Monday, March 12, 2018

Hiking in Napa Valley

A lot of people head to Napa Valley to see the amazing vineyards and to taste the delicious wines. While this is a great way to experience the area, there are also other wonderful things to do. Hiking is prevalent in Napa Valley and there are a variety of locations to go and things to see such as the awe-inspiring redwoods and the stunning vistas.

Here are some of the best hikes you can take in Napa Valley:

1. Ritchey Canyon Trail, Calistoga - 8 miles out-and-back, moderate, strenuous
The canyons of Bothe-Napa Valley State Park are home to some of the most majestic redwoods you can imagine. Following Ritchey Creek, the Ritchey Canyon Trail also has trilliums and orchids which are amazing.

2. Dryfoot Trail, St. Helena - 6.4 miles out-and-back, moderate
Moore Creek Park used to be a cattle ranch. Above St. Helena, it runs next to the northeastern shore of Lake Hennessey. Rolling hills offer a great place to hike or bike and the new Dryfoot Trail leads to a swimming hole.

3. Lower Oat Hill Mine Trail, Calistoga - 9 miles out-and-back, strenuous
A beautiful view is offered from the Lower Oat Hill Mine Trail which leads up the hills above Calistoga. The trail follows an old road that used to lead to former cinnabar (mercury) mines. You can view beautiful spring wildflowers on your way up the rocky trail.

4. Buchli Station Road Trail, Napa - 4.75-mile loop, moderate
Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area is on the north shore of San Pablo Bay and offers 15,200 acres of birds, fish, and other beautiful things to see. 

5. Napa River Ecological Reserve, Yountville - 0.5-mile loop, easy
The short loop on this 73 acre preserve is the perfect place to relax and stroll. You can walk underneath tall oaks on this trail that hugs the river.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Our Brand New Magazine!

We've started a brand new wine magazine and we've just published our first issue! H. Montanile's Winery Reviews magazine is a monthly publication that you can download for FREE! The issues will contain topics such as what's trending in wine, monthly featured wines and wineries, our On The Road articles, and much more. 

"As we embark on our e-magazine adventure we will take you with us on our lifetime journey of love, everyday life, family, travel, food & wine. We will share with you daily life tidbits from inside our home and our adventures on the road while bringing you upcoming trends, treasured moments, human interest stories, relevant world events, our recipes, winery experiences, travel information and 
more." - Leslie & Joe Montanile

Our first issue contains some informative articles, including:
• 5 Helpful Tips in Planning Your Wine Country Adventure
• Our Chicken Parmesan Pizza, Stuffed Peppers with Sriracha Kick, and other recipes
• A Little Something About H. Montanile...
• Sonoma County and Napa Maps
• And so much more!

You can download and subscribe to our FREE magazine from the homepage of our website AWineryReview.com today! Or, click here.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Preventing Foggy Wine Glasses

No one wants to drink or eat from a dirty dish and it's embarrassing when you pull your wine glasses out of the cupboard and they look dirty or foggy! Spots on your glasses are never appealing and re-washing your dishes before serving wine is not ideal. Foggy wine glasses are caused by a build-up of hard water minerals. Since it's so hard to remove the fogginess, it's better to try to prevent it. Wash your wine glasses by hand using hot water then use a microfiber cloth to dry them immediately.

If your glasses are already foggy you can try to get them clean by soaking them in vinegar. This will dissolve the minerals and allow you to effectively wash and dry them by hand. Another option is to wipe them off with nail polish remover or denture cleaner, then wash and dry them by hand.

If the fogginess just won't go away then your glasses may be scratched. Unfortunately, there is no way to remove the scratches from your wine glasses and it may be time to invest in a new set.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Number of Glasses in a Bottle

If you're having people over, bringing wine to a party, or are just curious, it's a good thing to know how many glasses of wine are in a bottle. There are a variety of wine bottle sizes available and we've broken out different sizes with their serving amounts.

Your standard bottle is 750 mL which is about 25.4 oz. If you pour approximately 5 oz in your wine glass you will get about five glasses per bottle.

A 1.5 liter, otherwise known as a "Magnum" bottle, contains 50.8 oz which you can get ten glasses of out of.

Most boxed wines are 101.6 oz which equates to about twenty, 5 oz glasses.

These numbers are not exact. It does depend on your glass serving size. Serving size generally range from 3-6 oz based on the alcohol content of the wine, which usually ranges from 5.5% – 21% ABV.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mustard in the Vineyards?

As spring approaches, you may want to take a drive through the California vineyards to experience the beautiful mustard blossoms that grow there as winter comes to an end. Sometimes it grows there wild, and sometimes the vineyard manager purposefully plants it there. But why?

In addition to it's beauty, mustard provides valuable nutrients to the grape vines. As it turns to mulch it supplies the emerging vines with phosphorus. Because it contains high levels of biofumigants, mustard also helps decrease the nematode population, which is damaging microscopic worms.

The planting of mustard in the vineyards is not a new tradition. Legend has it that a Franciscan missionary started spreading mustard seed as he landscaped Californian church properties. Planting was as easy as carrying a sack full of mustard seeds on the back. A small hole in the sack would allow the seeds to escape and be scattered as the landscapers walked.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Warm Red Wines for Winter

January seemed to last forever this year and now that we're finally into February it seems there may be an end to winter in sight! Spring is right around the corner but we still have a few weeks of winter left. With the days still pretty short and most activities being indoors, it's still the perfect weather for wine. Warm red wines are great for fighting off the chill and the end-of-winter blues.

Cabernet Sauvignon
One of the most popular red wine grape varieties is Cabernet Sauvignon. Having strong fruit flavors of plum and black cherry when young, this wine gives off the distinct aroma of blackcurrants. As it ages, it can give off aromas of tobacco and cedar. Lamb, and other fatty red meats, pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Recently, Malbec has been rapidly growing in popularity. Similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec has flavors of plum and black cherry. It also consists of blackberry and can even have chocolate flavors. Because of it's softer tannins, it pairs well with lean meats.

Giving hearty, spicy red wines, the Syrah grape variety is a perfect choice for those chilly winter nights. Along with the previous mentioned wines, it has flavors of wild black fruits such as blackcurrants. These fruit flavors can be accompanied with roasting meat and black pepper spice flavors. Wild game and stews are wonderful pairings to go with Syrah.

Now that winter is in full swing and we're (hopefully) headed to an early spring, try to push through these last days of winter with these delightful, warm, red wine varieties.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Cork vs Screw Cap

It used to be that when you thought of a screw capped bottle of wine you thought of a cheaper wine. Screw capped wine has been around since the 1950s but usually on more economical jugs of wine. Higher end bottles of wine are associated with corks, but recently that is changing.

In the 1400s, with the increase in popularity of glass bottles, the use of corks to close those bottles became more popular, as well. This is because cork bark, which is pliable, is great for holding the liquid inside the glass bottle. Corks are also preferred in the long-term aging of wines. They are made from renewable resources and are environmentally friendly. However, with other options available it may not be the best choice to use corks in all bottles of wine. They are more expensive, can cause TCA ‘Cork’ Taint, and natural corks may not breathe at a stable rate.

Some alternatives to corks include screw caps and corks made of other materials, such as plastics or plant-based polymers. These options are cheaper to make and easier to use, but like corks, they have their downsides. Some of them don't breathe at all, they are made from non-renewable resources, they are not biodegradable, and they are often associated with "cheap" wine.

Don't be surprised to see an increase in alternative methods to corks in not only economical wines, but also in high-end wines. They may not be the tradition, but when weighing the pros and cons of each they seem to be just as good.