features some pictures from the movie along with some props and other mementos. These were fun to check out and it was interesting to learn more stories from behind the movie scenes.

The fortieth anniversary of the famed Paris tasting is fast approaching so I was very excited to visit this winery, see the Chateau and taste the new releases. Bo Barrett is still working at the winery, we caught a glimpse of him out in the field on a tractor as we were leaving.

Signed by
the cast of Bottleshock
We enjoyed all the wine that we tasted at Chateau Montelena. Kevin was entertaining and he had a lot of information to share about the winery's history and all the current releases. The grounds are absolutely stunning, we learned that club members are provided several different additional tasting options allowing them to enjoy the beautiful scenery at the lake along with their wine.

A must-do winery stop in Napa Valley, the tasting room is open to the public daily from 9:30-4:00. No reservations are required for the current release tasting which is priced at $25. For the more extensive tasting and tour experiences offered, reservations are required.

The Tasting:
2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay (SRP $50)- Citrus blossom, melon, ripe peach, fresh, delicious
2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay (SRP $50)- Very similar, more honeysuckle floral note.
2012 Calistoga-Napa Valley Estate Zinfandel (SRP $39)- Kevin says this is Bo's pizza wine. Mixed ripe berries, dried herbs, peppery finish
2012 Calistoga-Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $53)- Spicy, ripe berry aromas, chocolate, smooth
2010 Calistoga-Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $150)- Juicy dark berries, licorice, coffee, rich, mineral laced finish
2008 Calistoga-Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $170)- Berry jam, licorice, tobacco, spice, nice structure
2007 Calistoga-Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $180)- Earthier, dark berries, licorice

All were fantastic wines that I would happily accept more of at any time. I particularly loved the 2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon- a bit more elegant, beautifully balanced.

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