Come Taste For Yourself

As a new member of the Montelena family, we invite you to meet us, taste the wines and enjoy a bounty of benefits.

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Category Archives: Food

Have you gotten your ticket yet?

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Well…have you?  Who wouldn’t want to come up to wine country for one of the hottest parties of the year?  To everyone down in San Francisco and all the Bay Area, get up here….just for the fun of it.  Check out the event website at to get your tickets and more information.  Why not?

Luxury in Calistoga: It Does Exist

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If you’ve had the pleasure to visit the quaint little town of Calistoga, then you’ve enjoyed a throw back community to the new modern towns of US of A.   The town is rich with little shops, bed and breakfasts, casual dining; and most famous for the geothermal geography, which leads way to the mud and mineral baths.  But amongst the relaxed and personal charm of the laid back community, you’ll find Solage Resort and Spa, next to the old Calistoga Water plant on Silverado Trail.  This is a true oasis of luxury in a community full of  country lovin’.

While Solage boasts 4 star accomodations and spa treatments, it’s not over the top.  I call it minimalist elegance.  It is built to not intrude upon the natural surroundings.  All one story buildings with little invasion into its natural surroundings.

And if you don’t want to stay overnight, stop in to SolBar, their restaurant with amazing food; amazing settings.  I’ve taken  many out of towners there for lunch who simply said without saying by the expressions on their faces, this is paradise.

Ok, southern Napa Valley has a some of the finest dining in the country, but don’t overlook/underestimate what the little town charm of Calistoga has to offer.

Solage's SolBar Restaurant

What Is Your Great Pairing?

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2008 Montelena Estate Zinfandel

For me I like it with an Irish beef stew.  But will always go for a glass on its own.  What is your great pairing with this wine?

Best Sushi In SF? YES

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Ever heard of the Dog Patch District in San Francisco?  It’s an up-and-coming neighborhood just minutes south of the Giants ballpark.  This used to be the neighborhood of shipping commerce, canners, butchers….  and the story goes, homeless dogs roamed these parts in search of scraps.  Well, that’s what I’m told.  Today, it’s a part of SF’s resurgent urban development with loft condos, bay view offices, and restaurants.  Not to miss on the corner of 3rd and 18th is a small, unassuming Sushi Restaurant called Moshi Moshi.  And yes, the freshness and variety of their sushi is really second to none, especially when you consider the reasonable prices.  If you’re not a sushi eater, their broths for any of the noodle soup dishes are made on premise, with such perfection it’s hard to pass that up on a  “cold Summer day” in San Francisco.  Do yourself a favor and stop in.

And shameless plug: have a glass of our Zin or Riesling, which they serve there by the glass!  There’s a reason why we targeted this restaurant to carry our wine: so we can go there!!

Are You Franc or Blanc?

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Have you ever wanted to taste the wines that we make just for the fun of it?  Now you can.  The winery will host a first-of-its-kind party called Franc&Blanc on Saturday, June 25, 2011 from 3:00 to 7:00 pm where we’ll be pouring two of our limited-production wines – Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc – along with other wines such as our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Napa Valley Chardonnay.  There may even be a few other surprise wines here and there.

We’ll have a DJ, food trucks providing plenty of bites that pair with the wines, barrel tasting, a photobooth, vineyard tours, wine classes, games and prizes and much, much more!  The Montelena Family will be there too (because we love a great party) and we’re closing the winery down just for this special event.

Tickets are on sale now for general admission and VIP (*note that VIP tickets include transportation to/from the winery and access to a private VIP lounge).  Come and join us and declare your preference by wearing red (franc) or white (blanc).

Chateau Montelena Franc&Blanc


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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We just finished enjoying a scrumptious Irish feast, prepared by our talented Chef Britny: corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and soda bread.  Then we topped off the afternoon with a deliciously rich and moist Guinness cake.  Isn’t dessert the best part of every meal?

From all of us at Team Montelena, we wish you a very happy St. Patty’s Day!  How will you be celebrating the luck of the Irish today?

