Ch. Montelena

Make the best. Period.

Founded in the 1880s, Chateau Montelena was named for Mt. Saint Helena, the imposing peak that looks over the upper Napa Valley where the winery is located. For decades one of the valley’s top quality wine producers, the estate struggled in the years after prohibition and even ceased making wine from its grapes. That all changed in the late 1960s, when a group of partners led by Jim Barret revived the estate, restoring the iconic chateau-like winery building, the Chinese-themed gardens, and, most of all, the vineyards. In no time, Chateau Montelena was making wine that, along with other pioneers of that era, vaulted the Napa Valley into the major leagues of premium wine production. Indeed, by 1976 Chateau Montelena not only emerged as one of Napa Valley’s premier wineries, but awakened the entire world to the quality of California wine, when its 1973 Alexander Valley Chardonnay won first place in the infamous Paris Tasting, in which some of France’s greatest wine critics rated the Chateau Montelena above some of the most illustrious of white burgundies. Since 1981, Bo Barret, son of the founder, has overseen the winemaking at Chateau Montelena, pursuing the goal of making flavorful but elegant, complex and age-worthy wines in the French style. Unlike many of its peers, Chateau Montelena’s wines do not undergo barrel fermentation, malolactic fermentation or even aging in exclusively new oak barrels in order to emphasize the nuances of the terroir and the natural flavors of the grapes. The 98-acre Montelena Estate vineyards, spanning flatlands and hillsides north of the winery alongside the Napa River, features a rich mix of alluvial, sedimentary and volcanic soils as well as an intriguing variety of microclimates. Primarily planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, the estate also includes several blocs of Zinfandel. Vines planted in these rocky soils are naturally low-yielding, and such techniques as organic pest control, dry farming, and crop thinning bring yields down even further. The results of such low yields are evidenced in the consistent quality of the “Estate” wines: full-bodied, intense and flavorful - though somewhat tannic in their youth - elegant, complex and age-worthy. In addition to the “Estate” wines, Chateau Montelena also produces Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards elsewhere in the Napa Valley, Chardonnay from both the Napa and Alexander valleys and a small amount of Riesling from the Potter Valley in Mendicino County.

Wines from this Winery

2017 Ch. Montelena Potter Valley Riesling

2017 Ch. Montelena Potter Valley Riesling

We may know Chateau Montelena for their Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. But the winery has long produced delicious Riesling from the McFadden Farm, an organic grower in Mendocino’s Potter Valley. Cool summer nights in the high elevation vineyard allow Riesling grapes to ripen  slowly, developing lovely aromas and rich flavors while maintaining excellent acidity. In most years, the grapes come in with a small amount of botrytis, the “noble rot” that endows the wine with a richer, honeyed character. As 2017 was a riper vintage, the winery focused on maintaining balance by harvesting at the optimal moment. The fresh palate with only a whisper of sweetness make this a versatile wine you can enjoy with lunch, dinner or a friendly afternoon with family and friends. The floral notes and tropical fruit aromas induce pleasure while the wine’s subtle balance of sweetness and acidity stands up to not only spicy Asian dishes but salads, blue or goat cheeses, sausages or pork, turning any meal into an elegant event.

Details
¥ 4,300
2017 Ch. Montelena Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

2017 Ch. Montelena Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Hotei Wines is pleased to offer this limited edition Sauvignon Blanc that is otherwise only available at the winery. The fruit is sourced from a vineyard in Oak Knoll, a cooler district south of Yountville that blesses white wines with lovely aromatics. What’s new in 2017 is that a block of Semillon, planted in 2013, yielded enough fruit to make up a substantial 15.6% of the blend, allowing Chateau Montelena to make a stunning wine in the style of White Bordeaux. Semillon adds roundness, density and honeyed richness to the zesty Sauvignon Blanc. This is a lively Sauvignon Blanc that appeals with tropical fruit and floral notes and ripe citrus and strawberry flavors.

Details
¥ 5,500
2015 Ch. Montelena Calistoga Zinfandel

2015 Ch. Montelena Calistoga Zinfandel

To make its Zinfandel, Chateau Montelena combines Primitivo from their estate vineyard with old vine Zin from the Tofanelli Ranch in Calistoga. Each of these Zinfandel clones exhibits a unique profile, with Primitivo providing more red fruit and spicy flavors and the Zin adding the darker briar fruit, cassis and lavender notes. Even though Northern California experienced severe drought in 2015, Zinfandel has a long track record of surviving extreme weather. Indeed, winemaker Matt Crafton said, “…the 2015 vintage showcases [the survivor] quality beautifully. There’s something hallowed in the old, war-torn vines that have endured many challenging growing seasons coupled with the vitality and exuberance of younger plantings that allow us to create this truly compelling wine.” The structure and aromatics of this wine might suggest an old world provenance as it delights with with its complex melange of tangy black and red currants and cherries, along with clove, violets, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and some deep earthy, rocky elements. 

