January 31, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
Napa Valley, California Tuesday February 1, 2011
Stéphane Derenoncourt, recently called the “world’s hottest winemaker” by Wine Spectator, and Montesquieu Winery Founder and CEO Fonda Hopkins announced plans today to unveil the highly anticipated 2007 Derenoncourt California collection of wines, the second vintage from the world-renowned winemaker’s California venture. Acclaimed by critics and enthusiasts alike, these six single-vineyard wines were handcrafted in tiny quantities from miniscule parcels on some of Napa’s most prestigious vineyards, each selected by Stéphane for its unique capacity to reflect Napa’s distinctive terroir.
Stéphane Derenoncourt in Napa Valley
The premiere of these wines will be celebrated by a release dinner and charity fundraiser on March 3, 2011 at Twist by Pierre Gagnaire (the lone restaurant in America where one can experience the Michelin three-star chef’s inventive cuisine) perched on the 23rd floor of the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas. All six of the 2007 Derenoncourt wines will be poured with a six-course menu specially created by the chef to complement the wines. View Full Post
January 26, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
Montesquieu Winery has been working with Stéphane for years, and deeply respects his far-reaching talents. It was his understanding of terroir, and sensitive application of this understanding, that was a big part of what inspired our CEO Fonda Hopkins to work closely with Stéphane.
As one of the world’s foremost experts on terroir, Stéphane was asked several years ago to contribute his thoughts on the subject for the book “Terroir & the Winegrower” by Jacky Rigaux.
His insight is timeless and provocative, and worthy of extended reflection. So we’ve shared it with you here. The following is an excerpt from the chapter titled “Terroir” by Stéphane Derenoncourt.
“Terroir is a unique word which cannot be translated into any other language. There are no technical or rational definitions to account for it. As far as terroir is concerned, we are in the realm of life. From the outset, the many interacting parameters conjure up the notion of complexity. View Full Post
December 16, 2010, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
As many of you know, we at Montesquieu Winery have had the good fortune of working with some of the top vintners around the globe. Our network of winemakers here on the home front isn’t bad either, especially when you consider the woman who highlights that group — none other than the legendary Mrs. Heidi Peterson Barrett.
Over the past two years, we’ve been able to secure for our clients a prime selection of highly coveted wines made by Heidi, the once and future “Queen of Napa Valley.” Through venerable wines such as Amuse Bouche, Revana and several vintages of Vin Perdu 5-liter Jeroboams, our clients seem to have fallen head-over-heels for Heidi and her ability to create wines with power and expression, while at the same time managing seamless balance and elegance no matter the varietal. Without a doubt Heidi Barrett is one of the most gifted vintners of her generation.
If you love California wine, you know that Heidi Barrett’s reputation precedes her — to put it mildly. Robert Parker has called her the “First Lady of Wine”, and it’s no wonder, as the “Cult Cab” revolution will be forever tied to Heidi and her ultra-rare wines from the early 1990s. She’s responsible for the success of some of California’s most notable labels, including Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle “Maya”, and Grace Family Vineyards, among others.
Talent aside, perhaps Heidi’s best trait is her passion as a winemaker. It’s infectious, and when we met her at a wine auction in Napa, there was instant synergy — we share her appreciation of the artistic nature of grape-growing and winemaking, as well as her commitment to bringing wine lovers the very best from the vine.
Those shared values led us to a private al fresco dinner hosted by Heidi atop Atlas Peak, where we dined among the vines of Au Sommet Vineyard and tasted several of her upcoming releases. The conversation around the table forged a deeper bond between us, bringing with it the prospects of collaborating on something special.
We’re thrilled to announce that that vision has now become a reality with our release of the 2007 Montesquieu Dynamene Syrah, a wine crafted by Heidi exclusively for our clients. View Full Post
November 29, 2010, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
It’s hard to identify the single most important feature of a great winery. But there’s no question that having a really talented winemaker makes the short list.
At Montesquieu Winery, we’re fortunate that our winemaker, Hélène Mingot, not only can navigate California’s wine-growing regions with aplomb, but also possesses a wealth of experience in winemaking in Europe — which is essential to Montesquieu’s global approach to wine appreciation.
Montesquieu Winemaker Hélène Mingot
Raised in the idyllic Loire Valley, a center of fine wine production in France, Hélène seemed destined from the beginning to excel in the world of wine.
She earned a Master of Science degree at the School of Agriculture in Angers, with a Vine and Wine major. Following these studies, Hélène spent a year in Bordeaux working in a lab, testing new strains of yeast for wines and conducting research. Although she found the scientific aspect “educational,” and she proved skilled in her endeavors, Hélène realized that she preferred actual winemaking over research. So she set her sights on winemaking and soon became one of only two people selected from the science arena to attend the Agronomy National School of Toulouse, where she received the French National Diploma of Oenology.
Early in her career, Hélène met renowned winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, whose
commitment to terroir expression and sensitive handling of vines and grapes has deeply influenced her own approach to vineyard-tending and winemaking. View Full Post