Well, after a week of February weather capped off with a couple of inches of rain over the weekend, the sun is finally coming out! Maybe, just maybe, summer is on its way? We can only hope….
We’ve been experiencing some unpredictable and wet weather in the last few weeks in our little town of Calistoga. With major construction projects in the works for our Chateau and the courtyard outside it, all of this rain has forced us to delay some larger projects and set our timeline-for-completion back by a few months. As a result, we’ve had to make the very difficult decision to cancel Franc&Blanc and reschedule for next year. By next spring, we’ll have a renovated, state-of-the-art cellar, the weather will have improved and we’ll be looking forward to letting loose to enjoy the party. Stay tuned as we work on planning the party of the year for 2012.
- The Montelena Family
Chateau Montelena Sauvignon Blanc deserves an ideal companion for pairing. Fresh lime, aromatic herbs, and shellfish compliment the bright palate and crisp finish of this varietal. For me, it’s a light lunch or first course of Bodega Bay Crab Vietnamese Spring Rolls. Our 2009 Sauvignon Blanc has a great acidity that champions both the citrus and the crunch in these delectable fresh rolls! No worries if you’re too far from Bodega – any fresh crabmeat rocks this dish, and so does shrimp. You can omit protein altogether for a veggie version-try adding sliced avocado! I use a spicy peanut sauce for dipping, but any Asian-inspired sauce (mango, lemon, or other prepared sauces) can boost your own kitchen creativity. These rolls take less than 30 minutes to make and plate if you have your ingredients prepped – but you do need to prepare them within 90 minutes of serving. Like sushi rolls, they will get soggy if you try to make them too far ahead.* The good news? Nutritious, delicious, low cal and a perfect match-up for our Chateau Montelena Sauvignon Blanc!
Serves 4 as a light lunch or 8 as an appetizer (makes 8 rolls)
- 1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
- 3/4 cup carrots, fine julienne
- 1/4 cup green onions, fine julienne
- ½ English cucumber, fine julienne
- ¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro, reserve whole leaves for garnish
- ¼ cup snipped fresh mint, reserve whole leaves for garnish
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 8 8-inch round spring roll wrappers
- 8 ounces fresh or frozen crab claw meat
- Prepared peanut sauce for dipping
- Juice of 1 lime
- For filling, in a large bowl combine cabbage, carrots, green onions, cucumber, cilantro and mint. Dissolve the sugar in the rice vinegar; combine with soy sauce. Toss lightly with the vegetables to coat.
- For the dipping sauce: in a small bowl stir together 1/2 cup of peanut sauce and juice of one lime; season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Place 1 cup of luke-warm water in a shallow dish. As you prepare each roll, dip each wrapper in warm water for 7-10 seconds until limp (as a cooked lasagna noodle). Place on damp dish towel for filling and rolling. Don’t over-soak; they will tear or rip if over-soaked.
- Center 1/3 cup of filling about 1 inch from bottom edge of one of the moistened spring roll wrappers. Top with 2 tablespoons crab meat. Driizzle with a bit of dipping sauce. Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper over the filling. Fold in sides. Gently, roll up tightly as you would a burrito, keeping filling snug. Repeat with remaining filling and spring roll wrappers. Cut in half on a diagonal; serve with dipping sauce. *Do-ahead tip: Prep all the veggies as early as the night before and submerge in ice water; drain well on paper towels before assembling the rolls.
Well, you get down the fiddle and you get down the bow,
Kick off your shoes and you throw ‘em on the floor.
Dance in the kitchen ’til the morning light:
Louisiana Saturday night…….
Montelena’s Estate Zinfandel truly is a versatile wine!
Thanks to my sister Hannah for sending me this picture!
Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching. Besides flying our flag in rememberance of our fallen soldiers and those who continue to protect us, I plan to spend time with my family and friends. What weekend celebrations do you have planned?
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.
We’ve selected him as our winner to receive two VIP tickets to Franc&Blanc on June 25th. If you love this design, you’ll want to get your tickets to our summer party where there will be plenty more of Sean’s “Re-Imagined Chateau” for all party attendees to enjoy. Stay tuned…