Beautiful light gold color; citrus, starfruit, pineapple, green apple on the nose; lemon, grapefruit, lime on the palate.
Dry with slightest whisper of sweetness on the finish; bright acidity; clean; tart, lively fruit, delightfully precise layers of flavor. Treacly plonk parading as riesling wrongly sullied riesling’s reputation in the 70s and 80s. Forget that stuff. Real riesling, this riesling, is a great food wine, a wine of complexity and depth, a wine that should be in every serious wine drinker’s rack.
Chateau Montelena is legendary, providing the chardonnay that won the historic “Judgment of Paris” competition in 1973. The winery traces roots to 1888 when Alfred Tubbs built a then state-of-the-art winery that quickly became a premier Napa maker housed in an impressive English Gothic castle that continue to house the operation today.
Prohibition derailed the wine operation among its other foolish consequences. The Tubbs continued to grow grapes, but eventually the family sold the property to a Chinese family who turned it into a retirement home. In 1968, Lee and Helen Paschich bought the property, replanted the vineyards, and brought in Mike Grgich as the winemaker. Grgich produced the Paris winner, but by that time the Barrett family owned the vineyard and Bo Barrett was his assistant. The Barret family continues to own Chateau Montelana today, with Bo Barrett the winemaker. Bo, by the way, is married to Heidi Barrett, former wine maker at Screaming Eagle. That is Napa royalty, and the skill shines through on this nice riesling.
Chateau Montelena Winery Potter Valley Riesling 2015 shows what a Napa riesling can be, and reinforces why you should enjoy this decidedly nobel grape that deserves your respect. $22-25
Second photo: Chateau Montelena Winery