Meet Monticello Vineyards, your new favorite winery in Napa

Winemaker Chris Corley told great stories, humbly answered all questions and guests were introduced to a boutique Napa winery they had never heard of. The wines, great on their own, “sang” when paired with the outstanding cuisine of El Rincon Criollo. The biggest and most pleasant surprise was an off menu item- a last minute substitution when the 2018 Merlot went AWOL. Monticello dug deep into their library and treated the diners to a 2011 Bordeaux blend in its place. Wow!!    

Best Wine

Most popular wine of the evening was the 2011 Bordeaux blend.  While it already had 11 years of bottle age and was certainly ready to drink, the big dog in the kennel could easily go another 5-7 years and not miss a beat. The nose was lovely, the taste was exciting and it was a true “crowd pleaser” in every sense of the word.  No one asked where the Merlot was!

Wine and Food Pairing highlights

The best pairing of the night was the 2019 Monticello Cabernet Sauvignon, Jefferson Cuvee paired with a balsamic-glazed Lamb T-bone over eggplant puree.  This young cab had the tannins and backbone to stand up to the lamb dish but did not overwhelm it. The texture of the lamb and the vino was a lovely complimentary pairing. The hint of smoke in the Cab was also present in the eggplant so that further enhanced the pairing and had every guest smiling. Overall, Chef Jason and his culinary team did a fine job pairing these food-friendly wines with their gourmet cuisine.  We will be back at El Rincon in the fall. Hope to see you there!

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Duck Ragu with Pappardelle pasta tasted great and paired well with the 2011 Bordeaux blend

Monticello’s winemaker Chris Corley shares his wine making philosophy and answers questions

El Rincon owner Jason Graff shares a glass with Winemaker Chris

Lucky guest Dan I., (left) with Winemaker Chris, won a great bottle of Monticello to take home.

Gourmet Wine Getaways

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