Category Archives: CellarMaster
Our Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc has a great acidity that stands up to bright citrusy notes in any dish. Fresh lime, aromatic cilantro, and firmly textured fish compliment the bright palate and crisp finish of this delicious wine! Serve both well-chilled for a perfect beginning to a dinner repast, or let them shine together as the star of a light lunch!
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound fresh firm white fish, such as sea bass fillet or tilapia fillet, cubed in 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 2 fresh medium vine ripened tomatoes, cubed, seeded and drained
- 2 avocados – peeled, pitted, and cubed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Lettuce leaves, for garnish
In a medium non-reactive bowl combine the lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice and olive oil. Add the fish and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for about 3 hours. The flesh of the fish should be white and opaque.
Add the cilantro, onion, celery, tomato, and avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper, To serve, spoon onto lettuce leaves and garnish.
Grab a bottle of our Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc – available only through the winery – and enjoy alongside this dish. Cheers!
“Simply, a most delicious and elegant first course that sets the stage for a wonderful evening…easy!”
You will need:
- A special oblong individual dish for each serving is dramatic and beautifully sets the salad
- A heavy bottomed, 12 inch saucepan
- 4 small lobster tails (one lobster tail per person)
- 4 Tablespoons salted European or Irish butter
- 1 tablespoon pure Madagascar Bourbon/Tahitian Vanilla Extract ‘Crush’
- 1 small container of American Golden Caviar or Salmon Roe
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
- 1 container of microgreens, availailable at most gourmet grocery stores
- Balsamic vinegar, to taste
- Extra Virgin olive oil, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Split each lobster tail lengthwise down the middle and leave the shell on each piece.
- Set the saucepan on medium heat; melt 3 tablespoons of the butter.
- Add the vanilla to melted butter and stir.
- Place the lobster tails, meat side down, in the melted butter and cook, spooning butter over the tails, until meat begins to turn opaque. Before completely cooked, remove from direct heat.
- Place lobster tails in a glass holding dish, meat side up. As soon as they can be handled, remove tails from the shell. (Shells can be discarded, or stored frozen for making stock, if desired.)
- Return the pan to medium heat and add the last tablespoon of butter, stirring to melt.
- Add the tails back to the butter and vanilla and allow tails to finish cooking, approximately 30 seconds. Serve immediately.
Lightly toss the micro greens with a splash or two of balsamic vinegar and approximately 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, or to taste. Place ¼ cup on one end of the plate; place two pieces of lobster tail meat on the other end. Salt and pepper to taste. Place ½ teaspoon of caviar on top of each tail and garnish with cilantro leaves.
Submitted by Chateau Montelena CellarMaster Jack Douglas
“A fabulous and simple, yummy dessert…use your favorite pie filling!”
Prep Time: 40-45 minutes
You will need:
A glass or ceramic deep dish pie plate, or square baking pan, buttered on bottom and sides.
Flowers, or other decorative element, to dress up the top.
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup dark baker’s cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 15 oz. can blueberry pie filling (or other, to your liking)
- Whipping cream, if desired
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Stir together the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water until dissolved.
- Gently stir in pie filling.
- Spread mixture evenly on bottom of buttered pan.
- Stir together flour, sugar, dark cocoa, baking soda and salt in a separate large bowl.
- Add shortening and mix together; then add one cup water, vinegar and vanilla.
- Beat with spoon until batter is smooth and well blended.
- Spoon batter over pie filling.
- Bake in center of oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool 10 minutes; carefully invert onto serving plate. Garnish as desired. Serve warm with whipped cream.
“A delicious late summer evening entrée for the grill!”
You will need:
A flat-bottomed grill pan for the outdoor grill (or line the grill grates with foil to catch melting cheese)
Plastic wrap, for pounding the steaks.
- 4 each 8 oz. (approx.) rib eye steaks, pounded to ½ inch thick
- 4 tablespoons prepared pesto (see below)
- 6-8 cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
- 8-10 fresh spinach leaves, cleaned, stems removed
- 4 slices provolone cheese
- 4 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled
- Salt and pepper, to taste.
- Trim excess fat from the steaks. Place each steak between two sheets of plastic wrap; pound out to even ½ inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread 1 tablespoon pesto on one surface of each steak.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of blue cheese on top of pesto.
- Layer in a single layer: mushrooms, then spinach, then provolone cheese, tearing cheese to fit.
- Starting at the narrowest end of each steak, roll tightly; secure each roll with butcher’s twine. Further secure each roll by wrapping a length of twine around the long length of each roll.
- Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect heat, to approximately 325 degrees.
- Place the steak rolls in center of grill (not over direct heat source). Cook for 8-10 minute, turn once and cook for 6-8 minutes (medium rare).
- Rest rolls off heat, covered with foil, for 7-8 minutes. Slice each roll to desired thickness.
Delicious when paired with Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon!
-CellarMaster member Robert Hopkins and Cynthia Ancona
Congratulations to our CellarMaster Recipe Challenge Winners! We had many wonderful submissions for our first ever members’ Recipe Challenge and our staff culinary team had to narrow down the submissions to four category winners in each of the categories: appetizer, salad, main course, dessert. We are delighted to share their tasty recipes, each paired with their selection of a Chateau Montelena wine.
Our four finalists are as follows:
- Amy Weinberg, for her appetizer, “Amy’s Crab Cakes with Lime Aioli and Fennel Grapefruit Salad”, paired with Chateau Montelena Sauvignon Blanc
- Jack Douglas, for his salad, “Vanilla Lobster Salad”; paired with Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay;
- Rob Hopkins, for his main course, “Rib Eye Rolls”, paired with Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon;
- Patrick Blondin, for his dessert, “Dark Chocolate Upside Down Cake”, paired with Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Our category winners are all invited to schedule a private tasting, vineyard tour, and catered lunch on the islands for four people – all with our compliments and congratulations.
