A New Miracle to Save Africa: Michel Rolland and Montesquieu Winery Join Forces to Turn Wine to Water

September 6, 2012, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi


September 6, 2012, Yountville, CA – Confronted with a water crisis in drought-stricken Ethiopia, renowned winemakers are responding with a miracle of their own making: turning wine to water.

Montesquieu Winery has partnered with Doc Hendley, founder of Wine to Water, and winemakers Bob Levy and Martha McClellan to turn several hundred magnums of Napa Valley Meritage into clean water for over 12,000 people in Ethiopia’s Dale region. And now, Montesquieu and Hendley have launched a project with famous enologist Michel Rolland that allows wine lovers to help tens of thousands more, simply by enjoying great wine. View Full Post

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The Evolution of Syrah: The Cool Climate Shift

July 25, 2012, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

Cool-Climate Syrah

Syrah is not known as a shy varietal. It is known for its strength, thick skin, and the ability to thrive almost anywhere, and as such is commonly referred to as the “growers varietal”. With this in mind, it is not surprising that Syrah has become increasingly popular, and is now estimated to be the seventh most widely planted varietal in the world.

Part of Syrah being adaptable to grow most anywhere yields the characteristic of producing wines that vary widely according to the climate, terroir and viticultural practices of the particular vineyard. It has been said that the varietal has experienced an “identity crisis” amongst consumers because of this wide variation, plus the unfortunate flooding of the market with generic Syrah with little character.

Additionally when Syrah in the United States was beginning to take off, many American critics were awarding their highest scores to very powerfully extracted wines, including Australian Shiraz with this over-the-top profile that was popular at the time. Many American Syrah producers, seeking approval of the critics, emulated this jammy, intense style.

Many feel what happened was the loss of character at higher ripeness levels which became more important than sense of place, or distinctiveness. Over time, with growers gaining more and more experience with various vineyard locations and climates, we have seen an emerging trend in the industry toward cool-climate Syrah. View Full Post

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What’s Cooking with Montesquieu Wine: Recipes and Pairings for Memorial Day and Summer

May 24, 2012, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

Memorial Day Red, White and Blue Fruit Cups photo from the Food Network

We’ve celebrated the Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, various graduation ceremonies—and now Memorial Day will wrap up this eventful month! We’d like to share some recipes and pairings that are fantastic for this popular BBQ holiday, as well as any other occasion you may have this summer where a great recipe and delicious wine to pair it with comes in handy.

Whether you are hosting the get-together or bringing a dish to one, these creations are easy to prepare, full of fresh seasonal flavors and each paired with a wine that complements the dish. Note: If you don’t have the exact Montesquieu wine, pair with a similar one taking into consideration varietal, region, style, etc.

No matter how you celebrate we at Montesquieu Winery wish you all a very Happy Memorial Day!

Starting Things Off To begin with we have the ever-popular and super-easy Caprese salad. For a fun summer twist this recipe is served on petite skewers, which make for a clever presentation and the skewers are easy to manage for casual al fresco dining.

A delicious pairing with this salad is the 2008 Amura Leyda Valley Sauvignon Blanc. This cool-climate Chilean charmer has just the right vibrant acidity with nectarine, citrus and pomelo to lift the flavors around the delicate cheese. An alternative would be other cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc such as Sancerre. View Full Post

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Mother’s Day Gifts for Wine Lovers by Montesquieu Winery

May 9, 2012, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

As we get set to celebrate Mother’s Day, the following gift ideas are especially nice for wine lovers— sure to bring a smile and may be enjoyed all year. All of us at Montesquieu Winery wish mothers everywhere a most Happy Mother’s Day!

Unique wine accessories make festive gifts. Some fun ideas include flower wine glass charms, wine bottle stoppers or bottle bags or totes, all which may be used throughout the year. Present with a bottle (or more!) of mom’s favorite wine for a lovely and delicious presentation. Candle holders (like the one pictured below) designed to fit the neck of a wine bottle are a fun way to remember a special bottle—just insert, add a candle and voila!  For handmade bottle bags and totes see Etsy, and for more artsy wine charms see 47 Gems. View Full Post

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What’s Cooking With Montesquieu Wines: Three Simple and Delicious Spring Recipes With Wines

April 21, 2012, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

Chinese Chicken Salad with Spicy Ginger Dressing by Giao Trac

Spring is in full swing—the perfect time to share some simple and delicious recipes, paired with some of our favorite Montesquieu wines. We hope you enjoy these spring-inspired delights, enjoy!

Chinese Chicken Salad with Spicy Ginger Dressing
Recipe adapted from original by Giao Trac of  Kiss My Spatula

Serves 2

You may also substitute the chicken with grilled tofu, shrimp or any protein of your liking.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Ingredients
1 boneless chicken breast, skin removed
1 medium-sized Napa (or Savoy) cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, shredded
1 small tomato, thinly sliced
1 mango, thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 tbsp. roasted sesame seeds
handful of fresh mint, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
handful of roasted peanuts

Spicy Ginger Dressing

Ingredients
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preparation
To poach chicken, place the breast in a small saucepan and add water, about 1 inch above the chicken. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiled, immediately lower heat to a very slow simmer and partly cover for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the chicken to cook in hot water for another 15 minutes. Once cooled, shred chicken and set aside.

