Premiere Napa Valley 2015 ended with another record breaking year at $6 million!
I spent an eventful week with Stephen and Chris Corley at five trade tastings representing the State Lane Vineyard in Yountville, Tietjen Vineyard in Rutherford, Yewell Vineyard in St. Helena, the two vineyards in the Oak Knoll District and Next Generation in Wine. Each of these prepared our visiting trade for where to bid on Saturday's big auction day at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.
Monticello Vineyards entered The French Connection under Lot 83 (our lucky number for Jay Corley's age).
Notes from Chris Corley about this wine:
This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2013 vintage currently ages in a custom designed barrel with a French and Virginian barrel head on each side and alternating staves.
We congratuate Gary's Wine & Marketplace for the winning bid at $28K!
Every February, we look forward to attending the Premiere Napa Valley wine auction. PNV is a trade-only wine auction that celebrates the uniqueness of small lot, hand crafted Napa Valley wines. Each winery creates a truly unique blend between 5-20 cases. The lots produced for PNV are one of a kind. They won't be availabel anywhere else. We enjoy tasting through other vintner's lots as much as we enjoy sharing our own with the attendees.
This year we are offering our State Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, aging in a custom designed hybrid barrel, which has alternating staves of French and Virginian oak. This deep, rich and well extracted wine celebrates the travels and experiences of Thomas Jefferson between his native Virginia and France
PNV is always a lively event, always well-attended, with plenty of top quality, unique wines to be tasted. The event is a primary fundraiser for the Napa Valley Vintners, which works hard to promote the Napa Valley appellation. Here is an excerpt from the Napa Valley Vintners website : Proceeds from Premiere Napa Valley support the Napa Valley Vintner's mission to promote, protect and enhance the Napa Valley appellation. Learn more at www.napavintners.com.
In the days leading up to the Premiere Napa Valley auction, there are a number of appellation tastings, which provide winery members an opportunity to showcase the differences of the sub-appellations of Napa Valley to the trade that has come to Napa Valley for this auction weekend. Our family makes wine from four sub-appellations within Napa Valley ...
From south to north ...
OAK KNOLL DISTRICT : In the Oak Knoll District, we have our Monticello Estate Vineyard and Knollwood Vineyard. The winery and Jefferson House are located on the Monticello Estate Vineyard. On these vineyards we grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah. We will be pouring a selection of our Oak Knoll District wines at Southbridge in St. Helena on Friday, February 20 from 1:00-4:00. www.oakknolldistrictofnapavalley.com
YOUNTVILLE : In the Yountville appellation, we grow Cabernet Sauvignon on our certified organic State Lane Vineyard. We will be pouring our State Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon at First Taste of Yountville at The Barrel Room at Vintage 1870 on Thursday, February 19, from 11:00-2:00. www.yountvillewines.com
RUTHERFORD : In Rutherford, we source Cabernet Sauvignon from the Tietjen Vineyard on Niebaum Lane. We will be pouring our Tietjen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon at the Rutherford Dust Society Tasting at Peju Winery, Rutherford on Friday, February 20 from 10:00-2:00. www.rutherforddust.org
ST. HELENA : From our most northern appellation, we source Cabernet Sauvignon from the Yewell Vineyard on Ehlers Lane. We will be pouring our Yewell Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon at the Appellation St. Helena Tasting at The Crystal Room at Raymond Winery, St. Helena on Thursday, February 19, from 2:00-5:00. www.appellationsthelena.com
Maybe we'll see you at one or more of these tastings!
Monticello Vineyards partnered with Rebel Dog for this year's January Flight & Bite
What a fun day of Monticello Vineyards Wines, Hot Dogs and Prizes!
Congratulations to our Superbowl Square Winners!
1st Quarter - Magnum Winners - Kathy and Al Wright
2nd and 3rd Quarter - Magnums Winner - Dave Barry
4th Quarter Grand Prize - Tasting and Lunch with the Corleys on the Jefferson House Terrace - Mike Lloyd
Day of Event Winners' Gifts included Magnums of Wine, Signed Football, Picnic Blanket, Wine Decanters, and Tasting Certificate!
*Special Thanks to Sam Cadelinia for sharing your photos!!*
We are featuring a Vineyard Designated Tasting Experience during the entire month of January. This guided private tasting will introduce you to the unique differences of our 2011 Cabernet Sauvignons from State Lane Vineyard in Yountville, Tietjen Vineyard in Rutherford and Yewell Vineyard in St. Helena. Wines will be paired with select cheeses from Oxbow Cheese and Wine Merchant.
