Last week, Vineyard Manager Dave Vella hosted Viticulture student Lynn Pedone for an educational visit, tour and tasting at the winery. If you’ve ever met Dave, you know what a hilarious and engaging personality he has – it’s no surprise that he was the highlight of Lynn’s visit. He’s also incredibly knowledgeable about our unique land at Montelena as he’s been managing the vineyard activities since 1985. To learn more about Lynn’s visit with Dave, read her full blog post at The Grape Grower.
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?
Are you a CellarMaster member? If so, here is an additional benefit that you might not be aware of when visiting the tasting room – specialized tasting catered to club members and their guests only. Enjoy your tasting of library wines and an exclusive club wine with other club members in a private setting. All paired with bite size food, (cheese and charcuterie).
These tastings are by appointment only and are offered Thursday through Sunday. Please contact one of our Club representatives at 800-222-7288 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information or to reserve your spot.
New feature offered up on our website is awesome. It helps you find out where you can buy our wines in your location in just a few seconds! It’s updated fairly often, so you should get accurate info… Now, there’s no excuse why you can’t find our wine!
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.
Have you tasted these wines yet? Share your thoughts with us. If not, which wine do you hope to get your hands on first?
A few of us here at Montelena decided to get a head start on Mardi Gras (which is Tuesday, by-the-way) with a little pre-Gras jambalaya and real New Orleans king cake on Thursday. My co-worker, Anne (who is from Maine, not Louisiana) cooked up the jambalaya and my uncle Troy overnighted a Gambino’s king cake from New Orleans. Thursday was a great day to work at Montelena!
What are your plans for Mardi Gras?
Over the next few weeks I’m going to be highlighting our cellar crew. These highly skilled behind-the-scenes workaholics keep production moving along, and make it look effortless. Most of their time is spent doing work in the caves and the warehouse. So I thought it was overdue getting them some face time. Keep up the good work fellas!
This is Gilberto Garcia. He is head of the cellar crew and has been with Montelena since 1989! Gil’s an avid runner and may have zipped by you when hiking up Mt. Saint Helena. He has a pan of roasted pork in one hand, and a glass of Montelena in the other. Gil is always multitasking. What, other than partying, is your favorite thing to do while drinking some wine?
While many have asked how this cold affects our vineyards, rest assured they’re in a nice, hibernating slumber, so let Mr. Frost do his worst! In another month when bud-break begins is when the frost can be dangerous and the cold temperatures can damage the vines. That’s when poor Dave Vella, our tireless vineyard manager, sleeps with alarms by his bed to alert him when the temperature drops to 35 degrees. When it does, he wakes up, heads into the vineyard and fires up the fans and smudge pots to heat the vines because the temperature is too low!
In the meantime, stay warm, dry, and snuggle up with a good glass of red wine to warm up the soul.
I admit it; I have Oscar fever. I look forward to Awards Season every year – the glamour and the hype gets me every time. Also, it’s not a bad excuse for a party! Last night was no exception – I parked myself in front of the television with a few of my favorite people (and a few favorite wines) to watch the 83rd annual Academy Awards. After months of movie-going and speculation, it’s exciting to see who takes home the big awards. A few highlights from my house:
- “The King’s Speech” was the biggest winner of the evening, taking home Best Actor, Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. I loved it, but I was also secretly rooting for some of my other favorites of the past 12 months – “The Social Network” and “Toy Story 3.”
- Aaron Sorkin gave a great acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay. “I’m going to have to demand some respect from your guinea pig.”
- By the end of the night, I had maxed out my Netflix queue – “True, Grit”, “Inside Job” or “The Fighter”, anyone?
- And lastly, you can’t have an Oscar post without mentioning the fashion; hands-down, my favorite look of the night was the always-impeccable Halle Berry.
If you tuned into the big show last night, what were your favorite moments from Oscar 2011?
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
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.