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: Just For Fun

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.

Meet The Cellar Crew – Gilberto Garcia

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Over the next few weeks I’m going to be highlighting our cellar crew.  These highly skilled behind-the-scenes workaholics keep production moving along, and make it look effortless.  Most of their time is spent doing work in the caves and the warehouse.  So I thought it was overdue getting them some face time.  Keep up the good work fellas!

This is Gilberto Garcia.  He is head of the cellar crew and has been with Montelena since 1989!  Gil’s an avid runner and may have zipped by you when hiking up Mt. Saint Helena.  He has a pan of roasted pork in one hand, and a glass of Montelena in the other.  Gil is always multitasking.  What, other than partying, is your favorite thing to do while drinking some wine?

Oscar Fever!

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I admit it;  I have Oscar fever.  I look forward to Awards Season every year – the glamour and the hype gets me every time.  Also, it’s not a bad excuse for a party!  Last night was no exception – I parked myself in front of the television with a few of my favorite people (and a few favorite wines) to watch the 83rd annual Academy Awards.  After months of movie-going and speculation, it’s exciting to see who takes home the big awards.  A few highlights from my house:

  • “The King’s Speech” was the biggest winner of the evening, taking home Best Actor, Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.  I loved it, but I was also secretly rooting for some of my other favorites of the past 12 months – “The Social Network” and “Toy Story 3.”
  • Aaron Sorkin gave a great acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay. “I’m going to have to demand some respect from your guinea pig.”
  • By the end of the night, I had maxed out my Netflix queue – “True, Grit”, “Inside Job” or “The Fighter”, anyone?
  • And lastly, you can’t have an Oscar post without mentioning the fashion; hands-down, my favorite look of the night was the always-impeccable Halle Berry.

If you tuned into the big show last night, what were your favorite moments from Oscar 2011?

Snow at Montelena?

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Thanks to  La Niña, we are experiencing quite the weather here in Calistoga.   Last week it snowed on Mt. St. Helena and closed Hwy 29 for a couple of days.  This week it’s chilly but sunny.  However come Friday evening there is a chance that it might snow again – down to the 500 foot level.   Which means we might have some snow at the winery.  Come out and visit us and warm up in the tasting room.

Who knows, you might see this when you visit this weekend.

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…

Happy President’s Day!

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Thomas Jefferson is perhaps best known as our third President, one of our Founding Fathers and author of the Declaration of Independence, but he was also an avid wine collector, wine connoisseur and is widely-recognized as the father of the Virgina wine country (did you know about Virginia wine country?).  He also became George Washington’s wine expert, while also serving as Secretary of State, and worked hard to keep the White House stocked with great wine from around the world.  If you ever get a chance to visit his Monticello Estate in Virginia, you’ll learn more about the former President’s love of wine and you may be surprised to discover a small vineyard planted on the Estate.

Jefferson truly believed that America was capable of producing the same quality of world-class wine that was coming out of Europe and he was an ardent supporter of the American wine industry.  Some 200 years later, wine is now produced in America in all 50 states and we are the fifth most-vine-planted country in the world.  We have some of the best wines in the world right in our backyard.  As Jefferson once remarked, “Good wine is a necessity of life for me.” We’ll drink to that!

Thomas Jefferson and WIne

photo courtesy of Appellation America

If you are enjoying the day off today in honor of our Presidents, say a little “Thank You” to Mr. Jefferson and toast with a glass of your favorite American wine.

Tell us, what’s in your glass this President’s Day holiday?

Happy Birthday, KC!

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*This post was written by our own Anne Banfield in honor of her friend Harry Casey’s recent birthday…

“Once in a while we have encounters with special people and the memories of such encounters stay with us forever.  A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of hosting Harry Casey, or ‘KC’, of KC and the Sunshine Band, and a couple of his closest friends.  The tasting was so much fun that it lasted much longer than planned, but none of us noticed.

Our Chardonnay became an instant favorite of KC’s that day, so it was no surprise, when some weeks back there was a call from one of his band members wanting to order a special bottle to commemorate his special birthday.  We took it a step further…. Our very own Bo Barrett hosted a short video to wish Harry a very happy birthday, and we are sharing it with you.

So once again Harry, a Very Happy Birthday to you from all of us at Chateau Montelena.  And remember, to keep yourself feeling young, one has to ‘shake, shake, shake’ on a regular basis!”

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2007 Zinfandel

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I’m tasting the 2007 Estate Zinfandel right now and thinking about how I’m going to miss this wine.  We’ll be releasing the 2008 vintage in March and the 2007 will be locked in the wine library.  With all of its bright red fruit, pepper and chocolate notes, the 2007 Zin is one of my favorites.  We should all buy a few more bottles before it goes away! 

I'm going to miss this wine...

Watch Us on Cantore Stories

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Check us out Thursday February 10 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Cantore Stories. Jim Cantore visited Chateau Montelena a few months ago and had a lot of fun with us. Let us know what you think.  We even captured him on video stomping out a little promo for his show.

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Jim Cantore with Master Winemaker Bo Barrett

The Montelena Family

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Family – It is a warm word and an important one to me. I have had the fortune to work in this wonderful industry for over thirteen years and an even greater fortune to be here at Chateau Montelena for the last six. In fact that is one of the reasons why I came to Chateau Montelena. I wanted to work for a family. Some place where you are addressed by your name not your employee number. Some place where you can make a difference.

This winery is my home away from home. A home with great people. And of course fantastic wine!

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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