Here you will find news, lifestyle and entertaining tips, winemaking ideas, recipes, wine pairings, and adventurous behind-the-scenes stories:
We did it. .. We made it through 2020 and there is no better way to celebrate 2021 than with a glass of newly released Notre Vue or Balverne wine!
Alex has been fastidiously caring for the wines in the cellar. We have several new varietal releases to look forward to this year coming in Summer, Fall & in time for the Holidays! A reason to celebrate every season.
We are especially excited about the release of our 2019 Notre Vue Sparkling GSM. A newly designed
bottle screams "let's enjoy life every day" - we can't wait for everyone to love it as much as we do!
Patrick has been quite busy in the vineyards caring for the vines and soil. Look forward to a tour offering with Patrick to learn more about what happens in the vineyards!
We are busy planning a Winemaker's Spring Lunch, Summer Sundays, a White Party, Happy Hours, and more! If you have any suggestions please email us; we would love to hear any ideas!
As always, we want to ensure that your visits to the Estate are as enjoyable and safe as possible. We truly appreciate your understanding as we continue to follow the CDC Guidelines associated with the Coronavirus.
Remember this is your Wine Club; we are happy when we see you come to visit with your family and friends, creating lifetime memories!
-Bob and Renee Stein
Greetings from the Notre Vue Cellar ... It is my pleasure to introduce three new wines to you this spring. The 2019 Notre Vue Sparkling Rose of GSM, which has quickly turned into my all-time favorite Sparkling wine that I have produced in my 20+ year career. I am extremely proud of the GSM program we have developed in my first year at Notre Vue and this wine is truly a fine expression of the unique and versatile qualities of a true Rhone blend program. This wine was fermented cold in stainless steel at 55 degrees, while the secondary fermentation was a relatively short 8 months and a small dosage of 3 g/L sugar at disgorging.
The next release is our 2019 Notre Vue Chardonnay; This is 100% Chardonnay, barrel fermented, utilizing native yeast and sur lie stirring for 5 months in 100% sweet & spicy French oak. My philosophy on this Chardonnay was to create a luscious mouthfeel with a lasting finish where the fruit stands out and the oak plays a complimentary role. This wine has all the attributes for the Chardonnay aficionado but I have also received the highest compliment a winemaker can get "I don't usually like Chardonnay, but I love this one". This wine pairs gracefully with an abundance of different foods but my favorite pairing is "alone with a loved one, watching the sunset". As well, this got a rating of 96 in its most recent wine competition!
Your third selection for this release is the 2019 Balverne Pinot Nair. This wine features 3 different clones, 667, 114 & 459 and is 100% Pi not Nair. Consistent with all my red wines, it is fermented using the native yeast and aged in 100% French oak. My love affair with Pinot Nair is well documented and I'm very pleased with my first bottling of Pinot from this property. As I continue to build my intimate relationship with this Estate the sky is the limit and I look forward to continue producing world-class wines from Notre Vue Estate.
Alex Holman, Estate Winemaker
Greetings from the vineyard ... This year we had tractor drivers planting a diverse cover crop selection that includes a clover mix, daikon radishes and an organic soil building mix of grasses and legumes. The daikon radishes, help to shatter the soil in our no-till property which allows oxygen, water, and roots to easily infiltrate deeply. The clovers and organic soil building mix utilize a natural symbiosis between legumes and a bacterium that lives in their roots which takes atmospheric Nitrogen and fixes it in the soil. This way we are able to cooperate with nature instead of buying fertilizers. As well, all cover crops reduce erosion, which is very important on our hilly property.
2019 Notre Vue Sparkling Rose of GSM $45.00 / 750 ml
52% Syrah, 32% Grenache, 16% Mourvedre
Vibrant and invigorating, this is the first sparkling Rose ever produced by Notre Vue. The combination of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre provides an alluring mouthfeel with wonderful fruit tones. Subtle aromas of stone fruit radiate from the glass, harmonizing with the tart raspberry and strawberry notes on the palate. Pairs immaculately with fresh peach, goat cheese, and arugula salads, brie with apricot compote, and raspberry sorbet.
2019 Notre Vue Chardonnay $49.00 / 750 ml
A wonderful new addition to our family of Chardonnays, we are happy to announce this brand-new release. Brimming with bright golden apple, Bose pear, and yellow peach, the fruit is balanced by understated touches of caramel, vanilla, and spice. A perfect pairing for seafood lovers, try the 2019 Notre Vue Chardonnay with baked salmon over creamy pasta, seared sea scallops, or grilled sablefish.