Our Grand Prize Winner is Jack Douglas, for the oh-so-sumptuous Vanilla Lobster Salad, which swept the challenge in the final taste-off. Jack and up to seven guests are invited to come to the Chateau, use our Private Residence kitchen to cook up his dish, and sit down to enjoy the Vanilla Lobster Salad and an additional three-course luncheon prepared by our in-house chef – each course will be paired with Chateau Montelena wines.
We encourage you to try the recipes for yourself and perhaps share some of your own favorite pairings. Who knows? We may ask to share your recipe on our blog! Better yet, become a CellarMaster so you can participate next year and submit your own recipe in next year’s challenge.
We’ll reveal each of the winning recipes over the next few weeks so that you can make them and taste for yourself (and, of course, enjoy with your favorite Montelena wine).
Our members have an exclusive experience waiting for them when they reserve their CellarMaster Tastings here at Chateau Montelena. Members enjoy a semi-private, hour-long educational experience in which our library and Estate wines are sampled alongside local artisan cheeses selected for their unique flavor profiles. Set in the private quarters of the winery’s private residence, our members have an opportunity to taste and purchase select wines available exclusively to them. Members are welcome to reserve one of the islands for the day to picnic before or after their tasting. If you haven’t been to visit us in a while, please call us at (800) 222-7288 and reserve your tasting soon; this is the perfect time of year to enjoy the Chateau and the beautiful grounds! CellarMaster Tastings are offered twice daily, Thursdays through Sundays, at 10:20 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
We look forward to seeing you!
Judy Tischler, Wine Club Ambassador
Well, it’s not what you think – not from the alcohol, but from the end of another Movable Feast. After a year of planning, it came down to a four-hour party. By my calculations, that’s about 520 hours of planning for every one hour of partying….wow! Ok, ok, I didn’t spend the ENTIRE year planning, but towards the end, it sure felt like it! Anyhow, for those who came (and there were a lot of you), it looked like a good time was had by all. Look for pics coming soon.
Now comes the fun part; thinking about next year’s theme! Just when you’re ready to come up for air, you’ve got to get back up on that horse and start running again. If you have any fun ideas for next year’s Feast, send them my way. My brain is on temporary freeze.
We have just a few days left before the biggest event of the year – our Annual Movable Feast. This year’s theme: The Rat Pack and a throwback to Vegas. The front of the Chateau will come alive with costumes, music and decor – in all the glorious, if not a bit tacky, splendor of Las Vegas like yesteryear. Even the food is themed to those simpler times. Of course, we’ll have some great wines flowing throughout, including some new and never-before-seen items, such as a 2009 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, exclusively available to our club members.
So this isn’t a pitch to come join us; we’ve been sold out for weeks. Look for the pics, the stories, and most importantly, get on board early if you want to join us next year. My brain is already churning for next year’s theme.
Along with the warmer weather and longer days, we bring more good news to our wine-loving friends. This Spring, we’re pleased to release three new wines for your sipping pleasure: our 2008 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, our 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and our 2009 Montelena Estate Zinfandel. To coincide with celebration season, barbecues and cook-outs or even just those random Tuesdays when you’re craving a glass of really good red – these wines have arrived just in time for those instances. With fantastic reception from our friends in the CellarMaster wine club, we’re looking forward to sharing these wines with new friends and visitors to the winery. Whether you want something to stash away in the cellar for a special anniversary or birthday or something deliciously smooth and versatile to enjoy at a dinner next week, there’s a perfect wine for every palate and occasion. Personally? I can hardly wait for warm, late summer nights – those nights that beg for barbecuing with friends and family and enjoying a glass of our delicious Zinfandel. Why the Zinfandel? Well, I’ve found that it’s great with summer fare like burgers, barbecued ribs and grilled veggies foods that are omnipresent during the months of June/July/August/September (it also pairs nicely with chocolate and I’m definitely not one to pass up that combo). What are your spring sippers?
Wanting to pull out that 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet at sunset for friends? A perfect small bite to pair with this sumptuous red is a plate of warm gougères just out of the oven. Gougères traditionally are made with a choux pastry base. But who wants to fuss with making the pasty when guests are on the way over? Puff pastry sheets fit the bill. The versatility of this product should never be underestimated! The pastry sheets thaw quickly and can make easy work of impressing family and friends.*
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and center a rack in the oven.
Thaw one sheet of puff pastry in fridge or on the counter as directed on the package.
On a lightly floured stone counter top, roll the pastry to an 8 x 12 inch rectangle.
In two separate bowls, mix:
-one egg white and 2 T. milk
-any mixture of 3 T ea: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried thyme, dried marjoram, madras curry, dried dill, minced dried onion or shallot. Put together what pleases you. Add to this bowl: 1/3 c. grated gruyere or dry Vella Jack cheese, and a dash of black pepper or cayenne.
Brush the rolled square of pastry with the egg white mixture; then liberally sprinkle the mixture of herbs, seeds and cheese over the pastry. Press gently with your rolling pin, using a light touch.
Using a very small cookie cutter (1.25 inch diameter, or the top of a shot glass), stamp out the shapes. This should yield at least 2 dozen gougères.
Bake on a silpat mat or ungreased cookie sheet for 18-20 minutes, or until puffed and golden. These yummy bites freeze beautifully for up to a month…cool completely before wrapping and freezing. Reheat frozen gougères @ 400 degrees on a cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes, until warm and slightly crisp.
*Tip: Keep the boxes of puff pastry frozen until you’re ready to use. You can put a box in the fridge up to a day ahead if you like, but after a few days the sheets will develop a sour taste and will fail to rise properly.