"Children find everything in nothing, grown-ups nothing in everything" philosophized Giacomo Leopardi. This maxim is proven true every day by the newest addition to the Montemaggiore family: our baby lamb called Stellina. Born in mid-April, Stellina came as a complete surprise since we didn't even know our ewe was pregnant (and our male sheep isn't supposed to be able to be a father). Stellina seems so happy just to be alive—investigating every plant and insect in the vineyard, kicking up her heels and generally being rambunctious. We hope that you have opportunities to (periodically) see the world through a child's eyes—perhaps your own children, grandchildren, neighbors or even pets.
New Releases just in time for summer sipping!
For those of you who look forward to drinking refreshing whites and crisp rosés during the summer, look no further than the Montemaggiore 2011 3Divas and Rosé. Low yields and a cool growing season produced deep flavors and low alcohol levels in 2011. Both wines are priced at $25 per bottle ($20 for Club Primo members, and $21.25 for Club Secondo members), available now by giving us a call (707.433.9499), using our on-line order form, or faxing in your order.
3Divas is a classic white Rhône blend of Marsanne, Roussane, and Viognier which hits all the right notes with intriguing melon and roasted nut aromas, a supple texture, and a long, lingering finish. Its elegant yet rich personality is an excellent match for many dishes, yet the 3Divas can also hold its own as a before-dinner aperitif. The grapes came from the renowned Saralee's Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, thus it's the only wine we make from non-estate grapes. More information on the 2011 3Divas can be found on our website. Only 125 cases made.
To complement your summertime al fresco meals, consider the 2011 Syrah Rosé! Even if you are not typically a fan of rosés, you really need to try ours. This dry wine is very different from most California rosés because it is made in the classic Provençal style with an intensity of flavor rarely found outside of red wine—yet with lower alcohol (12.8%). Montemaggiore's Rosé can be served chilled, or even slightly warm yet it will remain crisp and refreshing. Only 60 cases were bottled, so if this is one of your favorites, act quickly. More information on the 2011 Rosé can be found on our website.
Sicilian Cooking Class at Montemaggiore on July 15
For those of you who love authentic Italian food, we're hosting a series of cooking classes here at Montemaggiore focusing on the regional foods of Italy. These hands-on classes will be lead by the vivacious Chef Gloria DeMaria, culminating in a sit-down meal to enjoy the feast we prepared, accompanied by perfectly paired Montemaggiore wines.
Traveling to Italy each year to get new ideas, Chef Gloria cooks side-by-side with celebrated chefs as well as village homemakers who have become her friends, using recipes handed down generation after generation. At home in the Bay Area, she has been giving Italian cooking classes for many years—including running the Cook Sonoma school here in Healdsburg.
Not only will you enjoy Gloria's fun-loving personality, but you will learn how to turn simple Italian dishes into gourmet marvels that look and taste unforgettable. You'll go home wanting to eat like this every day, with flavorful new recipes and an appreciation for Italian regional culture—perhaps even a few new Italian words! Clean ones, we hope…
The classes take place on Sunday afternoons from 11am-3pm, the time when Italian families traditionally get together for a feast. On July 15th, the focus will be on Sicily—we start there because Vincent's family hails from Montemaggiore in Sicily. On September 9th, you'll enjoy learning about the food from Puglia, with its delicious breads and pastas. On November 11 the focus turns to Tuscany, with its savory meats and game. Each class will be $75, with a maximum of 12 people. The website has both menus and registration information.
Wine Lovers of the Month: David and Carrie
People who enjoy wine are the most interesting, inquisitive, and pleasurable people you will ever meet. David and Carrie, who live here in Healdsburg, are great examples. They love tasting new wines from different regions, cooking food to match, and sharing their new favorites with friends. David focuses on wine, and attributes his stellar memory for vineyards, vintages, and varietals to the stacks of baseball cards he memorized as a child. Carrie focuses on food, having honed her skills as a professional baker in Sonoma (which ultimately lead her toward wine).
Both David and Carrie have worked in the wine industry for many years, thus help us by providing additional professional opinions as we blend and age Montemaggiore wines. For their friendship and superb palates we are eternally grateful! Learn more about their favorite food/wine pairing, along with their most memorable wines.