This Pinot Noir is a true reflection of the Russian River Valley and of our Estate. A lush explosion of Bing Cherry and ripe strawberry emanate from the glass, giving way to a complex array of secondary characteristics. Hints of mushroom, forest floor, cedar, and cocoa powder combine with the fruit, delivering a wonderful experience from the first sip until the bottle runs dry. This Pinot works wonders with wild mushroom risotto, aged cheddar or gouda, and grilled chicken with pesto pizza.
Additionally, we planted 4 fallow areas with spring-blooming wildflowers in order to attract beneficial pollinators and predatory bugs that eat vine/grape damaging invertebrates. There should be a great diversity of flowers this spring/early summer that will be both beautiful and a-buzz with good insects.
Currently our team is pruning the vineyard. This year we are starting with our late-ripening varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre and Petite Verdot because whatever you prune first will typically emerge from dormancy a little earlier due to hormone levels in the plants. By pruning these varieties, we hope to encourage them to wake up a little earlier and that will advance their harvest date correspondingly. We will end our pruning season in the baby vines and in the lowest elevation blocks on the property, which are a little prone to damage in the late spring frosts. By delaying pruning till as late as possible we will be protecting those frost susceptible blocks from waking up until after the risk of freezing has passed.
Here's looking forward to a rainy winter, tall cover crops, and perfect weather during bloom.
From the vineyard,
Patrick Hamilton, Estate Viticulturalist
Fall is in the air and it's one of my favorite times of the year! The leaves are changing to a beautiful shade of red and orange throughout the Notre Vue Estate.
There have been so many exciting things going on at Notre Vue in the last 7 months. Most importantly, Bob's health is back at 1 00% and we have decided to spend more time in Sonoma County and be closer to Jared. We are truly enjoying being in wine country full time!
The wines have been well received by WineEnthusiast, The Sonoma County Harvest Fair, and various publications where we are seeing 90+ point scores and gold medals on Alex's newest wines. Teamwork makes the dream work!
We have a few new team members we would like to introduce:
Jennifer Tusa, Director of Hospitality and DTC - She is available to help you with any venue and event questions and will be making Notre Vue rocking with fun!
Alexandra Reynolds, Brokerage and Wholesale Manager - She will be getting your favorite Notre Vue wines into some of the best spots in Sonoma County.
Peter Wilke, Wine Educator and Sommelier - He's Back! Stop by to say hi and ask him about the new addition to his family (Friday - Sunday)
Patrick Hamilton, Viticulturist- From grape to bottle, it all starts in the soil. Patrick comes to us with a plethora of experience and positivity.
Welcome aboard everyone!
We look forward to seeing you here on your next tasting, hike or private event.
Best wishes, Bob and Renee Stein, Founders
Greetings from the crush pad at Notre Vue Estate. I'm very pleased to present two new releases for you in this fall shipment, the 2019 Balverne Chardonnay and the 2018 Notre Vue Proprietors Red blend. The Balverne Chardonnay is a traditional barrel fermentation with 4 months of sur lie aging in 20% new French oak barrels. This fresh and lively Chardonnay is perfect for all occasions. The second wine is our 2018 Notre Vue Proprietor's Red wine. This is a classical "left-bank" Bordeaux blend made in a traditional manner with all 5 Bordeaux sisters. Not-overpowering, this wine has an abundance of nuanced flavors with a mouth-feel that is smooth as silk. Ready to drink now but this wine will be magical with some time in the bottle. The third wine in your shipment is the 2019 Balverne Rose of Pinot Noir. With all the accolades the Notre Vue GSM Rose has been getting this summer, this beauty has been quietly getting her scores. Wine Enthusiast just rated this wine at 92 points, which is very close to the ceiling for Rose.
I would also like to make you aware of three more 2019 wines that will be released between now and the Holidays. Our 2019 Balverne Pinot Noir will be released in October and it's an easy-drinking, fruit-driven Pinot. Stay tuned for the next release party, featuring our new Sparkling GSM Rose just in time for Thanksgiving Dinner. Finally, we will complete the GSM program with our spicy, exotic GSM red wine. This star features 51 % Grenache, 29% Mourvedre, and 20% Syrah, co-fermented together using native yeast to create this one-of-a-kind offering. Rounding out our one-year programs will be the Notre Vue Pinot Noir & Chardonnay, to be released sometime in December. 2019 Zinfandel, Petite Si rah, and Bordeaux varieties will be blended and bottled next spring and summer.
