Today we rode our bikes over to Chateau Montelena.
If you've seen the movie Bottleshock, or if you know about the 1976 Paris blind tasting upset (also known as the "Judgment of Paris") when a California Chardonnay won first prize over its French competitors (unthinkable!), then you'll probably have heard of this winery.
The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 or the Judgment of Paris was a wine competition organized in Paris on 24 May 1976 by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant, in which French judges carried out two blind tasting comparisons: one of top-quality Chardonnays and another of red wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California). A California wine rated best in each category, which caused surprise as France was generally regarded as being the foremost producer of the world's best wines. Spurrier sold only French wine and believed that the California wines would not win. [Wikipedia]
The grounds are spectcular.
The Chardonnay they make today is apparently made in the same style as the 1973 Chardonnay that won the Paris tasting, and it was very good! We also really liked the 2010 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cute sticker on the bike rack:
From there we headed back to camp, worked some more, then went to our 2pm tour appointment at Reverie, up on Diamond Mountain.
Reverie is one of Napa Valley’s smallest estate wineries. The vineyard is nestled on a steep, 40 acre parcel high up in the Diamond Mountain appellation (we did not ride bikes up here), and the wine they produce is wonderful. We started our tasting outside with Sara (She's awesome! Hi Sara!) and then headed into the caves.
A French oak barrel. These cost about $1200 and can be used once or twice:
Kevin in the caves with oak and temperanillo:
Our favorite wines of this tasting were the Petit Verdot, the 2008 Cabernet, and the Reserve Cabernet. The tour was fun and educational and I would highly recommend making a reservation here at Reverie if you're in Calistoga. It was one of our favorites!
Next was a wine and cheese pairing/tasting at The Von Strasser Winery (right next door to Reverie, also up on Diamond Mountain).
John was our guide and gave us a nice tour and took us into the caves and to a small table for our tasting.
It was just the three of us so we had a time for some fun casual conversation, as well as learning about the Von Strasser wine and winemaking. Our favorites here were the 2009 Sori Bricco Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2009 Spaulding Cabernet Sauvignon.
Back at the Airstream now. I think we're going to grill some salmon and some veggies, and then ride bikes to the market later to get some groceries before heading out tomorrow morning. We've had such a nice time here in Calistoga and it definitely feels like it's going to become of the "regulars" now. (You know, the places you return to over and over again.)
Happy Friday everyone!