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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: Wines

New Connecticut Distributor

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We’re pleased to announce that Slocum & Sons is now distributing our wines in Connecticut!

John Slocum and Bo Barrett

John Slocum and Bo Barrett

For more information, visit our distributors page.

2010 Riesling; Killer

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Have you ever tried our Riesling?  If so, hopefully you can back up my blog. If not, you’re missing something special. When we do have it in stock (only about 1600 cases made; sold out in December), we have it in our tasting room lineup for tasting.  A lot of people see our flight, and say, “you know, let’s just skip the Riesling.”  After insisting they try, 9 out of 10 are amazingly surprised!  It’s not the sweet, boring wine that gave Riesling a bad rap over the past 30 years.   Germany, France, Austria, and even Australia have been making some wonderful off-dry Rieslings the rest of the world has appreciated far more than us Americans.

Well, mark your calendars!  We release the 2010 Riesling in May, and after previewing it, this stuff is gonna fly out of our tasting room. The good news: we made more. The bad news: only 300 cases.

You can get the Riesling: at the Chateau, if you’re a club member, from some of our select restaurant and hotel accounts, or at our tasting room at the St. Francis in San Francisco.  Perfect Summer wine (assuming we have a “normal” warm Summer here!); don’t let the initial press on 2010 as a vintage fool you.  More on that next week.

Sneak Peak: Franc&Blanc

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We’re really looking forward to our upcoming #Franc&Blanc party, here at the winery, on June 25th.  What’s not to love about delicious wine, fantastic food, great music and plenty of entertaining games?!  We can barely contain our excitement.  We’re encouraging guests to wear red (franc) or white (blanc) to declare their wine preference, but we’re also encouraging guests to dress up with fun props, let loose and have fun in our photobooth.  The event is still a few months away, but Nyk is already getting ready for his close-up:

What’s your favorite part of a party?  The food?  The drinks?  The games?  Tell us what makes an awesome party.


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


New Digs in SF

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If you can’t make it all the way to Calistoga to see us, come check us out in the historic lobby of the Westin St. Francis on Union Square in the City!  We’re there representing the Chateau on behalf of the hotel Wednesdays through Saturdays, 1pm-8pm.  Say “hi” to Jenn or Ryan, our Chateau Associates, who are there pouring all the good stuff.

…and, if you buy a bottle, you can take it to the Oak Room Restaurant with no corkage!  (and don’t pass up on their 3 course prixe fixe menu; if you do the simple math, you’ve made out like a bandit…)

2007 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

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The 2007 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is finally here!  We released the wine on March 1st and sent it to many club members this past week.  And although the 2007 Estate Cabernet will only get better with time, I know at least a few of you out there couldn’t wait to crack a bottle open.  If you did, please let us know what you think.

How is the 2007 Estate Cabernet?

Words From Our Winemaker

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With the recent release of our two new Estate wines, we caught up with Winemaker Cameron Parry to get his take on each of the wines.  Take a look at the videos below for a little insider information on our 2007 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and our 2008 Montelena Estate Zinfandel.

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Have you tasted these wines yet?  Share your thoughts with us.  If not, which wine do you hope to get your hands on first?


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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.

Bill Hanna

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This is Bill Hanna.  He grows some of the chardonnay grapes that go into our wonderful Chard.  In fact, no less than 33% of every vintage of our Napa Chardonnay is made up of Bill’s fruit.  The Hannas have been part of the Montelena family since 1972.  Keep up the good work Bill!

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?

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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