From the whole team at Notre Vue, please be safe and we hope to see you soon.
Alex Holman, Winemaker
Alex Holman, Estate Winemaker
I'd like to introduce myself, my name is Patrick Hamilton and I was hired as the Estate Viticulturalist in August and look forward to meeting everyone! Within the first week of coming on board we had our first Pinot Noir harvest and I hit the ground running! This year we have three harvest interns and a great, experienced in-house team helping bring me up to speed. It is a year unlike any I've seen before. We are doing our best through this challenging harvest and looking towards how to proceed post-harvest with a positive future in mind.
If you see me on the estate, feel free to stop me and ask any questions!
Always, Patrick Hamilton, Viticulturist
2019 Balverne Rose of Pinot Noir $24.00 / 750 ml
This delicate wine offers aromatics reminiscent of watermelon, orange rind, and morning roses. Fruity on the palate, the crisp acidity balances flavors of strawberries, guava, and white peach. Try this Rose with a fresh goat cheese salad, seafood, or lightly grilled summer fruit. Be careful, though ... it's so refreshing that on a hot day you'll be reaching for that second bottle in no time!
2019 Balverne Chardonnay $35.00 / 750 ml
Our 2019 Balverne Chardonnay displays aromas of ripe green & golden apples, lemons, butterscotch, and marshmallow. The rich palate follows with a variety of orchard fruits, melons, lemons, and a lingering hint of spice. Full-bodied but still crisp, this wine will pair beautifully with everything from roast chicken to summer fruit salads.
The 2018 Notre Vue Proprietor's Red Blend is a classic combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. It offers aromas of black currants, plums, elderflower liqueur, pencil shavings, and vanilla bean. The palate follows with cassis, ripe red fruits, chocolate, and firm tannins.
Jennifer here! Following the safety protocols that COVID has set into our new world has been new terrain; however, what a beautiful place to escape to here at the Estate. I've come up with some new micro-events in case you're in the mood to host a small soiree on The Terrace on Block 23 or at the Lakeside Pavilions for any occasion, as we've certainly figured out how to host each of you safely. Please reach out for lunch, dinner, or social noshes.
In case you weren't aware of some recurring events, here's a list:
Tuesday Nights - Yoga with Venus Harper, owner/instructor of Samadhi Sanctuary Yoga & Wellness. Best class ever! Dustin Saylor brings his live music followed by a tasting of our wines.
Strike a pose, take a hike, enjoy a sip - Wellness & Hiking Series hosted by Dawn Justice, an instructor at ParkPoint Health Club
Check our website for current and updated event information!
Paired with 2018 Notre Vue Proprietors Red Blend
For the Polenta:
Bring chicken stock to a boil and whisk in 1 cup of polenta. Return to a boil, whisk vigorously, and lower heat to a simmer. Continue whisking until cooked. Add grated parmesan cheese, combine, and season to taste with salt & pepper. Spread the polenta into an even layer about 3/4" thick, let cool, then chill completely.
For the Plum Sauce: Puree the plums with a bit of water to thin. Pass the pureed mixture through a sieve to remove large pieces, then through a fine sieve to remove smaller pieces. Set aside. Sweat shallots, thyme, and black pepper in a small saucepan until they are soft and fragrant. Add ₣ cup of ruby port wine, nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon and let reduce for a minute or so. Add the reserved plum puree and bring it to a simmer. Season with more black pepper, finely chopped thyme, and salt to taste. Add a splash of lemon juice to balance the sauce. Run the whole mixture through a fine sieve one last time. Swirl in a spoonful of demi-glace and place in a small saucepan to keep warm.
For the pheasant:
Remove the pheasant from any packaging and rinse thoroughly. Chop the herbs very finely, add cracked black pepper, and mix to create an even blend. Rub your fingers liberally with softened butter and gently work the skin away from the meat. Use your fingers again to distribute the herb mixture evenly under the skin. Don't go overboard here. Once you've gotten the herb mixture distributed under the skin, liberally rub the exterior with butter, sprinkle the bird with kosher salt, and truss the legs. Either grill over indirect heat or roast in the oven until cooked - usually about 45 minutes at 425 degrees. After resting, quarter the bird and tent with foil to keep warm.
