Category Archives: Winery News
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.
Okay I am going to go out on a limb here but I think this is an interesting topic and I would love to hear from other wine folks. Music can be a big part of your life just like wine. It is a part of celebatory events, moments of solitude as well as times of focus during work, (working out, cleaning house, working on projects). Like wine, your choice in music depends on your mood and the event. I am curious if certain music enhances your wine experience? So here is a scenario:
You are on your weekend and decide to have a glass of Chateau Montelena and listen to music. What music do you gravitate to? And what Montelena wine do you drink?
Oh by the way - For those of you who have an iPhone, here is a link to a free app that does just that – pairs wine with music. The app is called Wine DJ. http://www.winedj.com/
Once a year, we close the winery to throw the party of all parties for our dedicated CellarMaster members. Always the third Saturday of May, so it will be on the 21st of this year, is our annual Movable Feast. As those lucky to attend last year will remember, the Modern/Cajun version of the Partridge Family, L’angelus, will be performing one more time. These young brothers and sisters act (yes, I had to card them last year) put on an amazing show; the attendees got up and danced, a Conga line formed, and some members showcased their true vocal talents (and yes, they were good); final round American Idol good; not midnight Karaoke at the local bar bad.
Food will be themed around the Cajun party; whole roasted pig, gumbo, crayfish, and much, much more. Oh yeah, plenty of Montelena wines, young and old, will be pouring a plenty as we celebrate our 35th anniversary of the famous Paris tasting of 1976. In our audience will be George Taber, author of Judgement in Paris, and sole journalist to witness and write about the famed tasting.
If you’re an eligible CellarMaster member, reserve now as it is limited, and will sell out. For those who didn’t, well, sign up to become a CellarMaster now and get ready for next year. After all, I’m tasked with making this party better and better each year!
And….if you didn’t get in this year, we’re throwing an open to the public event on June 25th. Check it out at www.francnblanc.com
If you read George’s recent post on the subject of vintage, you might be interested to see the entire vintage of 2007 – the current release of Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – through the “eyes” (as it were) of one particular vine. Life of a Vine presents a monthly summary, in three installments, of what actually transpired that year. Take a look.
A lot of us religiously read and watch what critics are saying about vintage quality. We already know that 2007 is a vintage of the decade, but if you look back 30 years, and if you have an opportunity to try wines of vintages that were not as highly touted, you should come to the conclusion that, as with all critics, their statements are broad based, and not addressing individual regions and wineries that may indeed have made some wonderful wines. “Shoulder” vintages, or years that precede or follow the superstar years are often overshadowed (how do you follow up an almost perfect vintage?!)
All I’m sayin’ is before you dismiss some of these vintages, do a little research, go taste some, and be your own judge. Yes, I am talking about 2010.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you aren’t already a club member, this is a great reason to join.
We hope to see you soon!
Here’s a wood rendition of our Chateau. It’s one of those collector’s items. Very creative little sculpture, if you ask us, fun to look at. It also got us thinking about our Re-Imagine the Chateau Contest and the inspired entries we have received so far (no sculptures, hint, hint). Why enter? Because you could win two free passes to our Franc&Blanc event here at the Chateau on June 25. We’re going to have fun – just for the fun of it. Of course you can buy tickets now, but if you are feeling extra creative enter the contest and if you win, bring two extra friends. Either way, we hope to see you here on June 25.
We’re pleased to announce that Slocum & Sons is now distributing our wines in Connecticut!
For more information, visit our distributors page.
Any true wine geeks out there? OK it’s a little long for our blog, but it’s one of the best summaries of what makes the Calistoga area (an official American Viticultural Area, or AVA) such a great place to grow wine grapes. This was written for a local journalist by winemaker Cameron Parry, and provides a link to the actual petition – authored by Bo Barrett – that led to government approval of the AVA. Here goes, hope you like it:
The Calistoga AVA has a lot of great sloping/hillside and higher elevation vineyards and the well recognized concentration that they bring, along with a relatively small amount of “flat” valley floor land. That valley floor land has a lot of alluvial influence, so even though it is flat, it is not that heavy – lots of stony, well drained soils. There are 3 different soil origins, and numerous classified soil types, which bring in a great complexity as well. But, it’s not just the dirt! One of the most defining features of the Calistoga AVA is the influence of Mt. St. Helena, which acts like an air pump: drawing air up (pulling cooler air in from the Knights Valley gap) during the day as the mountain warms, and sending cool air sliding down slope at night. This near constant air movement helps keep temperatures in check and reduces the mildew pressure. It also contributes to a large diurnal swing (as much as 40 degrees a day on a regular basis), which (without getting into too much grape physiology) helps preserve the natural acidity in the grapes resulting in wines with great balance, complexity, and longevity. Many people think that Calistoga is the hottest of the AVA’s in Napa, but in reality the hottest part of the valley is just north of St. Helena. The other often overlooked aspect of the Calistoga AVA is the orientation of the valley. Most of the Napa valley runs about 340°, but right around Larkmead Lane, the valley turns West by about 20-25°, running about 305°. The result is that the Calistoga AVA has a very different solar exposure than the rest of the valley. The result, here at Chateau Montelena, is that we see earlier ripening/earlier harvest dates than many other locations, which often means that all of our fruit is in before the fall rains. Somehow we also seem to have better solar capture even in the “difficult” years, meaning that we always get ripe fruit.
Much of this is outlined in the TTB petition that Bo wrote back in 2003, so that would be a great reference as well.