Category Archives: Winery News
No, not referring to “The Rapture,” nor am I referring to The Governator’s Hollywood glory days; I’m talking about the famous day in Paris, 35 years ago today, when a few “kids from the sticks” beat the French at their own game. A tasting set up by Steven Spurrier, in Paris at the Intercontinental Hotel, made history when George Taber, a journalist for Time Magazine, documented this tasting. A group of judges, all French, and in esteemed professions in the food and wine industry, blindly picked the 1973 Chardonnay over the pack, including some top flight white Burgundies.
Not saying the French don’t make good wines. On the contrary, they are truly world class. What I am saying, and what this tasting showed, was that they’re not the only ones anymore!
Join me in a toast tonight, as we honor an important milestone in American history, with a glass of Chardonnay; and make it California…
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!
….or, more accurately, on the vine.
These pictures of Montelena’s ‘A’ block of Cabernet Sauvignon, planted in 1973, were taken this afternoon, Sunday, May 22. Note the baby grape bunches on the vine. In a couple of more weeks, these bunches will flower. Compare these pictures to the pictures of the same block during bud break (see my blog from April 4th) to see how fast the vineyards have changed in the last six weeks.
Ok, so who said Summer is around the corner clearly is not living in Northern California! Wet, cold, and snow in Tahoe still? Just when you thought it was time to hang up the snowboards and break out the Cargo shorts, hold on there.
So the question is, will this affect 2011 harvest? I asked the experts (our dynamic duo of winemaker Cam Parry and his assistant, Matt Crafton), who gave me the assessment that bloom hasn’t happened yet, so we’re still good. Check back in two weeks…
We can all take a collective sigh of relief for now, and appreciate the respite from one of the worst hay fever seasons in years as the rain washes down some of those nasty nose irritants.
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 http://francnblanc.eventbrite.com/ to get your tickets and more information. Why not?
We love our Chateau. It defines us in so many ways, and over time we have put it on mouse pads and coffee cups, temporary tattoos (called “Chattoos”), shirts and hats, trivets and coasters – the latter two items very popular sellers in our tasting room. Some years back, a toy train manufacturer now out of business asked permission to use it on a box car. We agreed. It has become a collector’s item. Any ideas for the next placement of our logo?
Now that we’re in the second week of May, the sunshine is coming out of hibernation and we’re entering “patio season” when the warmer temperatures beg for refreshingly cool wines. The longer days mean I can come home, sit on the patio and relax while enjoying a glass (or two, let’s be honest) of one of my favorite summer whites – sauvignon blanc – as I unwind from the day and catch up with some of my favorite people. These days, I just want to stock up on all the the light, refreshing wines that I can get my hands on! I call them “patio wines” because these are the wines that make patio-sipping so enjoyable and usually bring about great memories. Very soon, we’ll be releasing our own 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc which will likely become the summer wine for my house in 2011. If you’re curious to taste it, we’ll be pouring it for a patio party of our own on June 25th. So tell me, what’s the beverage that you stock up on so you can enjoy it all summer long?
Vintage 2007 of our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon represents the 30th bottling of the wine that fulfills Jim Barrett’s vision for excellence in winemaking. We thought it appropriate to offer a complete horizontal, six sizes from 375ml to 6 Liter, in the E-Auction of Auction Napa Valley coming up in early June. Each bottle is signed by Jim Barrett, and by Master Winemaker Bo Barrett. A cool add-on is that the case holding all the wine is constructed with reclaimed redwood removed during the renovation of the Private Residence in the Chateau. You can view the lot description here. One lucky bidder will get this treasure. Do you think we should make more for sale here at the winery? What do you think the auction lot will go for?
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.
Recently, the famous actor Jeremy Irons visited us as part of a British documentary project. Who was the lucky guy that hosted him? Our own Dave Vella, because the whole subject of the upcoming feature is about sustainability, and Dave is our resident guru on that subject. Catch Jeremy Irons on the current Showtime series “The Borgias” – catch Dave and Jeremy Irons on camera in a future Blenheim Films documentary about sustainable farming – we’ll let you know when the film is released.