Chateau Montelena in Calistoga is the star of Bottle Shock, the film about the landmark Paris tasting of 1976.
In our occasional series on places not to missed this harvest season, Chateau Montelena definitely makes the cut. After all, how many vintners get the chance to debut their wineries on the big screen?
The Paris Tasting jolted the wine world when the winery’s chardonnay won first place, shocking the French judges on the panel.
Just an FYI for movie-goers: Vintner Jim Barrett of Chateau Montelena swears the movie is mostly fictional. He has a point. For one, the winemaker who made the winning chardonnay – Mike Grgich – is nowhere to be seen in the film.
But one irrefutable fact the winery can boast about is that the winning wine – the 1973 Chateau Montelena – chardonnay is on display in the Smithsonian.
Wine travelers will get a kick out of the winery, a dramatic stone castle. The French architect used the great chateaux of Bordeaux as inspiration. Another highlight is the Chinese-style Jade Lake and the surrounding garden, created in 1958 by Chinese immigrant Yort Franks. It makes a great picnic spot but you have to be in the Chateau Montelena’s wine club to score a reservation.
Chateau Montelena is at 1429 Tubbs Ln. in Calistoga. 707-942-5105.