A Bottle That’s Worth The Shock

You may or may not know about the historic “Judgement of Paris” wine competition that took place in Paris in 1976. It was there where 9 wines from France and California went head to head in a blind tasting. Shocking a lot of people, mostly the French judges, Chateau Montelena and other California wines won. It was a wonderful time for California wines, putting them on the world map for once and for all.  Of course, they made a movie about it, Bottle Shock. If you haven’t seen it yet, pour a big glass of California Chardonnay and watch it. It is a great true story, great cast and a wonderful soundtrack.

chateau montelenaThe moment I saw this movie I wanted to try Chateau Montelena Chardonnay. Fast forward a few years to this past February. My wonderful husband gave me a bottle for my birthday. I was ecstatic! I was like a kid seeing the Biebs for the first time. The perfect gift for someone like me, gosh my husband knows me so well! The wine is a bit pricier than we like to spend on a weeknight wine, but this was no weeknight wine, this was a special wine that deserved a special dinner. We waited to crack open the bottle on Valentine’s Day.

I had to make sure we had a great meal to accompany the wine. We had gone out the week before to Ted’s Bulletin where my husband had Chicken Picatta pasta and loved it. The pasta was light and fluffy and the chicken and sauce were perfectly balanced. So my husband suggested we try and recreate that dish.  I wasn’t sure how the acidity in the meal would work with the wine, but it didn’t end up being an issue. I found a good recipe for chicken picatta pasta and made some homemade pasta.

The end result was absolutely to die for. One of our new favorite dishes. The most time consuming part is making the fresh pasta, but it is so worth it. It really does make a difference. We opened the Chateau Montelena and had a glass while finishing up dinner. On its own it was heavenly. Floral and citrus notes with melon hovering around. Sipping this wine and you are greeted with lemon and peach, the finish is a creamy smooth end to a citrus start. It paired well with our meal, but honestly just sipping on it would be fine by me. We have a rule, that when we open a nice bottle we have to finish it. It won’t taste the same the next day and I don’t believe in wasting a good wine. We retired to the living room with the last glass and played some backgammon. It was a perfect end to a special evening.

dinner and wine

You can find Chateau Montelena between $40-50. If purchased on the Chateau Montelena site, you’ll be spending $50. My husband purchased it at Total Wine & More for around $45.

Below are the recipes I used to put together Valentine’s Day dinner.

Homemade Pasta ( The Kitchn recipe) – Makes 1 pound

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs

Using a food processor, mix flour and salt. Crack the eggs on top of the flour. Mix for 30-60 seconds. If dry add water, if sticky add more flour. I have had to do both, just depends. Knead the dough on the counter into a smooth ball. Cover in plastic wrap and flatten a bit. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Using a pasta maker, go through the process of rolling out. Start at 0 setting and end on 6 skipping setting in between. Depending on how you want your pasta, either use the fehttuchini attachment or hand cut pasta.

Creamy Chicken Piccata Recipe ( Recipe from The Recipe Critic

4 Boneless thin chicken breasts. Original recipe calls for 4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts.
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup chicken broth
2 whole Lemons
¾ Cup Heavy Cream
¼ cup capers
Chopped parsley, for garnish
1 pound homemade pasta. Original recipe uses angel hair pasta, but the homemade pasta is much fluffier and holds the sauce better.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Salt and pepper each side of the chicken breasts and dredge in the flour. Put the chicken breasts in the skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until it is cooked. Remove from the skillet and set aside on a plate.


Turn the heat to medium low. Add broth, juice from both lemons, heavy cream, and capers. Bring the sauce to a boil and return to medium low heat. Test the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed. Allow the sauce to cook and bubble for about 3 minutes.
Serve the chicken over the cooked pasta and spoon the sauce over both. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.



One Comment Add yours

  1. Jill Barth says:

    Love it! Great post.


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