Expensive wine 112: Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 2015

Chateau Montelena ChardonnayThe Chateau Montelena chardonnay remains classic California white wine

The Big Guy and I were drinking pricey California chardonnay, which is probably worth a blog post all by itself given our devotion to white Burgundy. The point here, though, is that the wines we tasted, which included the Chateau Montelena chardonnay, reminded us that California producers can make some of the best wine in the world.

The Chateau Montelena chardonnay ($48, purchased, 13.5%) remains the kind of California wine that helped earn the world’s attention at the Judgment of Paris in 1976. It’s elegant and balanced, without the too much of one thing or another that makes me crazy when I taste high-end California chardonnay. Yes, some of my colleagues may consider this a fuddy-duddy approach to winemaking, but it’s their problem if they can’t appreciate grace and virtuosity.

What makes the Chateau Montelena chardonnay so classic? Taste this – even just one sip – and you can tell it’s Napa Valley chardonnay. That means more fruit (a lovely, barely ripe green apple) and an undercurrent of minerality, as well as layers of structure. The oak is decidedly New World, but it isn’t over the top and will integrate into the wine over the next several years.

Highly recommended. This is a delicious wine that will only get better over the next five years and could last even longer.

2 thoughts on “Expensive wine 112: Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 2015

  • By Burnsey -

    If I am going to spend some money on a California Chard, this is the route I take. Nice balance, no overpowering flavors from time spent in oak.
    We have this where I work, and it is always my first suggestion after white burgundy.

  • By David Randall -

    Totally agree with your assessment! The 2015 Chateau Montelena is excellent. I think it is better than the 2016 (although both are very good). You may not believe this, but there is a restaurant in my home town (Springfield, IL) that has it on their wine list for $36 a bottle! The first time I saw that I thought it was a misprint!

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