Cut the chilled polenta into 4" squares and lightly oil one side with olive oil. Grill over medium heat for 2 minutes. Lightly oil the top of each piece and flip, grilling for another 2 minutes. Remove the polenta from the grill, place a quarter bird on the square, and sauce the plate according to your personal preference.
Don't forget to take a picture of your finished plate and tag us on social media!
We're excited to officially launch our Virtual Tasting Series!
During this time of turbulence, it's nice to sit back with a glass of wine and feel normal for a bit. With that in mind, we've put together a few packages to allow you to do just that. Our Virtual Tasting packages are designed to give you a glimpse into the Notre Vue & Balverne wines YOU find most interesting.
Our options include:
Our reds package. This box includes a bottle each of our 2019 Balverne Rose of Pinot Noir, 2018 Balverne Reserve Pinot Noir, and our 2017 Notre Vue Proprietor's Red Blend.
As you might guess, this is all whites & bubbles! A package to get you through the coming warm months, this box will include a bottle each of our Notre Vue Non-Vintage Brut Sparkling, 2018 Balverne Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, and our 2017 Balverne Chardonnay.
An overview of the Balverne brand, this package includes a bottle each of 2018 Balverne Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, our 2017 Balverne Chardonnay, and our 2018 Balverne Reserve Pinot Noir.
All of our packages are reasonably priced and the shipping is only $5 per box! Additionally, the first 10 orders placed will receive a complimentary Eau de Vie Tasting here at Notre Vue Estate after Shelter-In-Place has ended! That's right, join us digitally and we'll reward you with the real thing as soon as we're able.
The Notre Vue Crew
By now you've probably seen that our tasting room is closed, and while you may not be able to come to us we are certainly more than willing and able to come to you! That's why through the end of Sonoma County's "Shelter-in-Place" we're including local delivery for our surrounding communities.
That's right, for the communities of Santa Rosa, Windsor, Healdsburg, and Sebastopol, orders of 6 bottles or more will include "curbside" delivery! For our part, we are respecting current "social distancing" etiquette and are following all of the other recommended precautions. When your wine arrives, it will be as clean as possible! To arrange for curbside delivery, please place your order by emailing Jared at email@example.com. Once your wine has been delivered, we recommend having a glass on the back patio and enjoying one anothers company during this brief pause from our daily routines.
In case you'd like to get out for some fresh air, we're also offering "curbside" pick-up options. You can place your order either through our website or through Cellarpass and we'll have your order ready for you in half an hour. Then just swing by and one of us will happily bring your wine out to you!
With the stormy weather behind us and the sun awakening, we are excited about your next visits. The Block 23 Terrace and Lakeside Pavilions are ready for you, your family and friends to enjoy; Music is in the air and wine is flowing!
Pete has updated the Cultivar food and wine program, and we have to say, it is fantastic! You will have to swing by and give it a try.
Jen has been busy making sure every detail is covered, and every experience is engaging and fun! We are really looking forward to Summer Sundays; you can see the details on the events page.
You may have met Jared, our son. He has been busy working in the background with us. He has committed to the family business and we couldn't be happier!
Last but not least, we have new additions to our hospitality team. Our wine family is growing, as well as new wine members! We can't wait for everyone to meet.
As always, we look forward to your next visit!
-Bob and Renee Stein
It's Springtime at Notre Vue Estate! From a winemaking perspective, this past winter has been a blessing. We've received an abundance of rain, cool weather without any serious freezes and plenty of breaks in the rain to give the soil time to absorb and store the water between storms. We are set. Bring on Spring!
As the change in weather and season brightens our days, the vineyard crew is actively pruning the vines making sure we are ready for budbreak. If you've never pruned a grapevine, you should make an effort to come out and watch our team at work. Pruning certainly has a scientific, botanical basis but it is also an art form. It's easy to whack away at a vine and cut off last year's growth. It is a whole other ballgame to do it correctly, in order to maximize quality and production for each individual plant. Watching pruners at work is like watching a ballet. Each move is graceful and with purpose, each plant an individual with individual needs, all addressed one by one as the artists move steadily down the rows.
