November 19, 2010, by: Stephen George
We at Montesquieu Winery believe in equal opportunity at the wine table. We’ll taste — and, if warranted, fall in love with — wine from any region, not just those with centuries of pedigree. Even so, we do have a few favorites, regions that rarely fail to thrill and intrigue, and keep you coming back again and again. Near the top of that list? The Northern Rhone.
Why so? Putting aside the unusually high delicious factor of its wines, the Northern Rhone has a knack for romance, class and old-world luxury, all of which we’re suckers for. The famed region is situated at the center of what is the most privileged swath of vineyards in the world. At the north of this strip is Burgundy, home to the best Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gamay on earth. At the southernmost tip on the Mediterranean coast is Bandol, the international gold-standard for Mourvèdre, and then moving northward, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which produces unparalleled Grenache-based wines. And nestled in between these prestigious bookends – some 30 miles south of Beaujolais and 35 miles north of the Southern Rhone – lie the legendary vineyards of the Northern Rhone.
Our favorite Northern Rhone winemaker, Greg Viennois, climbing up Hermitage hill
The eight AOCs that make up the Northern Rhone – Cote Rotie, Condrieu, Chateau Grillet, St. Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Cornas and St. Péray (from north to south) – run along a 45-mile stretch of the Rhone River from Vienne to Valence, with most of the vineyards planted on the river’s stunningly steep western banks. Many of the vineyards – especially those in the Cote Rotie, Hermitage, and Condrieu – are so treacherous that machine-harvesting is literally impossible, and even the most basic of viticultural tasks involve feats of acrobatics. The views from these vineyards are dizzying, and some of the most beautiful one can find in the world of wine. View Full Post
November 17, 2010, by: Stephen George
They say that laws are like sausages – you don’t want to see them being made. That old adage seems a simplistic banality. But when you witness firsthand the process that gave birth to the saying, you can’t help being struck by the messy impurities that drive much proposed legislation.
The H.R. 5034 Saga
Sadly, the most recent development in the H.R. 5034 saga offers a prime example of this unseemly side of the political system. As you probably know, H.R. 5034, or the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act (the “CARE Act” for short, which feels like some sort of bad joke), is a bill proposed by the wine, beer and spirits wholesaler industry and its allies in Congress. View Full Post
November 15, 2010, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
Welcome to our blog—Montesquieu Wine Lovers! We hope you visit often and become part of our community as we provide a forum to explore the wonderful world of wine.
Who We Are
Montesquieu Winery is a full-service winery/importer/retailer that sources top quality wines from all over the world, bringing them directly to our clients—all individual wine lovers just like you. We are extremely discriminating, choosing to work mainly with boutique, family-owned, organically-farmed vineyards whose wines reflect unique terroir and local culture. Our buying and winemaking team brings to the table remarkable talent and experience in the industry: world-renowned winemaker-consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt, our winemaker Hélène Mingot, and our Co-founder and President Fonda Hopkins.
Our in-house wine brokers are passionate connoisseurs of all things vinous, working on a personalized, one-on-one basis to get to know their clients’ tastes and needs intimately—and they also consult on cellaring, food pairing, and other key components of a well-rounded wine experience. Our clients are wine lovers from all over the United States.
What We Do
We relish making and finding hidden gems, wines that are usually not available in the U.S. and which are often at the cutting edge of nascent stylistic trends in the industry. We import small lots of unique wines made and bottled by independent producers that we have discovered through our teams’ extensive relationships in Europe, South America and beyond. In many cases we are able to work with the producers from the beginning of a wine’s life, even assisting in the selection of ideal vineyard plots to craft into wines specifically for our clients. Domestically we produce our own wines from some of the most fascinating terroir on the West Coast. The wines we craft — always in tiny quantities — come from premium juice carefully sourced from top growers as well as grapes from blocks we lease on some of the most renowned vineyard sites in Napa and Sonoma. Our on-the-ground winemaker, Hélène, works out of a state-of-the-art winemaking facility high up on Howell Mountain. (For further detail on what we do and why, take a look at the FAQ page on our website.)
What We Believe
That wine is essential to the art of living. That wine, along with food and the arts, is a beautiful way to elevate one’s quality of life. That your own journey and preferences and experiences are the crucial factors in wine appreciation, rather than the whims of critics or the tyranny of ratings. That wine is a glorious paradox—both simple and profound, the product of both man’s creativity and nature’s whimsy. That eliminating the middle-man in wine distribution and connecting you more closely with the hands and the land that made the wine result in a richer appreciate of wine and its arts. That the good life is nothing less than savoring fine wine at a table shared with friends and family. And that helping fellow wine lovers enhance their quality of life through the appreciation and enjoyment of wine is well worth doing, and worth doing well.
Our mission is to share the stories that animate the world of wine in order to inspire, educate, and challenge like-minded wine enthusiasts. Through this blog, we wish to engage, connect with and learn from those who, like us, are passionate about drinking, discovering, and appreciating intriguing, delicious wine. We hope you join us in this journey!