Wine & Olive Oil
Below are frequently asked questions regarding wine and olive oil. You may also have questions about Montemaggiore in general, Orders & Shipping, Visits to Montemaggiore, Wine Club Membership, and our Estate Vineyards.
- Why does Montemaggiore specialize in Syrah?
- What is so special about Nobile, Montemaggiore's Cabernet-Syrah blend?
- What is so special about 3Divas, Montemaggiore's white blend?
- What is so special about the Montemaggiore Rosé?
- Montemaggiore has a unique-looking wine press, what's up with that?
- How age-worthy are Montemaggiore wines?
- How does Olive Oil fit into the picture?
- What's so special about Montemaggiore Olive Oil?
- Why does your olive oil always seem to be sold out?
Simply said, Syrah is our favorite grape varietal—and above all, we want to produce wines that we enjoy drinking, producing, and sharing. Syrah makes a wonderful wine for many reasons: it is food-friendly, enjoyable both young and after aging, pleasurable to both the novice and sophisticated drinker, yet relatively undiscovered in America. We purchased our estate vineyard in Dry Creek Valley because we saw the potential for a great Syrah in it's mountainside location and moderate climate.
We can't say "we were the first!" because blending Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah is not a new idea. In Bordeaux and Provence, the French have been blending these two varietals since the 19th century and more recently the Australians led the charge in the 20th century. In general, the intense fruit of the Syrah tends to "brighten" the sternness of the Cabernet, while the big tannins of the Cab seem to give the Syrah more structure. For Montemaggiore Nobile (in early vintages known as Superiore), we have put together a special blend in which the exceptional nature of our mountain-grown Syrah and Cabernet fit together perfectly like an elegant hand in a silk glove.
Montemaggiore 3Divas is a white wine with enough personality to serve as an aperitif, yet pairs well with a wide variety of meals. Each of the three Divas (Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne) would make an impressive wine on their own, yet together their voices create an extraordinary harmony in this delightful white Rhône blend.
Montemaggiore Rosé has much more intensity and complexity than most rosés, which is why we call it a red wine lover's rosé. It's made in the style of Provençal rosés, thus these grapes are grown and harvested specifically for rosé. Most rosé in California is not made this way, instead being made by the saignée method, which is really a by-product of making red wine. Our rosé on the other hand, will be lower in alcohol and have the characteristic strawberry flavors of a true rosé.
We utilize a stainless steel basket press, a high-technology version of an ancient tool (the Egyptian Pharaohs are said to be the first to employ the basket press, made of reeds). A division of the highly-respected French company Bucher Vaslin, JLB, developed this press in conjunction with the winemaker at Chateau Petrus in Bordeaux. The JLB press utilizes hydraulics to gently press additional wine from the grape skins after fermentation. The press is very gentle, doesn't over-extract tannins, and produces very clean press wine, as it is partially filtered through the mass of pulp it drains through in the basket.
We definitely encourage you to age Montemaggiore red wines in your cellar if you have the facilities and patience. You will be rewarded with a smooth, integrated wine that should still taste wonderful at least 10 years past vintage. Our mountainside grapes provide significant tannin to the red wine, providing the structure to make long-lasting wines. As we grow our grapes and vinify the wine, we're aiming for wines that are at their peak 5-15 years after vintage, thus are definitely age-worthy.
When we first moved to Sonoma County, we planted 800 olive trees because we love fresh olive oil. We chose Tuscan varietals to pay homage to a branch of Vincent's family who left Montemaggiore in southern Italy and moved to Siena in norther Italy a century ago. We really like the way the olive trees flash their silvery-green leaves in the wind, and appreciate the biodiversity that olive trees bring to our farm.
We produce a spicy Tuscan blend of extra virgin olive oil from our estate-grown Frantoio, Leccino, and Pendolino olive trees. Just like our grapes, these olives are mountain-grown, thus produce an intense oil which will delight your taste buds.
We only produce a small amount of olive oil, around 50 gallons, thus we usually run out in the first few months of the year. Typically we press the olive oil in December, bottle it in January, and it's sold out by April. We'll announce the new release of olive oil in our first newsletter of the year, so act quickly and you'll have all the fresh EVOO you want!