While the vineyard team has been hard at work pruning as weather permits, the winemaking team was finishing up Harvest 2018. Our first wines of the vintage are stabilizing in the bottle and will soon be ready for you to taste! Balverne's 2018 Sauvignon Blanc will be hitting your local wine shops shortly, while the Balverne Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and Rose will be available for tasting here at the winery soon. As always, the two reserves offerings sell out fast so mark your calendars and visit us to pick up your allocation. Remember, just before harvest, I suggested 2018 might be the perfect vintage...you be the judge.
Balverne 2016 Reserve Malbec
When I came on board here as the winemaker, I was immediately struck by the quality of the fruit on the property in general and of the Malbec in particular. In fact, so much so, that I lobbied to produce a Malbec to offer our Club Members and winery guests. That dream has come to fruition and I am very proud to announce the release of the Balverne 2016 Reserve Malbec!
A blend of Malbec with hints of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, one is first struck by the intense color of the wine followed immediately by the lush perfume of dark cherries, lingonberry, and spice. Notes of the finest French oak waft seductively in and out, complementing the incredible fruit. Those same characteristics permeate the palate and linger long into the already silky finish.
A perfect complement to grilled duck breast, I can only imagine how wonderful this wine would pair, too, with Lingonberry Sauce served over Swedish Meatballs.
From all of us at Notre Vue Estate Vineyards and Winery, let's welcome spring together with a glass of your favorite Notre Vue and Balverne wines. We look forward to hosting you here in the very near future. A votre santé!
-Michael Westrick, Winemaker
2016 Balverne Reserve Malbec $45.00 /750ml
We are incredibly proud to be releasing the first Malbec ever produced by Notre Vue. While your mind might first go to Argentina when you think about this varietal, our Chalk Hill Reserve is
certain to shatter your belief that great Malbec only comes from South of the equator. Showing a deep, inky purple, the fruit was brought in right at the end of our 5-year drought, resulting in small, concentrated berries. After spending 2 years in 50% new French oak barrels and another 6 months in the bottle, the wine is beginning to express its true identity. Deep fruit, subtle florals, and perfect structure rests under every cork.
2015 Balverne Reserve Chardonnay $33.00 /750ml
Crafting a great bottle of Chardonnay requires artistry, patience, and skill. With a fairly neutral profile, the grape responds well to various winemaking techniques. The Balverne Reserve Chardonnay has been carefully crafted, employing methods such as a secondary,
malolactic fermentation and batonnage to give the wine a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. 12 months in the highest quality French oak
barrels has enhanced the profile, affording the Chardonnay notes of vanilla and nutmeg. Finally, it is impossible to create great wine without quality fruit. Our vineyards have been carefully tended, resulting in beautiful grape clusters and expressive wine.
The Syrah grown on the Estate thrives at one of the highest reaching blocks on the property. Extensive sunshine coupled with
mountaintop breezes allows the grapes to ripen beautifully, delivering a concentrated, dark fruited wine. Aged for two years in 100% new
French oak barrels, the 2015 Rhone blend picks up delicate hints of vanilla bean, espresso, and dark chocolate. The wine is the perfect companion to filet mignon and bacon blue cheese burgers alike.
Hello... Jen here! We have officially released our 2019 Event Calendar and couldn't be more excited. We have been lucky enough to have hosted a handful of great events already this year; there is literally something for everyone, and we are looking forward to seeing you all here this year ... although most of these events are aimed at our locals, we hope to see you here on a future visit. We have something fun going on several times a month, so please check out our website or visit the tasting room for details! We have also updated the tasting experiences on the property, so please grab a friend and come taste the delicious new releases inside our salon, lakeside or overlooking the estate on our Block 23 Terrace. Please visit our events page or contact:
Here is a sneak peek at a few of our upcoming events:
3 pieces white bread, with the crust removed, torn and soaked in whole milk
1 lb. ground beef, 1 lb. pork, and 1 lb. veal
4 Tbl. of butter
1 small minced onion
2 egg yolks
1/2 c. of heavy cream
2 Tbl. of salt
Cracked black pepper
2 tsp. of allspice
1 bowl cold water
2 Tbs. of butter
2 Tbs. of all-purpose flour
3 c. of chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground
112 c. of heavy cream
1 to 2 Tbs. of black
1/4 c. of chopped
Lingonberry jam, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Move the onion to a plate to cool. Wipe the pan with
a paper towel.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground meats, egg yolks, heavy cream, and onion. Add salt, pepper, and allspice.
Squeeze excess milk from the bread and add it to the bowl. Mix gently.