If you prefer grilling or barbecue, use boneless and skinless chicken thighs instead, lightly brushed with vegetable oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the spicy ginger dressing.

Add the cabbage, chicken, carrots, tomato, mint and cilantro to the large bowl and toss gently. Top with mango slices and roasted peanuts. Garnish with scallions and roasted sesame seeds, and serve immediately.

Pair with our 2009 Symmetria, a California blend of Viognier, Roussane and Marsanne or our 2009 Hammel Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley.

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How to Taste Wine Like a Professional with Montesquieu Winery: Building Confidence with 5 Simple Steps

April 12, 2012, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

Stéphane Derenoncourt immersed in tasting Cheval Blanc

Many believe that accomplished wine tasters are a rare breed with special abilities. However, wine tasting involves skills that contrary to popular belief are not difficult to master. Follow these five steps and in no time you will be tasting wine like a confident professional.

Before we get started it is important to point out that each experience varies as everyone’s taste buds are different—the array, type and how many you have. Thresholds and tolerances differ regarding sweetness, acidity, tannins and such, as well as our perceptions of what we are sensing based on our previous experiences and preferences.

A successful wine tasting provides the opportunity to focus on the wines at hand, which in other settings are often consumed quickly with many distractions. Pay close attention, as every wine tells a different story. Each experience is a building block, a sensory experience that will add to your collective foundation, giving depth and breadth to your journey.  This is the joy of tasting wine! View Full Post

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The Montesquieu Winemaking Experience

March 28, 2012, by: Stephen George

Our barrel room

Montesquieu Winery has long been committed not only to sourcing and crafting for our clients some of the finest wines in the world, but also to offering our clients a unique experience of the good life. In all that we do, we seek to champion the value of direct relationships and the joy of personal experience. After all, what else is great wine about?

It is with this in mind that we designed The Montesquieu Winemaking Experience. For the first time, we are offering our clients the opportunity to experience what it means to be a winemaker in Napa Valley. A limited number of clients will have an opportunity to purchase an entire barrel of our best 2010 wine (approximately 25 cases) to call their own – to name, brand, label and even blend in person in Napa with their broker under the guidance of our winemaker Hélène Mingot. View Full Post

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Montesquieu Winery Explores Port and the Douro Valley

March 22, 2012, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

DOC Vineyards along the Douro River

The Douro Valley in Portugal is rich in history, romance and stunning scenery, and is home to one of the most distinctive wines in the wine world—Port. This fortified wine is revered for its ability to age as well as having an unequaled range of flavor and style profiles, which makes Port a valuable addition to any well-rounded wine cellar. Every wine tells a story, and the story of Port is quite unique!

The History of Douro and Port
Declared a World Heritage Site in 2001, archaeological finds date winemaking in the Douro back to Roman times. However the development of fortified Port wine occurred during the second half of the 17th century. In 1678 Britain declared war on France and blockaded French ports, and in doing so created a wine shortage in England. In 1703 Britain and Portugal signed the Methuen Treaty that established the supply of cloth from England in exchange for Port wine, among other things. View Full Post

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A Tale of Two Terroirs: Montesquieu Winery Debuts Derenoncourt California Lot for Premiere Napa Valley 2012

February 23, 2012, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

Stéphane Derenoncourt and Montesquieu CEO Fonda Hopkins, Ink Grade

Today marked the beginning of the 16th Annual Premiere Napa Valley Auction, which is one of the most exciting events of the year in Napa, where the most influential members of the wine industry from all over the country and the globe—including vintners, retailers, brokers, distributors, media and restaurant owners—gather to experience the very best and most innovative wines from our country’s leading appellation. It is a whirlwind weekend of events, starting with seminars and tastings, and culminating in the grand finale—a barrel tasting and live auction on Saturday February 25 at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena.

In previous years, we have been fortunate to be one of the auction’s most active bidders—however this year is special. We are not only attending the seminars, tastings and auction, but unveiling our first-ever lot—A Tale of Two Terroirs by Stéphane Derenoncourt—5 cases of 2010 Derenoncourt California Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain. View Full Post

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Pierre’s Little Piece of Paradise

February 15, 2012, by: Stephen George

Pierre Bernault with his windmills

Pierre Bernault with his windmills

Anyone who knows much about winemaking knows that the romantic stereotype of life in the vines is just that – a stereotype. Winemaking can be romantic, of course; but it can also be risky and fraught with uncertainty. After all, Mother Nature has a long history of being a fickle master.

Consider Pierre Bernault, owner of an ancient chateau and plot of vines in Montagne Saint Emilion where he and Stéphane Derenoncourt craft Montesquieu Winery’s Moulin du Paradis blend: “You can lose an entire year’s income by surprise in the course of three weeks because of weather,” says Pierre. “But I like to take risks.” View Full Post

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