Napa Valley joys, part 1

Spent a day in the Napa Valley. The blue sky, the grey-green hills, and the yellow mustard grass showed off the valley at its best. Went to 4 quality vineyards, and the wine was excellent, if pricey by Australian standards. Bennett Lane in the north of the valley, near Calistoga, was first. They charged $10 to pour 2cm (3/4″) of 4 wines. Wine Spectator gave their 2004 cabernet sauvignon 90 points. Highlight of the morning was Chateau Montelena, a few miles away. The tasting fee was $15 for 5 wines: 2006 Potter Valley riesling ($20), 2005 chardonnay ($40), 2004 zinfandel ($28), 2004 cabernet sauvignon ($45), and 2003 cabernet sauvignon ($105). All but the riesling are estate grown: I walked through their valley and wished I were rich enough to afford such beauty. The oldest cabernet sauvignon vines were planted 1973. The chardonnay and the older cabsauv were magnificent. I wondered how the cabsauv would match against a Katnook Estate Odyssey cabsauv from Coonawarra, which retails about the same price. A 1973 Chateau Montelena chardonnay won the famous Judgement of Paris wine tasting in 1976. A film, called Bottleshock and loosely based on that event, will be released soon. Robert Parker has given Montelena’s cabsauv a minimum of 90 points each year since 1990. The 2003 received 93, and the 2004 93-95. Parker noted: “No other winery I know of has such an unbroken track record for making world class wines year after year.”

Categories: Not home, Uncategorized

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