Category Archives: CellarMaster
Our ship was the Regent Navigator. A smaller cruise vessel compared to the other ones sailing the Alaskan passages. This ship holds a maximum of just under 500 passengers. We boarded in Seward, just outside of Anchorage. Apparently it was the nicest day they had seen in a while – lots of sunshine.
Our first winery event was our welcome reception – all turned out. Cameron Parry, our winemaker, gave the official welcome to the cruise. We poured two older Estate Cabernets, 2002 and 2003, a 1999 Potter Valley Riesling as well as current releases of our chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Everyone was excited to be here and on this trip.
We finished in time for dinner and a good nights rest for our big day of winetasting - a mini-Quarter of a Century! Ten vintages of Estate Cabernet as well as ten vintages of our Napa Valley Chardonnay. Oh boy, can’t wait!
Recently I was extremely fortunate to represent Chateau Montelena Winery along with our winemaker, Cameron Parry, on our most recent wine cruise. We sailed the inside passage of Alaska from June 25th through July 6th, starting in Anchorage and ending in Vancouver, Canada. We along with our 50 guests, some of which are CellarMaster club members, spent some wonderful time getting to know one another during our wine seminars, receptions and dinner. My next few blog entries will be postings of this adventure along with photos of the scenery, the events and our wonderful guests.
I hope you enjoy the entries and maybe I will see you on our next cruise in 2013?
If you have ever visited Jade Lake to enjoy its tranquility – and especially if you are a CellarMaster Wine Club member who has reserved one of its two islands for personal use – you are familiar with our pavilions. These structures were originally built by Yort and Jeanie Frank, whose family owned and lived in the Chateau in the mid-20th Century. It was in fact Yort who excavated the lake, created its enchanting gardens, and named it all after his wife, whose nickname was Jade. After decades of exposure to the elements, even with our careful upkeep, it finally became necessary to replace the pavilions. This work was recently completed, faithfully replicating the original design, and even incorporating beautiful roof tiles sourced directly from China. Here is a picture of the left island pavilion, taken just before guests arrived for our annual Movable Feast event in late May. Next time you visit, we hope you take in the view. Better yet, after your visit maybe you would have a picture or two to share with us (hint…hint)?
There is another House of Representatives bill, being submitted (HR1161) , that will affect the direct shipping of your wine regardless of whether you are in a wine club, have a wine allocation or just occasionally order wine. This act was sponsored by the wholesalers and will bring us back about two decades on wine shipping. Read more here.
According to Free the Grapes.org, this is what this bill will do if it is passed:
- Establish that State Laws Override Federal Laws: Shifts the burden of proof from state to challenger in all cases that deal with the validity of any state law regarding the regulation of matters involving alcohol beverages and makes such state laws presumably valid over any federal law that is inconsistent with its provisions.
- Render Commerce Clause Ineffective: Establishes federal law that makes the Dormant Commerce Clause not applicable to any state law that deals with alcohol beverage sale or distribution unless they are demonstrated to “facially discriminate, without justification”.
This is a disagreement between beer wholesalers and beer producers. U.S. House Resolution 1161 was introduced March 17 at the request of the National Beer Wholesalers of America with the support of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. But, because of its broad scope, HR 1161 is a direct threat to wine direct shipping by exempting anti-competitive and discriminatory state alcohol beverage laws from most federal review. It will reverse the federal decision brought about from Heald vs. Granholm which was instrumental to increasing the number of states that allow legal, regulated winery-to-consumer shipments, making it essentially difficult to buy wine directly from your favorite wineries.
Please reach out to your representatives, as well as your senators, to let them know that this is not okay. Free the Grapes.org has a template that you may use to to send an email or fax directly to your representatives.
Chateau Montelena Sauvignon Blanc deserves an ideal companion for pairing. Fresh lime, aromatic herbs, and shellfish compliment the bright palate and crisp finish of this varietal. For me, it’s a light lunch or first course of Bodega Bay Crab Vietnamese Spring Rolls. Our 2009 Sauvignon Blanc has a great acidity that champions both the citrus and the crunch in these delectable fresh rolls! No worries if you’re too far from Bodega – any fresh crabmeat rocks this dish, and so does shrimp. You can omit protein altogether for a veggie version-try adding sliced avocado! I use a spicy peanut sauce for dipping, but any Asian-inspired sauce (mango, lemon, or other prepared sauces) can boost your own kitchen creativity. These rolls take less than 30 minutes to make and plate if you have your ingredients prepped – but you do need to prepare them within 90 minutes of serving. Like sushi rolls, they will get soggy if you try to make them too far ahead.* The good news? Nutritious, delicious, low cal and a perfect match-up for our Chateau Montelena Sauvignon Blanc!