Details
¥ 6,400
2016 Ch. Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Ch. Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Here's a classic Montelena Cab that delivers “old world” structure with ripe California fruit. The Calistoga vineyards from which this wine is sourced all share a distinct alluvium soil profile that can produce earthy, complex and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon. 2016 was the first classic California vintage in many years in that winter rains were bountiful and summer temperatures fluctuated between warm and cool spells. The winery was able to harvest slowly and methodically to bring in grapes at peak condition. This is Cabernet that allures as well as charms, delivering a nose of red and black fruit, earthy and floral notes and a palate that’s dense, layered and chewy. The bright, refreshing acidity makes it the perfect partner for a range of dishes - not only grilled or roast meats but lighter dishes, too.

Details
¥ 9,100
2016 Ch. Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay

2016 Ch. Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay

By winning the infamous 1972 “Judgement of Paris” tasting, a Chateau Montelena Chardonnay woke the conservative world of wine up to the rising excellence of California wine. Today the winery continues to craft Chardonnay in a uniquely elegant style that pays homage to the great white burgundies while staying true to its California roots. The 2016 vintage is considered a “classic” with few instances of extreme weather. The fruit was sourced from a small vineyard at the base of Mt. Veeder in the Oak Knoll district. Like Carneros, this section of the valley is well-known for elegant Chardonnay. Unlike many California Chardonnay producers, Chateau Montelena prefers to limit new oak and avoid malolactic fermentation. Natural yeast fermentation and aging on the lees result in a wine that is fresh, vibrant, and mouthfilling but without buttery or sticky tropical notes. Like great burgundy, the wine needs time in the glass for the fruit to emerge and become truly opulent.

Details
¥ 9,100
2014 Ch. Montelena Calistoga Zinfandel (1.5L)

2014 Ch. Montelena Calistoga Zinfandel (1.5L)

As in 2013, this wine combines fruit from recent plantings of Primitivo in Montelena’s estate vineyard with that from old vines planted at the Tofanelli Ranch in Calistoga. Each of these Zinfandel clones comes with a unique profile, with Primitivo providing more red fruit and spicy flavors and the Zin adding the darker briar fruit, cassis and lavender notes. One difference from 2013 lay in the cooperage: the winery managed to procure some oak barrels from Ireland - marking the first time in a century that a California wine has been aged in Irish oak, which adds a rustic character to this hearty wine. This wine has it all: enticing aromatics, layers of flavor and nuance, and a finish that’s old world in style with dark chocolate, cigar box and wild Provençal herbs.  

Details
¥ 14,000
2014 Ch. Montelena Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Ch. Montelena Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This iconic Napa Valley wine delivers the intensity we expect from a Napa Cab while showing the restraint, structure, tannin and acidity of an age-worthy Bordeaux. And like great Bordeaux, it’s a wine to revisit every few years and savor its slow, evolution in the bottle. The Montelena Estate features mature, low-yielding vines planted in stony alluvial and volcanic soils. Because the vineyard avoided the Phylloxera that wiped out many vineyards in the early 1990s, these "old vines" are well into their fifth decade. 2014 may not stand out in the way that 2013 does; nevertheless, the weather was ideal throughout the growing season and Napa Valley wines are excellent. This iteration of the Estate Cab is a sensory delight that seems soft at first but gets dense and deep as the tannins and acidity come into play. The aromas of dark fruit and notes of vanilla, spice and earth are a dazzling opener to a wine with rich flavors, minerality and structure. A few years of aging are recommended, or be sure to decant and allow the wine some time to open up.

Details
¥ 15,300
Out of Stock
2014 Ch. Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L)

2014 Ch. Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L)

Like Chateau Montelena’s Estate wines, the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon comes from vineyards located around Calistoga, at the northern end of the Napa Valley. These vineyards all share a distinct alluvium soil profile that can produce earthy, complex and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2014, hints of a worsening drought were becoming clear, yet the vines produced a hefty crop that matured slowly under consistently moderate temperatures. This is the first vintage to be entirely made by Matt Crafton, who had been assistant winemaker since 2008. Recognizably Napa Valley, the wine’s first impression is one of rich and ripe dark fruit and spice, after which old world elegance emerges on the mid palate with earthy minerality, tannins and acidity, giving the wine structure and, one imagines, years of life. With this 1.5 L magnum everyone at your holiday parties will be sure to enjoy a glass of this fine wine!

Details
¥ 19,600
Out of Stock