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
August 2, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
VinExpo, the largest trade show of wine and spirits in the world, is always exciting to attend. Held every other year in Bordeaux, it is a bustling international scene packed with a dizzying array of tastings, seminars, exhibitions and more. With the most influential members of the wine industry attending plus the sheer scale of the event, it is no surprise that a huge amount of networking and deal making takes place, both on-site in the vast exhibition center and off-site at the many premiere dinners and events. It is a powerful bellwether event, revealing key trends and emerging markets in the wine world.
The organizers of VinExpo have encouraged new and emerging markets with a global perspective, reflected in the 47 countries represented among the 2,400 exhibitors. The attendance was over 48,000 which was an increase of 3 % over 2009 which kept the aisles humming, and the mood was decidedly optimistic all around. View Full Post
July 15, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
On July 12 the Specialty Wine Retailers Association (SWRA) released a report—Toward Liquor Domination—about the alcohol wholesalers and their political spending habits. The figures are astonishing—since 2006 the wholesalers have spent more than $82 million dollars on campaign contributions at the state and federal level, as well as federal lobbying, dominating by a huge margin what is spent by the rest of the liquor industry.
The study covers the time period from 2005 to 2010, and details the enormous amount of money spent to keep wholesaler influence intact at both the federal and states levels to insure policies that protect the wholesalers’ interests.
According to the report at both the state and federal level, the wholesalers have spent nearly double since 2006 compared to the rest of the alcohol industry combined on political campaigns. On the state level alone, alcohol wholesalers have spent almost $60 million for campaign contributions since 2006. This is nearly double what wineries, distilleries, breweries and wine retailers have contributed all together. View Full Post
July 12, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
With so many decanters and accessories to choose from, for some the idea of decanting may be intimidating or seem pretentious. We at Montesquieu Winery would like to share the basics of decanting because it is actually a very simple and extremely valuable tool that can bring out the best in your wines!
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July 2, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
Happy Birthday America! Independence Day is upon us, the Fourth of July- the day in 1776 that the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress.
The eloquent second sentence of the Declaration shines and endures, one of the most celebrated and revered of American history:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Ahh, the pursuit of happiness. One of the many great things about our country is that we provide people the freedom to choose their path to happiness. No matter the challenges we face and the many issues that warrant change or improvement, the fact remains how very fortunate we are! View Full Post
June 24, 2011, by: Stephen George
The splendor of St. Emilion viewed from one of its crown jewels, Pavie Macquin
“Is this the hanging tree?” I asked.
I stood on a grassy path flanked by vines on both sides, staring up at a tall tree with large branches spreading wide. Oak? Elm? I wasn’t sure, and it didn’t really matter. All that mattered was whether this was THE tree, the one that – according to legend – the townsfolk of St. Emilion used for executing criminals many years ago.
We had broken free from our tight tasting schedule in order to take up this quest. That Tuesday, our first day of 2010 tastings at Primeurs, we did Cheval Blanc and the Rolland Collection at Le Bon Pasteur, followed by Michel Rolland’s consultancies at Chateau Soutard and then Stéphane Derenoncourt’s consultancies at Chateau La Gaffelière. Wednesday brought a full morning of tasting biodynamic wines at Ch. Fonroque followed by a cross-river haul to take in the wines of St. Julien, St. Estephe and Pauillac at Ch. Branaire Ducru, and then a dash to Ch. Lascombes to sample Margaux before the day’s tastings closed. We began Thursday morning early with the St. Emilion tasting at Ch. La Couspaude before heading back to the Left Bank for Graves and Pessac-Leognan – both rouge and blanc – at Ch. Malartic-Lagravière, and then back again to La Gaffelière to finish tasting Stéphane’s wines and chat with some of our producer friends there.
If you’re counting at home, that’s over 500 wines tasted in three days, not counting bottles we enjoyed during our dinners or at the late-night producer parties we attended. This kind of professionalized indulgence is par for the course during Primeurs week, but still, by Thursday afternoon we needed a break that didn’t include swirling, sniffing or sipping. View Full Post
June 15, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
Whether you have an almost endless summer climate or the full swing of four seasons, summer is here! With Father’s Day approaching and the 4th of July shortly after, it seems the perfect time to share some of our favorite recipes and wines that we particularly enjoy this time of year.
We love hearing from our community of wine lovers, which of course includes our Montesquieu Wine Brokers who are well-versed in all things food and wine. A natural occupational passion is the discovery of meals that work particularly well with our diverse selection of Montesquieu wines. Join us as we kick off summer in search of the perfect pairing….. View Full Post
June 11, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
Grand Canal at Sunset
It’s no secret Montesquieu Winery is fond of exploring wine regions off the beaten track, inspired by the thrill of adventure and discovery as we seek new and exciting sources for our international portfolio of Montesquieu Wines.
That being said, we also relish the wealth of experiences one finds traveling to classic destinations such as Paris, Rome, New York, London, Barcelona and the like. Even though these cities are not wine regions, and not off the beaten track, the opportunities to be immersed in fine food and wine are great with an abundance of world-class dining and top-notch wine lists, plus in many cases wonderful wine regions nearby! Add the museums, shops, and cultural treasures galore, and you have all the ingredients that most consider essential to the art of living well. View Full Post
May 31, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
We are pleased to announce the continuation of our relationship with the Aspen Institute, partnering for a second straight year to ensure that the Institute’s summer conference guests and donors will enjoy not only stimulating conversation but also delicious, hand-crafted wines compliments of Montesquieu Winery. Like last year, we will offer favorite selections from our international portfolio of Montesquieu Wines at two of the Institute’s marquee events this summer.
The Aspen Institute
The first of these events is the Socrates Program Benefit Dinner 15th Anniversary Celebration on Sunday June 26, 2011, for which Montesquieu Winery will participate as the exclusive wine sponsor. The Institute’s Socrates Program was created to bring young emerging leaders from a variety of professions together in order to discuss and explore important contemporary topics of current political, ethical/moral, economic and global concern. (For more information on the dinner and the Socrates Society read more here.)
This year’s event promises to be fascinating, as it features Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author. Mr. Freidman will moderate a conversation with by Sonal Shah, Director, White House Office of Innovation, and Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, on the topic “Digital Disconnect: Innovations in Technology and the Impact on International Relations”. Socrates founders, Laura and Gary Lauder, will serve as dinner co-chairs, and Society of Fellows members and the event will honor Socrates Program alumni, Samia and Huda Farouki. View Full Post
May 26, 2011, by: Stephen George
The Uco Valley in all its splendor
Spend a little time in the Uco Valley in Argentina, and it doesn’t take long to realize that not only is Michel Rolland one of the most accomplished winemakers of our time – he’s also a true visionary.
That’s a bold statement, perhaps. But once you’ve seen Bodega Rolland firsthand, situated at an elevation of 3,300 feet in the shadow of the snowcaps of the Andes, the conclusion is inescapable. The proof of Michel’s vision is everywhere you look.
You see it in the in the vineyard’s rocky, arid soils where the vines’ roots burrow deeply in desperate search for nutrients. You see it in the rugged, barren terrain that surrounds the vineyards as in every direction, offering no evidence of life beyond the occasional desert flower. View Full Post