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CHATEAU MONTELENA DINNER WITH BRIAN BAKER - Waterleaf Restaurant at College of DuPage (7/10/2013)

Brian Baker, Chateau Montelena's Vice President of Sales & Marketing, was brought in for a dinner at Waterleaf Restaurant, run by the students in the culinary & hospitality program at the College of DuPage. Brian was engaging, entertaining and generous with his time, spending a good bit with each table. The restaurant, which we hadn't even been aware of prior to this event, did a wonderful job from start to finish- the food, pairings and service were all excellent.

The wines showed very well on this night and really enhanced the foods and paired beautifully. I am already looking forward to attending the event again next year. In attendance were M/M thelostverse, Domino & I, and another couple from the Saturday group- Sue & Mike.

  • NV Varichon & Clerc Brut Blanc de Blancs - France
    The reception wine poured tonight, featuring notes of crab apple blossoms, chalk, citrus and almond notes. Light and crisp, with almond and green apple flavors. Simple, but a nice aperitif on the patio overlooking the pond. 86+ pts. (86 pts.)

Salmon Carpaccio, Kaffir Lime Broth, Mascarpone Cream, Pickled Watermelon
  • 2011 Chateau Montelena Riesling - USA, California, North Coast, Potter Valley
    Light yellow color. Notes of honey, spice, pear, citrus, honeysuckle flowers and minerals. Flavors of melon, pear and minerals with a lovely tart citrus note on the finish and bright underlying acidity. Fresh and lively, made in a dry style. Theirs is a domestic Riesling I have enjoyed each of the few times I have tasted it, and the 2011 is no exception. (90 pts.)

Chilled Potage of English Pea with Poached Lobster
  • 2010 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Consists of 26% John Muir Hanna Vineyard fruit and the rest from the Takahashi Vineyard displaying a pale color and aromas of mineral, coconut, apple (green) and citrus fruit. Flavors of coconut and buttered apples, pears and spice with a long, creamy finish. Hints of mineral and orchard fruit linger. They used very little oak here and what one can detect adds body and richness without blocking the fruit or coming across as overdone. Drink 2014-2020. 92+ pts. (92 pts.)

Hoisin-Plum Glazed Beef Tenderloin, Potato Puree, Baby Bok Choy, Smoked Shallot and Blackberry-Veal Demi
  • 2008 Chateau Montelena Zinfandel Estate - USA, California, Napa Valley
    I have said many times before that Montelena's Zin is a style that I enjoy quite a bit. If you are looking for ripe and jammy, look elsewhere- even in warm years Montelena Zins tend to the elegant side, and the 2008 is no exception. Light ruby robe with notes of cherry, baking spices and berries. Medium-bodied, with flavors of vanilla, red fruit and cherries. Soft and elegant, with cherry and spice notes lingering on the finish. 89+ pts. (89 pts.)
  • 2008 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon (Non Estate) Napa Valley - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Dark color. Aromas of cassis, plum, black cherry and spice. Medium- to full-bodied; has begun integrating the tannins but has a short ways to go yet. Flavors of red currants, cassis and cherry with a long finish. The fruit really stands out here; delicious. Showing very well tonight. 92-93 pts. (92 pts.)

Key Lime Tart, Meringue & Guava Sorbet

Dessert was enjoyed with coffee and whatever wines were left in one's glass.


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Juice, yes, the other side of the room was very quiet, but it was a school night...I wonder how full they are on a Friday or Saturday? Domino and I will be there again soon- I was the winner of the one night stay in the hotel, so we'll give it a shot some Friday evening.

Where were you seated during dinner?

The JMH Chard is indeed a lovely wine. So far we have only tasted the 2008, which we now have in magnum, and it was great. We've since added the 2010 as well.

Was at storage this morning and came upon one of our bottles of the 1991 Estate Cab...tempted, but going to let it rest a short while longer.

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