Elevate Your Wine Selections this Holiday Season

First and foremost, let me start by saying how grateful we are at Top Flight Wine Club. Our wineries and our consumers alike, we appreciate all the support throughout the last two years. Without each, we wouldn’t be here today and we’re thankful.

Alright, the wines. We had a lot of fun selecting these and had a jam packed tasting schedule this fall. The wine selections come from a wide range of producers in this business and we are fortunate to get our hands on these wines. The selections were tough and the outcome was exactly what we were looking for when putting together the December shipment.

We tasted a TON of wines and are quite pleased with the selections for this quarterly shipment. Enjoy the wines and thank you for the ongoing support.

Purchase these wines on our website or join the club to secure this selection.

2021 Patent Wines Sauvignon Blanc, Yountville Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

This producer creates exceptional wines of distinction and excellence from specific varietals within an AVA.

Situated on the west side of Napa Valley, just south of the town of Yountville, Miller Ranch is an old vineyard that sits flat on the valley floor. The Sauvignon Blanc planted here enjoys full days of sun, unshaded from the hillsides, and by design, the vineyard has a few Muscat vines sporadically intermingled amonst the rows making it truly unique.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Aromas of lemon/lime and honey suckle with a touch of vanilla and tropical notes. Lime zest and juicy acidity, ripe flavors linger on the palate. Finishes with a charming touch of nutmeg. I think this wine will speak for itself!

Producer: Patent Wines

Region: Yountville Napa Valley, California

Grape Varietals: Sauvignon Blanc

2019 D’Avino Family Aglianico Suisun Valley, California

Why We Love This Wine:

Some people live off the land. Some have devoted their lives to studying it. Paul Skinner does both. With a PhD in viticulture and soil science, Paul has a deep understanding of how soil and climate impact grape growing. After two decades consulting on all aspects of growing super premium quality wine grapes, Paul began producing his own wine in 2003. His “Sequum” wines, named for a science term describing the sequence of layers in a soil, combine his scientific knowledge with artisanal sensitivity and an unparalleled vision.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

This fruity but tight and well-focused wine blends bright red and black cherries, tart blueberries and subtle smoke and black-pepper nuances. Tannins are moderate and the mouthfeel is on the lean, appetizing side.

Producer: Sequum Wines

Region: Suisun Valley, California

Grape Varietals: Aglianico

2018 Crosshatch Wines Unveil Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, California

Why We Love This Wine:

All of the wines produced by CrossHatch Winery are co-fermented blends sourced from Santa Barbara County vineyards. CrossHatch was created in 2011 by winemaker Ryan Carr. After making only single varietal wines for eleven years, Ryan wanted to try something different. He and his wife Jessica came up with the idea for CrossHatch, inspired by the classic form of art. Cross hatching is an artistic technique that uses closely spaced intersecting lines to create shading, definition, and form in a drawing.

Carr took this technique and adapted it into the winemaking process by harvesting multiple varietals on the same day, then crushing and fermenting them together. Some of the best and oldest wines in the world are made this way, but with the microclimates of Santa Barbara it really adds another layer to the process. Co-fermentation brings out and creates flavors in the wine that would not have existed otherwise. This makes the CrossHatch wine truly one of a kind. Only 1000 cases are produced each year.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Put simply, to “Unveil” is to uncover a physical object or idea. This co-fermented blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah reveals a winemaking secret. A widely practiced technique not regularly spoken of, rather kept unknown, is the 5% percent addition of Syrah to Pinot Noir. The Syrah adds complexity and depth to the fruitful Pinot Noir. The wine is light ruby in color with hints of roasted strawberry, ripe plum, an earthy mid-palate with a touch of spice.

The Unveil is a red wine blend made of 95% Pinot Noir from Hilliard Bruce Vineyard and 5% Syrah from Kærskov Vineyard. The grapes were picked, crushed, and co-fermented together and then aged for two years in French oak barrels.

Producer: Crosshatch Winery

Region: Santa Barbara, California

Grape Varietals: Pinot Noir and Syrah

2016 Paloma Vineyard Merlot, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

Located five miles northwest of St. Helena, Paloma is a small estate compared to other big names of Spring Mountain District. Perched atop a ridge between Bald Mountain to the south and Diamond Mountain to the north, the vineyard is off-the-beaten-track so to speak.

The topography of this area has its own weather patterns. It’s the coolest, wettest place in the Napa Valley. Springs appear everywhere after a good rain, hence the area’s name. The combination of the summer heat and low pressure from the cool coastal air lengthens the growing season into late fall. The prolonged hang time – several weeks longer than warmer Napa Valley floor – add resonance and concentration to the resulting small clusters.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

The 2016 is a blend of Merlot (85%) with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon (15%). It is fermented in French oak—33% new—for 18 months before being bottled in the spring, then bottle-aged for an additional 30 months before release.

Complex aromas of black berry fruits, black stone fruits, chocolate, tobacco, spice and floral notes with a mineral overtone. On the palate the wine has a big silky mouth feel, well balanced, with flavors of berries, fruit, cocoa, cassis, and spice, and a long spicy finish.

Producer: Paloma Vineyard

Region: Napa Valley, California

Grape Varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Ondule Esme’ Red Wine, Coombsville Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

The love of wine and recognition of its role in their family inspired them to create a brand we could all enjoy. In Ondulé , they combined the old-world style with new-world organic grapes, the result of which is a timeless collection of wines to be enjoyed together on any occasion.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Elegant, rich flavors of black currant, blackberry and dark chocolate mingle with intoxicating sweet tobacco aromas on the nose.

The palate opens with silky dark plum notes developing into a coffee and mild leathery finish. Cassis, sage, and cocoa powder are present underneath the brambly, slightly smoky presence of the Alicante Bouschet, whose red skin flesh imparts the beautiful dark amethyst cast.

