Last night, I helped to host a blind tasting and teach a class on the Judgment of Paris at my favorite little wine bar in Omaha. The event was truly a wonderful time, and by all measures with which I am familiar a huge success; I’ll write a future post about that soon. But this morning, I want to share one of the little things that brings me joy in life, and that’s what many reviewers and I sometimes refer to as the joy of discovery.
As part of the class, we wanted to do something special for the fine ladies and gentlemen who signed up and paid their money to be part of this experience, so I scouted out a pièce de résistance to share with them at the end. I know a couple of nice people at Chateau Montelena, who produced the 1973 vintage Chardonnay that famously won the 1976 Judgment of Paris, so I called one of them up and asked what was drinking well right now. Long story short, last night, we poured a magnum of 2001 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay for our guests, as a thank you for attending our tasting, and it was absolutely amazing.
I had been told on my visits to Chateau Montelena that their Chards age well, and I know they are sometimes offering older verticals of the wine, but I’ll be honest and say that I never expected it to be as utterly amazing as it turned out to be. The gorgeous light golden color and the rich and complex flavor profile were simply stunning. The fruits were still there, green apple, pear and others, but they had all taken on a candied nature, with familiar flavors like toffee and butterscotch, white roses, and vanilla giving this wine so much character that every sip was a new discovery. I’d never tasted Chardonnay this old, but now that I have, I think I’m going to start aging some. In the very least, I’ll start aging some from Chateau Montelena.
My wife, Sonja, and I visited Chateau Montelena on our honeymoon, and it holds a special place in my heart. The incredible quality of the wines they produce — not just their famous Chardonnay, but also their Cabs, their Riesling, and others, keeps us going back. If you’ve never had the joy of discovering one of their aged Chardonnays, I can’t recommend it strongly enough. This may be the single most enjoyable white wine I have ever tasted. If you’re looking for something special, seek this one out.