CALISTOGA, CALIFORNIA, USA
Chateau Montelena is one of the legendary producers of California. Dating back to 1882 when Alfred Tubbs bought 103 hectares of land north of Calistoga, this producer's time in the limelight started in the early 1970s when Jim Barrett bought the Chateau.
In 1976, when Steven Spurrier selected their 1973 vintage Chardonnay for his Judgement of Paris, was when things transformed for Montelena. Their wine won the competition, beating some of the great Burgundian wines from the likes of Domaine Leflaive and Joseph Drouhin and things haven't looked back.
Barrett's son, Bo, took over as winemaker in 1982 and remains at the helm today. The Chateau was the subject of the 2008 movie, Bottleshock, starring Chris Pine and Alan Rickman, that portrayed the happenings of 1976. Pine's portrayal of Bo Barrett saw only one bit of criticism - apparently in 1976 Bo didn't have the floppy hair that Pine sported in the movie, Bo was rocking an afro!
Sadly in 2013, Jim Barrett passed away but his legacy, and that of his son, continues, producing a style of wine that is a perfect example of California. Sweet, rich fruit, with careful use of oak, and most of all, elegant.