All you need to know about wine bottles, or perhaps...
More than you ever wanted to know about wine bottles!
Did you notice anything different about the Montemaggiore 2011 3Divas and Rose discussed earlier? If so, kudos to you, since we changed both the shape of our wine bottles in order to better reflect our winemaking, environmental, and aesthetic ideals. We've also seized this opportunity to make several subtle but notable changes to our label.
In Europe, wineries diligently follow the traditions of their region in terms of wine bottle shape.
Bordeaux: straight sides and tall shoulders
Burgundy: gently sloping shoulders and a wider girth
Rhône: similar to Burgundy, but a bit skinnier
Champagne: sloping shoulders, thick glass, and a deep punt
Alsace: skinnier and taller, with very gently sloping shoulders
In America, wineries are very casual about choosing their wine bottle—and in Montemaggiore's case, they may even change their minds!
When we first considered the bottle choices for Montemaggiore wines, we were shocked by the plethora of options—and the almost comical eloquence of the glass salespeople describing the subtle differences amongst the 50+ choices of any single style. Given that we made only two wines at the time, our major decision was whether to utilize a Bordeaux-style bottle (as would be natural for our Cabernet-dominated wine) or a Rhône-style (as would be natural for our Syrah-dominated wine). In order to minimize time and money, we wanted to just use a single bottle for both wines. So we decided on the Bordeaux bottle for no great reason other than to optimize for our more expensive wine. We opted for the antique green color because that was what "everybody" bottled in.
As time went on, our wine portfolio expanded to include Rose, 3Divas, and Syrafina. From a tradition standpoint, one would expect all three of these wines to be in a Rhône-style bottle with its sloping shoulders. To our delight, many of you expressed surprise that the Montemaggiore Syrah—our flagship wine—was not in a Rhône-style bottle. So we've listened, and we've realized we can no longer live with the incongruity between our Rhône-style wines and our bottle shape. Thus as we move forward all our wines will in a Rhône bottle, starting with this release of our 2011 Rose and 3Divas.
For those of you who are really detail-oriented, you will also notice that our new bottles are lighter in color. While most red wine is bottled in green glass, each manufacturer typically has four or five different greens to choose from. We recently changed our bottle color from Antique Green to Dead Leaf Green (isn't that an awful name?) for the simple reason that we liked the aesthetics. Take a look at the 3Divas in our new glass—it positively glows!
One detail you will never see but perhaps can appreciate, is that our new wine bottles were made right here in California. This means less travel from the glass foundry to Montemaggiore, and supports jobs close to home. These bottles are just as lightweight as our prior bottles (and much lighter than our original bottles) which is best for our environment and pocketbook (especially when shipping wine to you). People used to say, "the heavier the bottle, the better the wine", but today bottle weight says more about the environmental consciousness of winery than the quality of the wine.
While changing wine bottles, we took the opportunity to alter two aspects of the labels: we've added QR codes and we've modified the top edge. Starting with the 2011 3Divas and Rose along with the 2010 Syrah and Nobile, each back label will have a QR (quick response) code. If you are not familiar with these strange-looking digital patterns, your smart phone can scan them to bring up information on a web page—in our case, it gives you a detailed description of that specific wine. So the next time you take a bottle of Montemaggiore wine out of your cellar, you can easily access information about the particular growing season, vinification, and winemaker's thoughts—right at your fingertips. The second label change involves the deckled top edge, which now reflects the exact ridgeline of the Mayacamas Mountains seen from our vineyard, with the two prominent mountains being Geyser Peak and Mt. St. Helena. Every time you open a bottle of Montemaggiore wine, you'll have an extra reminder of our mountainside vineyards and gorgeous views.
Events in Northern California
For those of you living in or traveling to Northern California over the next few months, you may enjoy the following events.
Final Note: As always, we welcome your visit to our mountainside estate vineyards and winery in Sonoma County. Simply contact us for an appointment by phone (707.433.9499) or email. If you have wine-loving friends who might be interested in learning about Montemaggiore, please have them call us or send them to our website.
Enjoy the summer, your family, and seeing the world though a child's eyes!