Chateau Montelena

Napa Valley Chardonnay 2020

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.


The warm, dry spring was punctuated by two inches of rain in May, spurring vine growth heading into summer. There was plenty of heat and sunshine during June and July as ripening accelerated ahead of schedule. The lighter than expected crop pushed ripening further ahead as all of the Chardonnay vineyards began to move together, like a tidal wave. The wave broke on August 22. After seven intense days, the entire Chardonnay crop was harvested successfully.


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.


Plentiful winter rains coupled with cool temperatures pushed budbreak slightly behind normal. However, the vines took full advantage of the abundant soil moisture and responded with bountiful growth as the weather warmed into June. Mild summer days with temperatures dipping into the 50s at night made for ideal ripening conditions as harvest approached on time. A shot of heat in early September pushed the early blocks over the finish line, although cool temperatures mid-month drew the Chardonnay harvest out over 18 days.

Tasting Note

The wine opens with green apple, honeysuckle and orange blossom… The parade of citrus marches on, although the midpalate turns more tropical with starfruit and pineapple. And while there’s still plenty of green apple, the texture and juiciness of Asian pear adds complexity and depth… The acid is still mouthwatering […] the overall length of this Chardonnay is impressive. -Winemaker Matt Crafton, 8/22

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.



Grape Varieties



Napa Valley, California



Suggested Retail Price



"Apple, tangerine and lime"

Wine Advocate - April 6, 2023

"A non-malolactic fermentation wine, matured in a relatively small proportion of new French oak, and so it reveals hints of apple, tangerine and lime on the nose. Medium to full-bodied, it's sappy, a bit linear and vibrant on the palate, finishing crisp and long." -J.C 3/23


Trade Materials

Other Wines by this Producer

Potter Valley Riesling

Mendocino, California

Riesling is a hidden gem within the Chateau Montelena portfolio. Many people don’t know it exists, and once they do – they keep coming back for more. Stylistically, it is amazingly refreshing with notes of lemon blossom, honeysuckle and rose petal that are balanced by lively acidity.


Napa Valley, California

Produced from grapes grown on the Montelena Estate vineyard, the Zinfandel is a classically-structured, subtle and refined wine. More than anything, it hearkens back to the way that Zinfandel was made in the 1960s and 1970s, with completely distinctive, rich and spicy California berry fruit, but a balance that made them no heavier than their Cabernet counterparts.

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley, California

The Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon embodies the balance of Montelena, classic “old-world” structure with ripe California fruit.  It is crafted from fruit coming from the Montelena vineyard and several prime neighboring vineyards, all in the Calistoga AVA. The Montelena Napa Cabernet is a wine that delivers immediate pleasure upon release, but in Montelena style, while age and develop beautifully.

Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Calistoga, Napa Valley, California

The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is Chateau Montelena’s flagship wine and a quality icon of Napa Valley. The winemaking team works obsessively and passionately with each vintage to capture the best expression of their historic terroir. This is a show-stopper that reveals the perfect blend of flavors, aromas and textures to reach the pinnacle of balance.