By Courtney Cochran
Egoistic French monarch Louis XIV once famously said, "l'état, c'est moi" ("I am the state," as in, I AM France). Which came to mind as I was reading about the recent sale of Calistoga's Chateau Montelena to French businessman Michel Reybier, who also owns - among a number of other significant holdings - Château Cos d'Estournel, a well-known Bordeaux second growth.How French Can We Get?
The great irony behind the purchase? Chateau Montelena's 1973
Chardonnay was the white wine that bested its French counterparts in
the legendary Judgment of Paris tasting of 1976, a watershed moment in
Franco-American wine relations. Along with Stag's Leap Wine Cellars'
Cabernet Sauvignon - which placed first in the red category over a slew
of top growth Bordeaux - Montelena's Chardonnay is credited with
putting American wines on a level playing field with French wines for
the first time. As a result of these wins, the wine drinking world's
consciousness began a gradual shift from France towards America
(California, really), and it's a shift that's been ongoing ever since.