Friday, June 5, 2015

Chateau Montelena and Duckhorn

Wednesday afternoon consisted of two stops for tastings: Chateau Montelena and Duckhorn.  If y'all have seen Bottle Shock, Chateau Montelena will be familiar.  I couldn't go to Napa and then not go to the Chateau that rocked the wine world.  Their Chardonnay won the white wines in the Judgement of Paris.

2012 Chardonnay
2013 Sauvignon Blanc
2012 Zinfandel
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

I can definitely see (or taste) why their Chardonnay impressed the judges and why it was chosen as the winner.  It reminds me of a white Burgundy, but it didn't bash me over the head with the flavor.  I find some white Burgundies can be quite heavy, but not Montelena's Chardonnay.  It wasn't as light as Fort Ross, but it seemed to find a nice balance in the middle.  The other wines were quite good too, and I really liked their Cabernet.  That is one thing I noticed about Napa - there are a lot of reds produced in the region, based on the climate.  Chardonnay grapes are grown elsewhere and closer to the coast for the cooler temperatures.

After Lytton Springs, I tried to keep some red wine in my glass to let the air bring out more aromas.  I can't remember which red at Montelena, I think it was the Cab, that I smelled a hint of green chilis, after smelling bell pepper in Lytton's Cab.  I'm realizing if a description says tastes of pepper, there are all kinds.

Duckhorn was the same.  We tasted a white to begin with, then tasted 4 reds after the Sauvignon Blanc.  Duckhorn was also a spur of the moment after we finished the tasting at Montelena.  There was no point to just go back to the hotel and sit around, waiting for dinner.  Duckhorn, like Lytton Springs, is made up of several different single-vineyards around the valley.

2013 Sauvignon Blanc
2012 Napa Valley Merlot, Atlas Peak
2012 Three Palms Vineyard Merlot
2011 Three Palms Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Rector Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

I think, if I'm remembering correctly, my favorite outside of the Sauvignon Blanc, was the Three Palms Cabernet.  The Sauvignon Blanc was a breath of fresh air to be honest.  We'd tasted a number of reds so having a light white again to taste was refreshing.


  1. Ahhhh, I love the pictures. They all look like postcards! You sound so sophisticated talking about these wine tastings. =) I personally know almost nothing about wine, other than I like whites (Rieslings are my go-to!)

    1. Whites were my first go to but I slowly got in to reds. Now I drink both but it depends on the season and what I'm cooking.

  2. I love that first Chateau picture, I could live in a place like that. So beautiful, it's like a mini American castle:) love it!

    1. It does look like a castle. I know we only saw a small bit of the inside at the tasting room.