Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Anniversary of Defining Moment in California’s Wine Ascendance

As Oracle Corporation senior director of strategic accounts, Antoine Chaya has extensive experience in organizational performance in the technology sphere. Passionate about wine, Antoine Chaya particularly enjoys varieties grown and bottled in Northern California’s Napa Valley.

The year 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of a well-remembered moment in the history of Napa winemaking: the moment that one of its wines, a 1973 Chateau Montelena chardonnay, earned first place in the prestigious Paris Tasting.” This blind tasting event marked a sea change, with Northern California vintners becoming highly respected in their own right and often surpassing Bordeaux and Burgundy producers.

One of the highly acclaimed vintages of the era is Spring Mountain Vineyard’s 1973 chardonnay, which surpassed French Premier Crus and Grand Crus bottles in blind taste testing. The winery, open only by appointment, sits on a Victorian country estate that was the setting of the soap opera Falcon Crest. Production is limited to 240 cases each year, and the winery’s early success is attributed to an owner with a “European palette.” Thus, Spring Mountain Vineyard’s wines contrast with the full, buttery qualities previously associated with California wines. One of the mid-1970s French judges, taking a sip of the vintage, was heard to say “Ah, back to France.”