Portal:Wine/Selected winery/24

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Cabernet Sauvignon vines at Chateau Montelena.

Chateau Montelena is a Napa Valley winery most famous for winning the white wine section of the historic Judgement of Paris wine competition. Chateau Montelena's Chardonnay was in competition with nine other wines from France and California. All 11 judges awarded their top scores to either the Chardonnays from Chateau Montelena or Chalone Winery, another Californian winery.

In 1882, entrepreneur Alfred Loving Tubbs bought 254 acres of land just north of Calistoga at the foot of Mount Saint Helena. Tubbs had made a fortune from the rope business during the Gold Rush, and knew the area from visits to the White Sulphur Springs Resort nearby. He planted vines, and by 1896 Chateau Montelena was the seventh largest winery in the Napa Valley.

However, winemaking ceased at the Chateau with the onset of Prohibition in the United States and afterwards the Tubbs sold grapes but did not make wine.

In 1958 the Tubbs family sold the Chateau to Yort Wing Frank, a Chinese electrical engineer, and his wife Jeanie, who were looking for a retirement home. The Franks created a garden in the style of their homeland, and excavated Jade Lake.

In 1968, Lee and Helen Paschich bought the property, and brought in as partners lawyer James L. Barrett and property developer Earnest Hahn. Jim Barrett replanted the vineyard and installed winemaking equipment in the historic buildings and it began producing wines again in 1972.

Four years later, the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 1973 won first place in the Judgment of Paris. A bottle of that vintage is in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

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