What is a single vineyard?
A single vineyard wine tells a story of place and time for how grapes go from the vineyard to the bottle in a particular year. This is the opportunity for terroir and vintage to express their personality.
The Vineyard Designated Estate wines are grown from specific vineyard blocks in Napa Valley. Our goal is to present as pure an expression as possible from each given vineyard site.
The Wine and Cheese Tasting is offered by appointment in the Jefferson House Cellar for $50 per person. Reserve your tasting now! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-253-2802 x 18
*Photos by Dan Chapin of Left Coast Marketing
The Corley Family and Hospitality Team went off ESPN's '30 for 30' theme for our 2014 Harvest Party. In 2014, we celebrate 30 years of our Jefferson House in addition to 30+ years with our loyal team members: Linde McGee, Brian Crawford, Angel Avina and Refugio Cuevas-Ramirez.
To kick off the event, we greeted guests with a premiere tasting of the 2011 BIG REDS.
Winemaker, Chris Corley, toasted the start to an amazing evening with a welcome speech and brief description of the new fall releases.
Following the toast, everyone cozied their way onto the picnic benches for a family style BBQ catered by Red Rock Cafe. Laughs and tears of joy were shared throughout the meal, which included a touching speech by Linde McGee about her memorable experience working with the Corley Family since 1984.
Founder, Jay Corley, closed out the event while reminiscing over the 30 years of the Jefferson House.
Happy Birthday to the Jefferson House and Congrats to our loyal team members!
Looking forward to celebrating many more years!
Motionsports Artist, Bill Patterson, featured his paintings during the entire month of April in the Jefferson House Cellar and even made an appearance with a live painting demonstration during our Red Line and Red Wine event on April 5.
In addition to the racing theme, Bill’s friend Kevin Chong added a nice bonus to the Cellar with his glass blown art display.
For more information on Bill Patterson, click here
To kick off the event, we hosted a reception to learn the art of painting red line and the art of making red wine! Guests were greeted in the courtyard by the talented local musician, Michael Belair, along with a glass of Montreaux Brut sparkling wine. Bill Patterson and our Winemaker Chris Corley mingled with racing fans and wine enthusiasts during an afternoon of sipping Monticello wine and enjoying small bites catered by Fume Bistro. For those who missed out, you still have another week to view the art on display!
This past weekend, Monticello Vineyards partnered with Sweetpea Catering and Private Chef Services at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone for the 3rd Annual food and wine pairing competition. Thirty-three wineries from Appellation St. Helena (ASH) paired up with either a restaurant/caterer/chef or a CIA student for a delicious taste-off.
The 2010 Corley ‘Yewell Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Jeanna DeMarco’s “Monticello Braised Shortrib with Black Pepper Cream Sauce and Pumpkin Seed Pesto” won First Place in the restaurant/caterer/chef category.
Thank you for all of our cheering supporters and coin droppers!
The year was 1969. Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon; the New York Mets were on their way to their first National League pennant; “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” was topping the year’s box office sales. And an intrepid young Midwesterner, yearning to answer the call of his ancestors, was scouring Napa Valley for the perfect piece of land on which to plant the family flag.
Now, Jay Corley looks back at his 40+ years in the Napa Valley and looks forward to the next generations taking the reins of the Corley Family’s Monticello Vineyards.
In 1969, the Stanford-educated Corley was running a successful publicly traded company in Los Angeles, but wanted to trade his three-piece suit for overalls. After all, farming was in his blood. “Every generation of my family for 400 years has been farmers. As a boy, I loved spending time on my grandfather’s farm in southern Illinois. I just always wanted to get back to farming.”
At the time, Corley’s friend, a wine shop owner in Los Angeles, was developing a piece of property in Yountville. He invited Corley to come for a visit, and Corley was hooked. “I would come up nearly every weekend for nine months to see what was going on here. I would just roam around, get to know people, ask questions. There weren’t many people around, but the ones who were,” as Corley lists the names of contemporary Napa Valley pioneers and icons, “were very helpful.”
A self-described “Burgundy guy” with a taste for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Corley was looking for a place where those varieties would thrive. He found it in an 80-acre prune orchard at the southern end of Napa Valley.
He liked the property’s proximity to the cooling breezes of the San Pablo Bay and the fact that it sat next to the Napa River. “I didn’t think of being on Highway 29 to capture visitors; I wanted to be on the river because I knew access to water would be essential.”
