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Cos-Montelena deal CONFIRMED!!

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Cos d’Estournel, the St. Estephe Second Growth, has bought Chateau Montelena for an undisclosed amount, although some Internet accounts have mentioned $110 million.

The deal was confirmed to me by Heidi Barrett, the superstar winemaker who is married to Bo Barrett, son of Montelena’s founder, Jim Barrett.

Montelena had been widely expected to change hands for some time, although the announcement that Cos is buying it caught most by surprise.

Barrett is expected to remain at Montelena at least through the 2008 vintage, assisted by d’Estournel’s winemaker, Dominque Arangoits.

Chateau Montelena was founded by San Francisco businessman Alfred Tubbs in 1882. The name is a contraction of Mount St. Helena, at whose base the Calistoga winery is perched. Tubbs’ descendents sold it in 1958 to interim owners, who in turn sold to James Barrett, Bo’s father, in the early 1970s. Barrett invested heavily and completely revamped the winery and vineyards, pushing Montelena to the top in Napa Valley. Their Chardonnay, made by Mike Grgich, famously won the Paris Tasting of 1976.

Cos d’Estournel dates to the Middle Ages. The name is said to be derived from the Greek isle of Cos, and given to the vineyard by Knights Templar returning to Bordeaux from the Crusades. The winery is very famous and is one of the so-called Super Seconds.

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