4. With a bowl of cold water standing by, form meatballs 1-inch across. Dip your fingers in cold water to keep the
meat from sticking.
5. Melt the remaining butter in the saute pan and add a layer of meatballs as the foam mellows. Do not over-crowd the pan and shake it occasionally to round out the meatballs. Brown all of the meatballs, in batches, moving them to a large oven safe dish when cooked. Put the dish in the oven for about 20 minutes.
6. Sauce: Pour off most of the fat from the skillet and return it to the heat. Add 2 tbs of butter and swirl it around to coat the pan. Sprinkle in the flour, and stir with a whisk to dissolve the flour into the fat. Pour in the chicken stock and stir to loosen the bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer, stirring, until liquid is reduced and mixture thickens to a sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat and stir in the cream and black currant jam. Add the meatballs to the sauce. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Harvest is finally over and Thanksgiving is coming up quickly. Those of you that follow my blogs will recall that I wrote about “2018 - The Perfect Vintage?” earlier this year. As it turns out, it was exactly that! One of my cellar hands declared this year’s Pinot Noir to be the “best I’ve ever tasted off this property!” And you know something? He’s spot on. It was a perfect vintage and for that we have a lot to celebrate.
And celebrate we will! I’m starting off our Thanksgiving festivities with a Monterey Jack and Goat Cheese Melt with a Roasted Poblano Sauce served with blue tortilla chips and toasted slices of sourdough baguette. The accompanying sipper has to be Balverne’s Sauvignon Blanc, of course. The incredible fruit of this wine, along with the nice acidity, makes it a perfect pairing for this zesty cheese appetizer.
I am opening dinner with Shrimp Tamales and Garlic Corn Cream Sauce. Rich and flavorful, this needs a wine with some richness of its own and some good acidity and Balverne’s Chardonnay is the perfect match! The delicate pear/apple notes of the wine and toasty vanilla notes from the oak barrel aging pop the shrimp and corn masa flavors while the acidity of the wine works wonders with the garlic corn cream.
Gotta have pumpkin on Thanksgiving so next is a Pumpkin Soup spiced up with a dash of chipotle purée. Wine? Just keep working with the Chardonnay. You’ll be stunned!
For the main course I’ve opted for a Barbequed Orange-Garlic Cornish Game Hen with a Cranberry-Mango Sauce paired with Balverne’s 2015 Reserve Pinot Noir, an exquisite wine. Such a great pairing, you simply have to try it for yourself!
Given we’ve already incorporated the requisite pumpkin into the menu, dessert focuses on warm chocolate cakes with dulce de leche centers. Decadent, I know. And what a pairing for the Notre Vue Bordeaux blend or Notre Vue’s Rhône blend. Simply heaven!
Whatever’s on your menu this year, there is a Notre Vue and Balverne wine for every step of the way.
From all of us at Notre Vue Estate Winery, best wishes
for a very Happy Thanksgiving!
(Source: Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill cookbook.)
We held our first Winemaker's Dinner on September 15th at our newly completed Block 23 Terrace. We proudly served our award-winning wines, which were perfectly paired with food by The Cook and the Drummer; a good time was had by all!
The view from the Block 23 Terrace is spectacular and is now available for your enjoyment to host your own special occasion, or to be a part of one of our many upcoming events. You can view photos from the evening in our online photo gallery.
Bob and I are excited to share with you, all of our current news at Notre Vue Estate. It has been a busy year!
We held our first Winemaker's Dinner on September 15th at our newly completed Block 23 Terrace. We proudly served our award-winning wines, which were perfectly paired with food by The Cook and the Drummer; a good time was had by all!
The view from the Block 23 Terrace is spectacular and is now available for your enjoyment to host your own special occasion, or to be a part of one of our many upcoming events. You can view photos of the evening here!
We want to thank you for being part of our journey and commitment to creating many more lifetime memories together.
-Bob & Renee Stein
By the time you read this, we will be just about done with Harvest 2018 and that means another summer has come and gone. I confirmed that this morning by noting a slight nip in the air. I even had a sweater on! The weather is cooling, the days shorter, leaves are changing color ... what better time than now for one last backyard barbeque party?
