Shockingly Delicious

We woke up to yet another gorgeous California day, this time at the Yountville Inn. The Yountville Inn provided a great, complimentary breakfast bar that we took full advantage of before leaving for some early in the day wine tasting. The title of the post might give you a hint as to where we tasted first ;)
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The inside lounge area was crowded, so we sat by the pool. It was warm enough. I love California. After breakfast we drove over to the Silverado Trail, passing by a gazillion wineries along the way, along with scenery that was complete paradise.
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Our drive brought us up to Calistoga to Chateau Montelena. The property of Chateau Montelena is magical. It is worth reading about the history of the winery here: http://www.montelena.com/our_winery/history.html image image image image
Chateau Montelena was made famous by the 1976 Paris tasting where their 1973 chardonnay won the top prize, a feat in the days when American wine was not yet respected on the world wine scene. The event was made into the film, Bottle Shock. The film itself is quite cute and definitely worth watching. If you have Netflix, you can watch it online which is what we did a few weeks ago. It follows the trials and tribulations of winemaker Jim Barrett and his son as they make and bottle the wine that eventually puts the Napa Valley on the map.
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We learned during our tasting that Mr. Barrett is very proud of his Irish heritage. Clearly, so is my hubs. Since it was 9:30 in the morning, we decided to share a tasting.
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We started with what the tasting room staff called breakfast wine, the 2008 Potter Valley Riesling. Big, soft, and very full of ripe peaches and sticky apricots, this is a very drinkable white. Rieslings are definitely amongst my favorites when it comes to white wines. Chardonnays are usually not, but I could certainly not leave Chateau Montelena without drinking Chardonnay. The wine we were poured was a 2007 Napa Valley, and I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. Even thinking of some Chardonnay’s makes me cringe, the buttery, oaky flavor too much for me. But this one offered more of an acidic, fruity front of the mouth flavor with a definite mineral finish, as the tasting notes indicate.

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The winning vintage alongside the 2007 that we tried We also tried Montelena Estate Zinfandel and a 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. The cab was ridiculously good, so dark it looked almost black in the light. I got a velvety chocolate cherry feel and taste off of this wine. It had a long, lingering finish, and  it was $135 a bottle. I would have loved to have purchased some, but its a wee bit pricey. The tasting room staff at Chateau Montelena was warm and friendly which, considering the fame that the winery has, was pleasantly surprising and welcoming. It reminded me again how friendly and unpretentious people in wine country are. We chatted with them about wine and also about the film and learned what was fact and what was Hollywood fiction. ;) Then we wandered more of the chateau.
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There was something more than meets the eye about the halls of Chateau Montelena. Now, I am not saying that I believe in ghosts (though for the record, I 100% do.), but I had a constant strange feeling while we were here, a warm chill up the back of my neck if that makes any sense. You could feel history and pride, and you could absolutely taste it in the wines. The story of Chateau Montelena is a special one, and if you get a chance to visit, let me know what you think.

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Tags: Bottle Shock, breakfast, chardonnay, Chateau Montelena, Napa, wine, Yountville

  1. Kelly’s avatar

    What a cool story. The past week of your posts has just made me want to go back to San Fran SOOOO bad. Maybe I should’ve done that instead of Arizona haha

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  2. Erin’s avatar

    Aggh creepy feeling!! So beautiful though. And yay Irish! :)

    Reply

  3. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)’s avatar

    Cool! I totally don’t believe in ghosts – funny how for most people it is an all or nothing thing :-)

    Reply

  4. RunToFinish’s avatar

    ohh my gosh that is so beautiful!! I definitely did not see enough of wine country when i was in CA

    Reply

  5. Andrea@WellnessNotes’s avatar

    I’m putting Chateau Montelena on my “must visit” list right now! :)

    Reply

  6. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best’s avatar

    I love the parking sign. Chateau Montelena has a gorgeous winery.

    Reply

  7. eaglefike’s avatar

    Great Place to visit, thank you for sharing

    Reply

  8. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite’s avatar

    I am LOVING these stories about wine country – keep em coming!

    Reply

  9. MarathonVal’s avatar

    I think I may have to take a hiatus from reading your blog until you stop putting up CA pictures. It just makes me too, too jealous ;) Didn’t you recommend Mumm to me? We tried to go but ran out of time, but thanks for the suggestion! :)

    Reply

  10. kristy’s avatar

    What a cool place! I’m not good at wine. I probably will drop dead after taking 1/3 glass of wine. haha…. Thanks for sharing all those beautiful pictures. And enjoy your stay! Cheers.

    Reply

  11. traveleatlove’s avatar

    I am pretty sure you will be VERY happy with your Arizona choice when winter rolls around!

    Reply

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