Chateau Montelena

Napa Valley Chardonnay 2017

Napa Valley, California

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Chateau Montelena’s Napa Chardonnay showed that the new world could create classically balanced and complex wines in its own voice, and that from the right sites and with perseverance, the results could equal anything made the world over. Through fads and trends, Montelena has never changed in its philosophy of bringing the sunshine of California in a style that is structured, balanced and age worthy.

In 1976, in what is now memorialized as “The Judgment of Paris”, Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay was the top-ranking wine against four white Burgundies and five other California Chardonnays in a blind tasting with a who’s-who of the french food and wine industry judging. And as they say, the rest is history.

Vineyard

The Chardonnay for the 2017 vintage is sourced from vineyards located in the south-central Napa Valley appellation, near the base of Mt. Veeder and Dry Creek Valley Road on the western bench of the Napa Valley. It has a good north-eastern exposure with a slope of 4-7%. The Haire-Loam soil has a profile very similar to that of the Carneros region, although the climate is slightly warmer. The vineyard site, developed from old ocean terraces and alluvial fans, contains a lot of sedimentary material such as decomposed shale and blue/gray clay. This soil mixture gives moderate drainage and slight acidity. Typically, the Chardonnay has a concentrated floral, green apple aroma and a refreshing and persistent impression on the palate.

Winemaking

The Napa Valley Chardonnay is made of 100% Chardonnay grapes and was aged in 100% French oak barrels for 10 months. Emblematic to the style of the estate, it offers concentrated floral, green apple aromas and a refreshing and persistent impression on the palate.

Vintage

The 2017 Chardonnay is the quintessential embodiment of how perspective, perseverance, and adaptability can drive a vintage. It’s easy to be dismissive of a growing season beset by wild fluctuations in temperature, not to mention low yields, after a comparatively classic vintage in 2016. The unique and demanding growing conditions presented a rare, stylistic opportunity in crafting a wine that is at once exceptionally concentrated, but at ideal ripeness. As the heat continued to build in mid-August, and the “standards” of balance in flavor and texture transformed amidst the reality of the vintage, we allowed our ideas and our ideals to guide our decision-making in the field and the cellar. Yes, yields were very low and our self-imposed, narrow picking window was extraordinarily challenging for both the vineyard and cellar crews, but the resulting wine is every bit as special and delicious as we had hoped.

A very wet, cool winter followed by a moderate spring seemed to portend another temperate, classic vintage. However, the summer had other ideas as the weather pattern peppered intense heat, dry winds, and very little marine layer amidst already warm conditions. An intricate understanding of ripening along with a deft hand in the vineyard were required to take advantage of anomalously short picking windows to achieve exemplary fruit flavors and aromas. It was an exciting and worthy challenge for our veteran crew.

Tasting Note

The wine opens with fresh peach, apricot, and honeydew amidst citrus blossom and rose water. The diversity of aromas in this vintage is astounding as the floral characteristics begin to take center stage with time in the glass along with ample fresh pear and cinnamon. The palate is lush viscous, and driven by lemon curd, the palate leans toward creaminess but with enough bright acid, green apple, and toast to bring balance and finesse. The ripeness of the vintage drives the mouthfeel as the flavors exude freshness and vibrancy, a unique combination. The finish is concentrated and persistent, again stone fruit appear, albeit in candied form, along with a hint of white pepper and plenty of orange zest.

Food Pairing

This is a totally food friendly wine that can be enjoyed on its own, or as a complement to any number of dishes – especially fresh seafood, shellfish or poultry. The creaminess of a crab salad or lobster roll will cut through the acidity and citrus notes of the wine beautifully.

Color

White

Grape Varieties

Chardonnay

Appellation

Napa Valley, California

Alcohol

13.9%

Suggested Retail Price

$57.00

Reviews

"Terrific energy"

Vinous Media - "Montelena's 2017 Chardonnay is bright, focused and tightly wound, with tons of citrus peel, orchard fruit and floral character. Medium in body, with terrific energy underpinning the fruit, the 2017 is a winner. Picking early and blocking the malolactic fermentation yields a finely sculpted, nuanced Chardonnay long on class. I loved it."

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Trade Materials

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