The Timeless Gift of Wine: Custom Etching by Montesquieu Winery

October 21, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

A lovely bottle of wine makes a great gift any time of year. As we approach the holidays, there are more occasions than ever to remember friends, family, clients and colleagues with that special gift. What we at Montesquieu Winery have found is that everyone gets especially excited about our etched bottles, and with good reason! Not only are the wines delicious, but the elegant custom designs create a lasting impression. View Full Post


Montesquieu Wine Featured on NBC’s Today Show

October 4, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

Last week the Today Show featured a delightful food pairing segment presented by Jessica Harnois, President of the Canadian Sommeliers Association.  Today Show co-host Hoda Kotb and guest Nick Lachey (Newlyweds, The Sing-Off) enjoyed various wines chosen by Jessica featuring recommended pairings.

Of the myriad wines from all over the world Jessica could have chosen, she selected only six wines to pair with various dishes. These wines included one wine by Stéphane Derenoncourt and one by Michel Rolland—both world-renowned winemakers that Montesquieu Winery has the privilege to work very closely with. View Full Post


Finding the Fountain of Youth: Montesquieu Winery’s Grand Cru Champagne

September 28, 2011, by: Stephen George

Cooperative President Jean-François Préau and Chef de Cave Hervé Dantan with Fonda Hopkins

Forgive us if we feel a bit like Ponce de Léon.

Over the past few years, we’ve been searching high and low for just the right opportunity to craft exclusively for our clients a Grand Cru Champagne that we can call our own.  The winegrowers had to be of the highest level, showering each vine with attention and care; the chef-de-cave had to share our terroir-driven winemaking values; the cellar had to be first-rate; the property had to be capable of producing the very best fruit; and the wines had to be thoroughly delicious.

It took a long time – and countless tastings and visits – but we finally found what we were looking for.  And although it’s not quite the Fountain of Youth, it’s one heck of a Champagne!

It all started on my first visit to a true Champagne cave – something I’ll never forget.  My traveling companions, our fearless leader Fonda Hopkins and our intrepid winemaker Hélène Mingot, were not nearly as green as I.  They knew the Champagne region well, having logged many miles over the years searching for just the right sparklers to source for our clients.  But although I have tasted many different Champagnes in my day, I’d never before been there in person.

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Montesquieu Winery Legislative Updates for Direct to Consumer Shipping

September 22, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

It is hard to believe it is already nearing the end of September—what an eventful, wonderful year so far all around, with much progress made regarding direct shipping to consumers.

Legislative sessions in most states have concluded for the year, so it is an opportune time to check in with relevant updates, including follow-up on bills we outlined earlier in the year.

Florida came through strong as Senate Bill 854 and House Bill 837 fizzled in committee in early May. These bills would have turned the times back to the pre-2006 status of prohibited direct shipping. Also the fourth try by wholesalers to impose a capacity limit failed to proceed. This is great news all around for Florida wine lovers!
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The Search for Great Terroir: Insight into California with Stéphane Derenoncourt

September 16, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

There are few names in our industry that carry as much respect as that of Stéphane Derenoncourt and with good reason—with almost 30 years experience from literally the ground up, he is one of the great growers and winemakers of our time. Although he is modest and soft-spoken and consequently does not seek media attention, the wine world cannot help but take notice of his achievements in the vineyard and in the cellar.

At the heart of all this success is a genuine and passionate person, driven by his goal always “to make wines I love; elegant, balanced, respectful of the fruit.” The wines Stéphane loves are terroir-driven showing typicity specific to their place of growth. Stéphane strives for the ideal balance between the land and the wine which assures harmonious development of the vine and its capacity to mature the healthiest possible fruit. View Full Post


Montesquieu Winery 2011 Pre-Harvest Update: Late and Light, Balanced and Concentrated

September 8, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

Perfect weather at Ink Grade September 8, 2011 photo by Hélène Mingot

We caught up with our winemaker Hélène Mingot on the run between her bustling vineyard and cellar work to hear how pre-harvest conditions are shaping up for our parcels in Napa and Sonoma so far.