And what better wine to welcome your guests with than the 2014 Notre Vue White Blend! This seductive wine will stun and amaze your friends, making you look like a world-class sommelier. It is a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier. While neither is an unusual varietal by any means, a blend of the two is not common. But what a wine the two make together! Chardonnay offers the classic ripe pear and baked apple notes with a touch of spice and vanilla from the French oak barrel aging. Add to that a little Viognier offering floral notes, perfume and hints of white nectarine and the result is a very aromatic and complex wine, perfect for an early fall evening in the garden.
And if you are indeed barbecuing, then Balverne's 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is just the ticket. Rich and concentrated with all the great character that Cabernet Sauvignon has to offer, this wine benefits hugely from the addition of a little Malbec. Malbec does particularly well on our property giving us a big, bold, spicy wine loaded with notes of violets and black cherries.
If the coolness of the evening takes you inside to enjoy roast Muscovy duckling or a well-marbled, perfectly cooked standing rib roast, let's pair that up with a glass of Notre Vue's 2014 Bordeaux blend. This classic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, our lush Malbec and a hint of Cabernet Franc was aged in 100% new French oak of the highest caliber all designed to complement the beautiful characters of the best fruit the Estate has to offer. This is a serious wine, one that drinks well today, but will continue to deliver over the next decade. Don't hesitate to tuck a case or two in the cellar.
Lastly, I am incredibly proud to be releasing the 2015 vintage of our Notre Vue Bordeaux blend. Aged for 2 years in 100% new French oak, the blend utilizes all five of Bordeaux's classic varietals - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. In one of the final vintages of the California drought, we were rewarded with small berries yielding concentrated flavors and an impressive tannic structure. With a 90-point score from Robert Parker, the new release of the Notre Vue Bordeaux is certain to be satisfying palates for years to come.
We look forward to welcoming each and every one of you here to the Notre Vue Estate property. See you soon?
Until then ... a votre santé!
-Michael Westrick, Winemaker
2014 Notre Vue Bordeaux Blend $59.00 / 750ml
Complex, ageable, balanced, and delicious; the 2014 Bordeaux style blend has all of the classic hallmarks of an incredible bottle of wine. Dark fruit permeates the blend with notes of blackberry, plum, black cherry and currants radiating from the glass. Two years in French oak deliver a touch of spice and vanilla that linger into the finish. Pairing beautifully with duck breast and short ribs alike, the 2014 Bordeaux Style Blend is the perfect wine to keep you warm this winter.
2014 Notre Vue White Blend $39.00 / 750ml
Chardonnay and Viognier make an unlikely team in this sumptuous blend. Lush aromatics of Bose pear, white lilac, and lemon zest deliver elegance and nuance before the first sip reaches your lips. A balanced touch of buttered toast and spice carry through the mid-palate, mingling with Granny Smith apple on the wine's long, subtle finish. The 2014 Notre Vue White Blend is the perfect companion to seared scallops with wild mushrooms.
This Cabernet is richly layered with flavors of spice: vanilla, allspice, cinnamon, and cardamom, blended with hints of berry, raspberry and cassis flavors from the grapes. The lengthy finish is smooth and well-balanced. This exotic mélange continues to develop during bottle aging. A noteworthy wine will change as you consume it - every swirl and sip will bring forth a new sensory aspect of the wine.
2015 Notre Vue Bordeaux Blend $59.00 / 750ml
There are few things more exciting around the winery than the release of new wine. After waiting an entire growing season, two years as the wine developed in the barrel, and another year in bottle, the 2015 Notre Vue Bordeaux blend is definitely worthy of patience. With notes of cassis, black currants, tobacco, and plum, the blend finishes with a perfect balance of tannin and acid.
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An outstanding wine calls for an outstanding dish to match. With wine as bold as the Notre Vue Bordeaux style blend, nothing compares like a perfect cut of steak. The robust tannic structure is perfect for the richness of the filet, while the blue cheese and port wine sauce provide powerful flavors to compliment the wine.
1 tbsp butter
½ cup white onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp thyme, fresh chopped
¾ cup beef broth
½ cup port wine
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 filet mignon steaks, 1 ½ inch thick ¾ cup blue cheese crumbles
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1. Saute onion, garlic, and thyme in butter until onions are tender.
2. Stir in beef broth and port wine, bring mixture to a boil. Reduce down to ½ cup. Set sauce aside.
3. Preheat oven to 350F
4. In a cast iron skillet, heat oil over high heat and sear both sides of the filets until brown. Place skillet in oven.
5. Roast fillets in the oven for 15 minutes for medium-rare.
6. Remove skillet from the oven and preheat the broiler.
7. Mix blue cheese and breadcrumbs together and sprinkle over fillets.
8. Place filets under the broiler for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is browned and bubbling. Let sit for 10 minutes.
