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Category Archives: Wines

The Gloomy Days of May

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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.

What’s Your Patio Wine?

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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?

A Symbol of Montelena History in Auction Napa Valley

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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?

What’s your favorite vintage?

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Recently I’ve had quite a few people ask me what is my favorite vintage of Montelena Estate Cabernet.

One of the great things about working at Montelena is that, as an employee, I’ve gotten a chance to taste almost ever vintage of Estate Cabernet since we started making it in 1978. I’ve definitely tasted all the way back to 1983 and I think I’ve tried a few of the even older ones as well. And, when I tell people this, they always ask me which one is my favorite. My gut response is that they are all great wines. But, I do have to admit that I have a few favorites – vintages that I think are truly exceptional. So far, my two favorite vintages are the 1998 and the 2002; in my opinion, these are the best wines we’ve made. But, I also always wonder, what you think.

What is your favorite vintage of Montelena Estate Cabernet? I would love to know.

Dave Hosts Jeremy Irons

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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.

Dave Vella and Jeremy Irons

Music Pairing with Wines?

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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.

#Chardonnay Day

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Mark your calendars for a grand, online celebration on May 26, 2011!  It’s that time of year again – the day that we celebrate all things #Chardonnay (and it’s just 2 days after the 35th anniversary of the 1976 Paris Tasting).  You can participate in the online conversation by Facebooking, Tweeting, blogging, tumbling or using any other form of social media with the hashtag #Chardonnay.  Share fun facts about your favorite Chardonnay, taste virtually with your online friends or ask questions to learn more about this wonderful wine.

And if you happen to be in our neck of the woods, be sure to check-in to the winery on Foursquare, Yelp or Facebook to redeem special offers for winetastings.

Chateau Montelena Chardonnay

Life of a Vine

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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.

Life of a Vine Part 1

Life of a Vine Part 2

Life of a Vine Part 3

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?

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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