Thursday, February 27, 2014

Winey Tasting Notes: Watching "Bottle Shock", Sipping Chateau Montelena

Today I'd like to talk about a particularly inspired birthday gift that some friends gave me this past (significant/big/ends in a zero) birthday. I really don't think I am a difficult person to buy for, because if there is ever any question…go with the wine. Any wine. All wine. Thank you very much. Which is what two of my favorite people did for said birthday gift. But these two inspired souls went one step further.

Chateau Montelena
The lovely Chateau Montelena
photo courtesy of Chateau Montelena
They bought me a bottle of wine as well the movie to go with it.

I am talking about the famed Chateau Montelena, of the equally famed Napa region of California. You have never heard of it? I'll bet you have. While the name Montelena might not jump out at you, you probably have heard of the Judgement of Paris winery. Or the winery that put Napa (and thus California wines) on the map. Or the winery from the movie "Bottle Shock". That would be Chateau Montelena! And yes, the movie is all about the time that one upstart sommelier  brought a Napa Valley Chardonnay to a blind French wine tasting competition, and beat the grape skins off the big boys from France.
Bottle Shock DVD picture
The Movie
photo via Winey Mom
and her scanner

bottle of 2010 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay
photo courtesy of Chateau Montelena
The Winey Hubby and I love this movie - very wry humor and full of some great actors. Alan Rickman (in the middle of his run as Severus Snape) plays the sommelier. Bill Pullman plays the vineyard owner and Chris Pine plays his son. And although we are fans of the movie, we have never tried the wine. Looking back, that seems sort of odd, but we had only seen the movie on TV or rentals..we never actually owned a copy of it until this past year. Luckily, our friends decided to skip a box of popcorn to go alone with the DVD and gifted us with a bottle of Chateau Montelena Chardonnay (2010, 14.1%, Napa, CA) instead.

So about that wine. The nose was full of red apples. The first taste to hit you is of oak and warmed cinnamon. Then you get the apple and nutmeg. (I just realized it sounds like I'm describing an apple pie - and I would have to say that the taste really did describe a nice juicy apple pie - from the top of the crust to the bottom of the apples!) The finish was tart and citrusy with hints of lime. Very full, very round and supple in my mouth. I could really taste the layers of the different flavors.

I really enjoyed this wine. I could easily see it as being a go-to white. It's very accessible - enough oak to give it some style, but not too much that you can't taste the bevy of flavors. It will cost a bit more than wines I usually review (about $50) but hey, I got it as a gift. You may want to do that as well - pair it with the movie or there is also a book ("Judgement of Paris" by George Taber). There is no rule that says you can't buy a gift for yourself, either. Just saying'.  If you like white wine, you will love this one, as well as the history behind it.


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