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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

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'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

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 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 and search for the item of your choice.


  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.

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

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

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


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