Serves 4 as a light lunch or 8 as an appetizer (makes 8 rolls)
- 1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
- 3/4 cup carrots, fine julienne
- 1/4 cup green onions, fine julienne
- ½ English cucumber, fine julienne
- ¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro, reserve whole leaves for garnish
- ¼ cup snipped fresh mint, reserve whole leaves for garnish
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 8 8-inch round spring roll wrappers
- 8 ounces fresh or frozen crab claw meat
- Prepared peanut sauce for dipping
- Juice of 1 lime
- For filling, in a large bowl combine cabbage, carrots, green onions, cucumber, cilantro and mint. Dissolve the sugar in the rice vinegar; combine with soy sauce. Toss lightly with the vegetables to coat.
- For the dipping sauce: in a small bowl stir together 1/2 cup of peanut sauce and juice of one lime; season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Place 1 cup of luke-warm water in a shallow dish. As you prepare each roll, dip each wrapper in warm water for 7-10 seconds until limp (as a cooked lasagna noodle). Place on damp dish towel for filling and rolling. Don’t over-soak; they will tear or rip if over-soaked.
- Center 1/3 cup of filling about 1 inch from bottom edge of one of the moistened spring roll wrappers. Top with 2 tablespoons crab meat. Driizzle with a bit of dipping sauce. Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper over the filling. Fold in sides. Gently, roll up tightly as you would a burrito, keeping filling snug. Repeat with remaining filling and spring roll wrappers. Cut in half on a diagonal; serve with dipping sauce. *Do-ahead tip: Prep all the veggies as early as the night before and submerge in ice water; drain well on paper towels before assembling the rolls.
We closed the winery down on Saturday the 21st, as we do every year on the third Saturday in May, for our annual party to end all parties – the Movable Feast. This party allows us an opportunity to celebrate our CellarMaster members, enjoy fantastic food and pull some of our older bottles out of the cellar to enjoy with friends old and new. We hosted one of our largest groups in recent history – over 260 party attendees came to eat, drink, and be merry at Movable Feast 2011. With Cajun-themed food (think gumbo), music courtesy of the talented Louisiana-based band L’Angelus and an impromptu conga line, it was a very memorable afternoon. To make a special occasion even more so, Author George Taber (formerly a writer for TIME magazine and the only journalist present at the 1976 Paris Tasting) was able to join in the festivities to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the 1976 Paris Tasting that put Chateau Montelena on the world wine map. It’ll be a tough one to beat, but we’re ambitious enough to try to make Movable Feast 2012 even better.
Hope to see you here next year!
Remember that all CellarMaster wine club members are invited to take part in special CellarMaster club tasting during your visit to the winery. This exclusive club benefit is offered by appointment and includes both current and library wines accompanied by a cheese plate. For more information on these tastings, please visit our Tasting Room page and scroll down to the CellarMaster tasting information.
To book, call us at 800-222-7288 or email us at email@example.com.
If you aren’t already a club member, this is a great reason to join.
We hope to see you soon!
Are you a CellarMaster member? If so, here is an additional benefit that you might not be aware of when visiting the tasting room – specialized tasting catered to club members and their guests only. Enjoy your tasting of library wines and an exclusive club wine with other club members in a private setting. All paired with bite size food, (cheese and charcuterie).
These tastings are by appointment only and are offered Thursday through Sunday. Please contact one of our Club representatives at 800-222-7288 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information or to reserve your spot.
For those of you who have ordered the 2007 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon through the Chateau - get ready. This delicious wine will be sent out to you the week of March 7. Look forward to an email with all the details.
Our wine club members are very important to us. They are our brand ambassadors and our biggest fans. With that status, it is paramount that we offer them a desirable wine club. We often ask for their feedback. How are we doing? What can we do for them? Their answers help us to continually cultivate and improve our wine clubs.
What makes a great wine club to you?