Once the property was cleaned up, Corley didn’t cut corners planting the vineyard. “We used all of the new technology coming out of Davis. We tested the soil everywhere, and we drilled holes in the ground to see how the water was flowing. Then we planted the vines closer together than most people were doing in those days to stress them.”
Things went well enough those first years to make Corley think, “We can do this.” Soon the successful winegrower wanted to build a winery. As a graduate student years earlier, Corley had written a thesis on starting up a winery. He opened his desk drawer, dusted off the old thesis, and got started.
All seven of Corley’s children helped out at the winery during their high school years. But Corley encouraged them to go off, experience the world outside of the winery where they had grown up, and then come back if they wanted.
Kevin Corley, now Winegrower and President, became a successful banker in Los Angeles. Stephen Corley, now the winery’s Director of Sales and Marketing, was a CPA who worked at the accounting firm KPMG before he came back to the winery in 1997. Chris Corley, the youngest of the three, has worked at the winery the longest. Initially aiming to be a marine biologist, Chris eventually decided he would “rather drown in wine than sea water.” He worked in the cellar under other winemakers for 13 years before he earned enough stripes to become Head Winemaker in 2002. Now the three brothers form a harmonious management team. “Three of them is better than one of me,” says the senior Corley.
Jay Corley was a great admirer of Thomas Jefferson, who was not only a founding father but also America’s first great connoisseur. He honored the third President by naming the winery Monticello Vineyards - after Jefferson’s mountaintop home in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 1984, the Corleys built the Jefferson House, a very close replica of Monticello, on the Home Ranch that is now used as office space and to entertain guests. The four acres of grounds surrounding the Jefferson House are comprised of the same trees, shrubs and flowers Thomas Jefferson planted at Monticello.
Savor the Taste, Experience the Hospitality
In the quaint, rustic tasting room, the staff pours a little bit of everything the Corleys produce from 80 acres of vines on the Home Ranch in the Oak Knoll District as well as four other estate vineyards in Napa Valley. With 30 vintages under their belts, the Corleys like to show off their library wines in reserve tastings in the Jefferson House. Slip into the comfortable black leather chairs and enjoy a flight of our wines, “People come for one or two wines,” Stephen Corley says, “but they usually leave with it all!”
"We just hosted our 2nd Annual Wine & Cupcake Pairing. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to taste and cast their votes. It was a competitive day of tasting, brain power and decision making over the favorite cupcake flavor in addition to the best wine and cupcake pairing. May the best cupcake win...
To give you a little background, Kevin Corley's daughter, Isabella, introduced three amazing flavors to pair alongside our Monticello wines. At the start of the day, she and her brother, Hayden, teamed up in the Jefferson House kitchen to ice up the cupcakes and to add special toppings such as crispy bacon and sugared pearls.
Guests joined in on the fun throughout the day and voted on which of the three flavors best suited their palates. Creative minds and adventurous wine tasters helped us decide on the best.
Here are the final results of the cupcake and wine pairing competition. Now you can try them at home after making your next trip to Monticello Vineyards:
Lemon Buttercream Cupcake (1st Runner Up)
2011 Monticello Vineyards Estate Grown Chardonnay
Maple Bacon Cupcake (Winner!)
2009 Monticello Vineyards Estate Grown Merlot
Red Velvet Cupcake (2nd Runner Up)
2010 Monticello Vineyards Jefferson Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon
Although it was a close call, Maple Bacon won for the second year in a row by a single vote!
It all came down to our cupcake tie breakers!
The Corley Family with Stephen Corley ('90) and Kevin Corley, Father of Hayden Corley ('17), hosted Southern Methodist University's 4th Annual San Francisco Alumni Chapter Wine Tasting at Monticello Vineyards this past weekend. It was a beautiful sunny day with a nice breeze to keep it cool yet comfortable for an outdoor party in the Napa Valley.
The event took place on the East Lawn and included activities for the whole family. Everything was decorated in red and blue to honor the SMU Mustangs including a giant SMU banner to welcome the guests at the registration table where they were greeted by Kurt Pottkotter, SMU Executive Director, National Major Giving Programs.
The wine tasting and entertainment lasted from 1pm to 4pm with the live band New Copasetics on the terrace, a face painter and balloon artist to entertain children and Gerard’s Paella hauling their huge pan of ingredients to create their famous mixed paella.
Monticello poured the 2011 Estate Chardonnay, 2010 Estate Pinot Noir and 2010 Jefferson Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon while guests mingled with Stephen and Kevin Corley throughout the day.
It was a real treat for me to be a part of, as well, being a graduate of the class of 2009. We look forward to future events with the SMU Mustangs. Pony up!