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Are you a Club Member?

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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:, for more information or to reserve your spot.


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A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to cook up a big pot of Louisiana Gumbo for a wine-industry get together we hosted a Montelena. And, since then, I’ve had quite a few people ask for the recipe. When people ask for the recipe, however, my gut instinct tells me that I shouldn’t give it out…Louisiana cooking, especially Gumbo, doesn’t have a recipe. You just use what you have around and it comes out different every time. But, for those who didn’t grow up eating gumbo and tailgating at LSU football games, cooking gumbo may not be natural. So, I’ll give the recipe thing a try. But, keep in mind, this is a ruff recipe and improvisation is welcome.

Gumbo pairs very well with Zinfandel–especially our 2007 and 2008 Estate Zinfandel!

Chicken breast and thighs (preferably with bone in)
Good smoked sausage or Cajun andouille
Seasonings (onion, bell pepper, jalapenos, garlic, celery, or whatever you have)
Chicken stock and/or water (bone-in chicken will make its own stock)
Okra (frozen okra works fine)
Filé (if you can find it; if not, that’s ok—Google Gumbo Filé)
Red pepper, black pepper and salt to taste
Bay leaves

How to:  In a large pan, brown your chicken and sausage in a little oil or butter (brown a few pieces at a time). Season chicken with salt and pepper as you go. After removing chicken and sausage, fry vegetable seasonings until tender. Combine chicken, sausage and seasonings in large pot and cover with chicken stock and/or water and cook over medium heat.  Add bay leaves.

In a separate pot, combine equal parts flour and butter. Make the roux by stirring butter and flour mixture over medium heat (stir constantly!) until the roux is the color of a dirty penny.

Add roux to the pot (until color is dark brown) and cook the gumbo until chicken is tender (about 2 hours). Season with salt and pepper to taste and add okra about half way through. (If using bone-in chicken, remove whole piece after they are tender, let cool and remove bones).

Right before serving, add filé (do not boil filé).

Serve over rice with sweet potato or potato salad and garlic bread on the side (Louisianans love to triple starch).

Enjoy with a glass of Montelena Zinfandel!

Me serving gumbo at the industry night.

Dining In The Valley: The New Napa Heavyweight

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While coming to Napa Valley has always been about the wine, top flight chefs are now finding their new home in “The Valley.”  Among my faves:  SolBar at Solage – Chef Brandon Sharp is a magician in the kitchen and it isn’t too expensive; Cindy’s comfort food at Cindy’s BackStreet Kitchen – don’t miss the duck burger and, not to mention, they have the best fries I’ve had since venturing over the Pond; Cook; Market; oh, and there’s Palisades Deli in Calistoga – where all of our staff goes for lunch!  And I haven’t even touched on those in the city of Napa…till next time.

Many are very “corkage” friendly.”    Call ahead…

SuperBowl Wrap-Up

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SuperBowl weekend brings many things to the forefront of our lives: a great sporting event, fun finger foods, parties with friends and family and, of course, the newest commercials. Normally, we fast-forward through the commercials to get back to our regularly-scheduled programming, but the SuperBowl is different – the commercials are part of the main event!  So this year, while enjoying unseasonably warm February weather (80 degrees!?), we sipped some Chateau Montelena Sauvignon Blanc with our  spicy chicken wings (an unusual but tasty pairing!) and soaked up the best commercials from the 2011 SuperBowl.  Our favorites, in no particular order:

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What was your favorite commercial of SuperBowl 2011?  And did you discover any unique food/wine pairings? We like those too.

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About Our Authors

George Blanckensee

An expert event planner and an avid basketball and sports fan, George can tell you about all the best off-the-beaten path eateries.

Kali Clark

A Napa Valley native, Kali returned to the area after a stint on the East Coast and can be found documenting the latest happenings at the Chateau. When not behind the camera, she likes to experiment in the kitchen, travel, and enjoy the outdoors

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