9. Serve with warmed port wine sauce.
As a winemaker I would never, ever suggest, just one week into harvest, that this might be a “perfect vintage.” Why jinx it? Why take the risk of inviting Mother Nature’s wrath so early on when we have so many weeks to go?
So, I won’t. However . . .
We have both lots of Sauvignon Blanc in the barn. Perfect numbers. Our first Pinot Noir came in today and I was just handed the lab report for the lot. Perfect numbers.
By “perfect numbers” I mean the sugar and acid content are ideal for making stellar, well-balanced wine with minimal winemaker intervention. We won’t have to adjust the sugar or the acid and that’s a good thing. Natural is always preferred over making any sort of add or adjustment. Perfect.
And the weather? The forecast is for excellent ripening weather over the next few days then a bit of a cool down that will slow sugar development but will allow flavors to continue to mature. Sunny and dry. Perfect.
Yet I am petrified! How long can “perfect” continue? I’m hoping for about another eight weeks. That’s all I ask. But that is a long time this time of year. There is no reason a heat wave won’t hit us in the near future. The riper fruit gets the more susceptible it is to damage by extreme heat. So, no heat wave, please. Or, heaven forbid, we should get some rain. Ripe fruit, with softer skins, is very susceptible to damage by mold. And mold thrives in moist, damp air. So, no rain, please. Just perfect. That’s all I ask.
This is the life of a winemaker. Faced with perfect conditions for the foreseeable future, here I sit worrying. I’m trying not to think about the weather, though I did just check the forecast again minutes ago, for the nth time today. And its only 10 AM.
The good thing is that, whatever comes our way, I’m ready and that does take the edge off things a bit. This is my thirtieth harvest. If I don’t know how to handle a little adversity by now, there is no hope for me as a winemaker. I keep thinking about the Farmer’s Insurance commercial “We know a thing or two ‘cause we’ve seen a thing or two.” So true. I’m ready for anything. I hope.
The perfect vintage? Could be. Too early to tell but things are looking mighty good out there right now. Though this winemaker, for one, will not ever say that. Not now. Nope. No way.
Harvest 2018 is underway! The first of our Balverne Sauvignon Blanc grapes came in this morning in stunning fashion. We’ve had a beautiful growing season to date with just a bit of a cool snap for the last week or so. While sugars might not accumulate rapidly in the cooler weather, the flavors do continue developing, the result being that I found this year’s Sauvignon Blanc ready to harvest at lower Brix levels (sugar content) than usual.
Why is this good? Because it translates to lower alcohols in the finished wines. You may have heard the adage that “wine grapes benefit from a long hang time.” That means the longer the grapes hang on the vine, the greater the chance flavors will be more concentrated in the fruit at harvest, resulting in a more flavorful wine. While we’re blessed in California with beautiful, warm summers, the heat can sometimes be a little too much of a good thing making sugar accumulation (and therefore potential alcohol levels) run ahead of flavor development. The ideal situation, obviously, is to have maximum flavor development just as the grapes reach that magical sugar content.
For me as a winemaker, a lower alcohol is important as it helps keep the wine “in balance.” Put another way, a wine with an excessively high alcohol will taste “hot” or have an alcohol “bite” to it that may not be pleasing, and that higher alcohol may mask some of the more delicate fruity and floral notes of a wine. Sauvignon Blanc, known for its lighter body and bright, crisp fruit aromas and flavors, most definitely benefits from these lower alcohol levels.
Any winemaker anywhere in the world will always tell you without skipping a heartbeat that “This vintage is the best we’ve ever seen!” Well, you know what, I’ll say that right now about Balverne’s 2018 Sauvignon Blanc. And we haven’t even made the wine yet! Make a note on your calendars to visit Notre Vue Wine Estate in April of next year to taste Balverne’s 2018 Sauvignon Blanc. Trust me, you’ll be stunned! And happy you visited!
Keep tuned to this blog to hear about our upcoming Pinot Noir harvest. The weather for the foreseeable future is ideal and the Pinot Noir grapes are already tasting simply fantastic. In fact, I’m thinking this vintage will be the best we ever seen!
A votre santé, mes amis!
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