A New French Paradox

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chateaumontelenaroom.jpgBy Robert Farmer

There are more than a few ways to interpret the news from Napa. You might think it ironic. You might think it sad. Or you might think it adulation. And that's the way I chose to interpret the recently announced news that Chateau Montelena was purchased by Cos d'Estournel, one of Bordeaux legendary winemakers.

That Chateau Montelena was the Napa house that handed the French their chapeaux back in now-famous 1976 Judgment of Paris does serve as an ironic backstory to the purchase. And in that case it took three decades for the circle to come full. Not to mention the fact that the current US economy provided a ripe situation in which the winery could plucked for virtually pennies on the dollar by an able European suitor.

But rather than view this as sad tale of fate, I choose to view it as the ultimate form of flattery. Montelena put itself up for sale, and the French know good wine when they taste it. And who better than the French to understand that Chateau Montelena has lost little of the swagger they took on when they beat the French at their own game. So in spite of the fact that this represents just the latest in a string of great Napa winery sales to foreign buyers, let's remember that at the very least, these new owners at the very least have good taste.

Let's just hope that doesn't change when they start getting comfortable here.

Read also "Going to the Frogs" on the same topic.

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