Skip to main content

Napa Valley's 2018 Frog's Leap 'Shale and Stone' Chardonnay + Chips and Guac #FoodNFlix

 

Today, I am sharing a recipe inspired by the movie Bottle Shock because this month's Food'N'Flix is being hosted by Debra at Eliot's Eats.  And her choice - and our assignment this month is - Bottle Shock. Read her announcement: here.

I have seen several movies about California wines and they have been hit and miss for me. I don't know if I'm more critical of how movie makers portray my home state, but I'm about fifty-fifty on whether or not I enjoy a movie about wines set here.

For example, I despised Sideways and found Wine Country surprisingly serious (read my post A Surprisingly Somber Chick Flick + a Quintessential NapaValley Floor Cab); but I adored A Walk In the Clouds and made Charred Grapes on a Cloud for a #FoodNFlix post several years back. And Bottle Shock falls into the 'love' category. 

I watched Bottle Shock when it first came out in 2008 and I've probably seen it a handful of times since then. But I did watch it recently for this month's event. After I watched it a few years ago, I did read Judgment of Paris by George M. Taber.* Who doesn't love a good underdog story, right?


On the Screen
image from amazon.com

So, I already mentioned that this is an underdog story, but I don't think I've mentioned that this movie is based on a true story. However, it turns out that the movie makers used lots and lots of artistic license when it came to telling the story of how, in 1976, a bottle of Chardonnay from the Napa valley bested the French competitors in a blind tasting in France! From the stereotypical portrayals of snooty French to hippy Californians...and from the period vehicles to the dusty, undeveloped Napa valley landscapes, I loved it all.

One of my favorite scenes and exchanges...when Steven Spurrier (played by Alan Rickman) visits Chateau Montelena.

Jim Barrett: Why don't I like you?
Steven Spurrier: Because you think I'm an arsehole. And I'm not, really. I'm just British and, well... you're not.

I think this charming movie is a favorite with wine lovers, especially those from California, because it celebrates when California burst into the wine scene and was cemented as a serious winegrowing and winemaking region in the world.

Napa Valley Chardonnay
 

I already mentioned that the movie was based on a true story. And, it turns out, Chateau Montelena is still making wine...but a $60 bottle of Chardonnay is a wee bit out of my price range. In fact, I rarely pour Napa Valley wines for two reasons. First, Napa Valley wines are notoriously pricey; second, I'm not much for the jammy Cabs and oaky Chards. I know that that is painting the area with a pretty broad brush, but it's usually true. So, I typically venture to other appellations when I am looking for a California wine. 

But, for this event, I had to buy a Napa wine. And I'm glad that I did. It was still a bit pricey for a mid-week wine. However, we thoroughly enjoyed the 2018 Frog's Leap Shale and Stone Chardonnay with several different dishes.

Frog's Leap Shale and Stone Chard

I'll start with a bit about Frog's Leap which is a family-owned winery that calls Rutherford home now though it began on the Frog Farm along Mill Creek. Now, forty years into production, winemakers John Williams, Paula Moschetti, and Rory Williams hand-craft an astonishing 65,000 cases of wine, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Merlot, and an estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon. Having been certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) since 1988, they are leaders in the industry. They rely on crop rotation, compost, and biological pest controls to keep their soils and vineyards healthy.

'Shale and Stone' describes the vineyard's ancient fractured shale soils while the 'stone' refers to the extended sur lie aging in concrete. This wine surprised me as I was expecting an overbearing, oaky California Chardonnay that borders on too fruity and sweet. This was anything but that. It was amazingly crisp and fresh with aromas of nuts and unripe stone fruits. What a delicious surprise!

Chips and Guac

I was inspired by the scene when a winemaker brings Spurrier a bowl of guacamole along with his wine. Done. There's hardly a recipe for guacamole...it's more of a what-do-I-have kinda process. But I'm always up for some hand-smashed guac...and I had just picked up these bacon avocados from local-to-me Serendipity Farms. 

Ingredients serves 4

  • 2 ripe avocados (I used bacon avocados)
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste (I used 1-1/2 lemons)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon chopped, seeded jalapeño (optional)
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Also needed: chips for serving

 
Procedure
Slice the avocados in half. Remove the pit and scoop out the insides into a small mixing bowl. Mash with a fork or potato masher. Add in the garlic, cumin, and lemon juice. Fold in the jalapeño if you are using it. Then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately with your favorite kind of tortilla chips.


*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Comments

  1. I had to order up the Chateau Montelena after watching this film. It was my first time. It was very good but definitely not $60 good LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love. Have you seen Harvest Season? I loved it too (with it's Bottle Shock connection.). Thanks for posting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I splurged too but haven't opened the Montelena. I hope I enjoy it more than Wendy!

      Delete
  3. Chips and guac with a nice wine sounds wonderful!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

#comfortfood: Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco with Bean Ragout

As one of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day Ambassadors ( I'm the Monterey #FRD2014 rep! ) I will be sent a copy of his latest cookbook - to cook from and write about. I can't wait. I do have to laugh though, because its title is  Comfort Food . And, according to a good friend:  I only make uncomfortable food . Oh, well. I can learn! To celebrate launch day - today - I'm sharing one of the recipes. Here's Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco alla Milanese recipe from his new cookbook, Comfort Food. And here's my adaptation. I typically don't eat veal, so I went to our local butcher for some lamb shanks sliced into an osso buco-style cut; but they had just sold their last shanks. Darn. But then I noticed the "never tethered...free to roam" on the veal package and decided to go for it. I added in shelling beans to make a ragout and served it over wild rice instead of risotto. Also, I used lots of different herbs in my gremolata instead of just pa