"July 22, 2008
Michel Reybier, owner of Chateau Cos d’Estournel (www.cosestournel.com), grand cru classé of Saint-Estèphe, today announced that he is in discussion with Chateau Montelena’s founder, Jim Barrett, to acquire the Chateau Montelena Winery in Napa Valley, pending regulatory approval. Chateau Montelena is known as one of the world’s greatest wine estates and is famous for having won the renowned Paris Tasting of 1976.
“The Reybier and Barrett families share a relentless pursuit of quality,” said Michel Reybier. “More than anything else, great wine is about place. These two estates are 7,000 miles apart, but share many common qualities and experiences. This is a merging of that experience and both estates will continue to improve over time.”
The Barrett family acquired Chateau Montelena in 1972 and transformed this 125 year-old wine estate into what has been called an American first growth. “This is a perfect fit – a dream marriage,” said Jim Barrett. “We could not have asked for a finer team to carry on this legacy.”
Bo Barrett, who has made the wines at Chateau Montelena since 1982, will continue to provide the essential knowledge and experience gained from 35 years of living and working on the estate. Bo Barrett said, “Michel Reybier understands that it takes time and continuity to learn the true qualities of each place. He understands the importance of continuity, commitment, and experience in making world-class wine.”
The similarities between Chateau Montelena and Cos d’Estournel are notable: Both Michel Reybier and Jim Barrett acquired historic wine estates and led them through a renaissance. Both estates are known for their exceptional and distinctive terroir, and both produce world-class wines with unique characteristics that distinguish them in their respective regions.
Chateau Montelena was first established in 1882, and by 1886 it was the 7th largest winery in Napa Valley and well known for its quality. After going through a number of owners, the estate had been substantially abandoned when the Barrett family acquired it in 1972 and created one of Napa Valley's great wine estates. Under the management of Jim Barrett and his son Bo, Chateau Montelena has consistently garnered top accolades from the world’s wine experts and is well-known for its exceptional terroir and its consistency of style and grace from year to year. Also famous for its Chardonnay, the 1973 vintage won the famous international wine tasting known as “The Judgment of Paris, “ which put Napa Valley on the map as a world-class winemaking region."