2017 Ch. Montelena Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc


Founded in the 1880s, Chateau Montelena was named for Mt. Saint Helena, the imposing peak that looks over the upper Napa Valley where the winery is located. For decades one of the valley’s top quality wine producers, the estate struggled in the years after prohibition and even ceased making wine from its grapes. That all changed in the late 1960s, when a group of partners led by Jim Barret revived the estate, restoring the iconic chateau-like winery building, the Chinese-themed gardens, and, most of all, the vineyards. In no time, Chateau Montelena was making wine that, along with other pioneers of that era, vaulted the Napa Valley into the major leagues of premium wine production. Indeed, by 1976 Chateau Montelena not only emerged as one of Napa Valley’s premier wineries, but awakened the entire world to the quality of California wine, when its 1973 Alexander Valley Chardonnay won first place in the infamous Paris Tasting, in which some of France’s greatest wine critics rated the Chateau Montelena above some of the most illustrious of white burgundies. Since 1981, Bo Barret, son of the founder, has overseen the winemaking at Chateau Montelena, pursuing the goal of making flavorful but elegant, complex and age-worthy wines in the French style. Unlike many of its peers, Chateau Montelena’s wines do not undergo barrel fermentation, malolactic fermentation or even aging in exclusively new oak barrels in order to emphasize the nuances of the terroir and the natural flavors of the grapes. The 98-acre Montelena Estate vineyards, spanning flatlands and hillsides north of the winery alongside the Napa River, features a rich mix of alluvial, sedimentary and volcanic soils as well as an intriguing variety of microclimates. Primarily planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, the estate also includes several blocs of Zinfandel. Vines planted in these rocky soils are naturally low-yielding, and such techniques as organic pest control, dry farming, and crop thinning bring yields down even further. The results of such low yields are evidenced in the consistent quality of the “Estate” wines: full-bodied, intense and flavorful - though somewhat tannic in their youth - elegant, complex and age-worthy. In addition to the “Estate” wines, Chateau Montelena also produces Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards elsewhere in the Napa Valley, Chardonnay from both the Napa and Alexander valleys and a small amount of Riesling from the Potter Valley in Mendicino County.


Hotei Wines is pleased to offer this limited edition Sauvignon Blanc that is otherwise only available at the winery. The fruit is sourced from a vineyard in Oak Knoll, a cooler district south of Yountville that blesses white wines with lovely aromatics. What’s new in 2017 is that a block of Semillon, planted in 2013, yielded enough fruit to make up a substantial 15.6% of the blend, allowing Chateau Montelena to make a stunning wine in the style of White Bordeaux. Semillon adds roundness, density and honeyed richness to the zesty Sauvignon Blanc. This is a lively Sauvignon Blanc that appeals with tropical fruit and floral notes and ripe citrus and strawberry flavors.


Fermented in stainless steel tank and aged neutral French oak for six months. No malolactic fermentation.

Tasting notes

On the nose, aromas of ripe melon, chamomile and guava open up to a refreshing but supple palate of ripe grapefruit and tart strawberry. Fresh pineapple, lemon and hints of Provencal herbs linger in the finish.


Napa Valley


84.4% Sauvignon Blanc, 15.6% Semillon