The vintage pattern in 2011 for both Napa and Sonoma shares some general similarities with 2010, which have been showing a trend for almost a decade now of cool growing seasons with later harvest times. This year, we are seeing a longer season due to a cool spring and late rain, with bloom and fruit set that was behind two to three weeks. The summer was cooler and milder than usual, with foggy mornings followed by mild sunny afternoons—only a few days in the 90s so far! This kept the pattern similar to last year, pushing projected harvest dates two to three weeks later than the norm. View Full Post


Stéphane Derenoncourt’s Window on the World of Wine in Saint-Émilion

August 27, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

Stéphane and Manu

During En Primeurs this April in Bordeaux we had the pleasure of attending the exclusive preview of Stéphane’s new wine shop in Saint-Émilion, aptly named “ Terres Millésimées”. Terres means land, which can also mean terroir, and Millésimées means vintage or year. He had been wanting to do this for years, an idea that grew out of constantly being asked by friends, colleagues and fellow wine lovers how to find the wines of his eclectic consultancies, as well as other wines he loves and recommends.

As inspired projects go, ones that involve great passion, Terres Millésimées grew into an ambition to be more than a wine shop, a place where wine lovers can gather, both locals and tourists alike, to experience selections from “d’ici et d’ailleurs”—meaning “from here and elsewhere”—wines “des terroirs et des hommes” or “wines of the land and of man”. View Full Post


Livia Fontana: Heart and Soul in Barolo Country

August 21, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

Montesquieu wine broker Jonathan Hetz with Livia Fontana, happy among the vines!

One of the most rewarding aspects of working directly with small producers to source the very best wines for our clients is the privilege of getting to know the winemakers, the talent and conduits of inspiration behind great wines. One of our favorites of all time is Livia Fontana—who we have worked with since 1997—a sixth generation winemaker and matriarch of the 180 year-old Cascina Fontanin in the heart of Barolo country.

Picture yourself perched high on a majestic hillside, overlooking lush steep vineyards to the point where the ancient villages of Barolo, La Morra and Monforte meet below. It is here, atop the famous tiny commune (population 637) of Castiglione Falletto, that Livia and her two sons Michele and Lorenzo tend to every detail of making wines at the family’s estate —from working in the vineyard to bottling and labeling and everything in between! View Full Post


Decanting Basics, by Montesquieu Winery: Part 2 — How to Decant?

August 14, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

In Decanting Basics by Montesquieu Winery Part 1, we covered all about why and when to decant, relaying how although it may seem complicated, decanting is really a very straightforward and effective tool to help you get the most out of your wine experience.

To summarize, the reasons why to decant fall into three main categories: removal of sediment, aeration and aesthetics. When to decant relates to each of these categories and can be easily determined by some general rules of thumb.

Sediment. Wines that are ten years or older should be decanted as they are more likely to have sediment, especially reds that have higher tannin content, generally fuller-bodied reds. However, it doesn’t hurt to check all bottles, especially if you are not sure whether they are unfiltered or unfined. To determine whether or not a bottle has sediment, simply hold in front of a light or candle. Vintage Port always has sediment so should always be decanted. View Full Post


Finding Federico: Montesquieu Winery in Search of the Real Deal

August 10, 2011, by: Stephen George

Intimate Asado Dinner with Federico Benegas-Lynch & Don Zofanor

History. Tradition. Family. You’ve probably noticed that these words get thrown around a lot in the wine industry. These days, everyone seems to be claiming that they’re family-owned and family-run, that they are tapping into a tradition as old as the sun, that they use historical vineyard techniques or winemaking methods or what have you.

It’s easy to tune out this sort of rhetoric as marketing-based background noise. And as merchants who are barraged by wineries who want us to introduce them to our clients, we at Montesquieu Wines know how critical it is to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. To truly determine whether there’s real history and tradition in play, and whether it matters to the quality of the wine, we have to do more than just scratch the surface. We have to dig deeper, to pull back the veil to see whether these buzz words reflect something real and unique, or whether they’re merely a marketer’s fancy. View Full Post


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