Chateau Montelena sold, downtown Napa, questions for Chiarello

by TrevR on July 25, 2008

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Another busy week has come and is very nearly gone. There’s been lots of interesting Napa Valley news, check out the items below to see what’s caught our eye.

Chateau Montelena sold to the French
Early this week the wine world was abuzz as Robert Parker attempted to hype up one of the “biggest stories in my 30 years in the wine field”. Turns out, that news was the fact that Michel Reybier, the owner of Château Cos-d’Estournel, had purchased Chateau Montelena in Calistoga. Personally, we agree with our friends over at Good Grape on this one.

Mainstream media beginning to discover downtown Napa
This week saw both Bloomberg News and the San Francisco Chronicle write stories about the emerging downtown Napa scene–something we’ve been writing about for months. Of the dining scene, here’s what the Chronicle had to say:

Taylor’s Automatic Refresher, the St. Helena and Ferry Marketplace burger joint with a following as cultlike as the one worshiping Napa Cabernet, anchors the western end of Oxbow Public Market. Also downtown are Zuzu (Spanish-style tapas), Uva Trattoria (Italian) and the Bounty Hunter wine bar (ribs and fabulous beer-can chicken).

Well, they certain hit on three of our faves (Taylor’s, ZuZu and Uva). Interestingly, Bloomberg didn’t have the best of experiences at another restaurant we like, Ubuntu:

One evening I eat at Ubuntu, a wildly praised vegetarian restaurant with an upstairs yoga studio that opened last summer on Main Street. The place is packed; the vibe is mellow (Ubuntu means humanity toward others in the Bantu language); the recycled wood floor shines.

After all the hype, I’m disappointed. Yes, the round green olives laced with carrot-top pesto ($5) are intense and tangy, and a bowl of watermelon and lemongrass soup ($9) is sublimely complex and creamy. The wine list features faves such as Robert Sinskey Pinot Blanc ($38 a half bottle). Yet service is sloppy and the Anson Mills rice “grits” with spring vegetables ($19) is a gloppy mess.

Questions for Michael Chiarello
We’re very excited to announce that next week we’ll be paying a visit to Yountville for an in-person meeting with Mr. Michael Chiarello. We’ve got a load of questions for him already, but if you’ve got anything you’d like us to ask him, let us know and we’ll see if we can work it in.

[techtags: Napa, Napa Valley, wine, winery, Chateau Montelena, Chateua Montelena sold, downtown Napa, Michael Chiarello, NapaStyle, Bottega Ristorante]

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has written 724 posts on The Cork Board. He was born and aged in the Napa Valley and has a passion for wine, writing and social media, which led him to co-found this blog in early 2007. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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