Producer: Ondule Cellars

Region: Coombsville, Napa Valley, California

Grape Varietals: Primary Red Bordeaux Varietals, Alicante Bouschet

2018 BACA Wines Somersault Zinfandel, Pacini Vineyard Mendocino County California

Why We Love This Wine:

BACA is Latin for berry, so that’s where they started. Bounding headlong into some of California’s most noted growing regions—Calistoga, Russian River, Rockpile, Howell Mountain, and Paso Robles—they sourced the most intriguing fruit for their wines. Grapes from gorgeously old vines and historic areas, which they transformed using masterful winemaking techniques into wines that reflect the unique places in which they’re grown. The result is 8 complex, charismatic Zinfandels, and a few other delectable curveballs. All of which pair beautifully well with both food and adventure.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

The 2018 BACA Somersault is everything we love about Old Vine Zinfandel. It is powerful, yet elegant. The wine leads with delicate, floral aromas of white pepper and rose hips. Pure, vibrant fruit flavors of blackberry and raspberry coulis follow. The finish is energetic with the signature minerality of these 100-year old vines. Fresh, round and polished, this is a serious wine with structure. It is luxurious now, and will age beautifully.

Producer: BACA Wines

Region: Mendocino, California

Grape Varietals: Zinfandel

‘Tis the Season… for Amazing Wine!

First and foremost, let me start by saying how grateful we are at Top Flight Wine Club. Our wineries and our consumers alike, we appreciate all the support throughout the last two years. Without each, we wouldn’t be here today and we’re thankful.

Alright, the wines. We had a lot of fun selecting these and had a jam packed tasting schedule this fall. The wine selections come from a wide range of producers in this business and we are fortunate to get our hands on these wines. The selections were tough and the outcome was exactly what we were looking for when putting together the December shipment.

We tasted a TON of wines and are quite pleased with the selections for this quarterly shipment. Enjoy the wines and thank you for the ongoing support.

Purchase these wines on our website or join the club to secure this selection.

2014 Buselli Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

The Buselli Family’s vineyard is nestled on the oak studded eastern slopes of the Vaca Mountain range.  Here, the vines draw their essence from the rocky, volcanic soils, long sunny days, and the gentle, fog-infused mornings. The wines that come from this micro-region above the Silverado Trail show unique flavors and distinct characteristics.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

The 2014 vintage was an exceptional year in Napa Valley and at our Oakville vineyard. This wine, produced from Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 8 grown on 110R rootstock, is sourced exclusively from the Buselli Vineyard on the eastern slopes of the Oakville appellation. Sustainable farming practices, low yields, and minimalist winemaking, by Tim Milos, have allowed the voice of this vineyard to shine through. The wine is round with rich black fruit flavors of plum, blackberry, currant and hints of spice leading to an elegant finish. The wine is finely balanced and approachable now.

Producer: Buselli Family

2019 Montagne Russe Claire-Obscure Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

They specialize in small-production wines from in northern California, typically cooler climate locations.  They hand-pick relatively tiny vineyards that truly specialize in their craft and produce exceptional grapes.  Their simple philosophy… Great Vineyards. Great Winemaking. Great Wines. 

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

This Cabernet opens up with blueberries, cedar, rum, and brown sugar. On the palate – Bing cherry, cassis, espresso, cedar and cocoa powder. It’s big and rich, yet has tamed tannins with a berried acidity to keep you coming back for more.

Producer: Montagne Russe

2018 Patel Red Wine, Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

PATEL Wines’ first release was 100 cases of a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate reviewed the wine, scoring it a 95, and The Wine Advocate has scored the subsequent vintages at 94 or above. A successful follow up was the introduction of a Right Bank Bordeaux-style red wine in 2008.

After years of research and cultivating relationships with growers, PATEL was able to add limited-production wines to the brand, including a Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon, a Atlas Peak Malbec, and a Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc. Current total production is around 1,000 cases and sells out each year. One common thread… unrelenting attention to detail.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

The 2018 Red Wine, composed predominantly of Merlot from Atlas Peak, is consistent with previous years bottlings.  Merlot brings forward elegant texture and red fruit characteristics including Bing cherry, and red plum.  Cabernet Sauvignon reinforces the tannin structure.  The blend between the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon creates balanced concentration and drinkability.

Producer: PATEL Wines

Vineyard Selections with Flare – Elite and Flight Club September Selections

The selections here come from our recent Spring and Summer wine tastings and visits with some under-the-radar wineries and winemakers. The results of those conversations? Three amazing wines in this wine club selection.

We tasted a TON of wines and are quite pleased with the selections for this quarterly shipment. Enjoy the wines and thank you for the ongoing support.

Purchase these wines on our website or join the club to secure this selection.

2019 Jax Cellars Block 3 Cabernet Sauvignon, Calistoga Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

JAX Vineyard’s Block 3 has always produced the best fruit of our JAX Estate in northern Calistoga. This is an intense expression of our unique red rock, alluvial soil at the base of Mount Saint Helena. Making it’s debut in the 2013 vintage, this wine has repeatedly scored 94 to 97pts from numerous critics. This wine will be a treasure to anyones private cellar.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

The fruit was hand picked and gently processed using our state-of-the-art Pellenc sorting and destemming system. The pristine, whole berry fruit was fermented in a concrete tank fermenter. Time on skins lasted 15-30 days. All Jax wines are produced using 100% native spontaneous yeast. This wine will drink well for 15+ years. 

Producer: Jax Cellars

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Mushroom Rissotto, Braised Short Ribs with root vegetables.

2017 Ehret Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Bavarian Lion Vineyard, Knights Valley California

Why We Love This Wine:

They have been farming top quality Bordeaux varietals since 1996, selling much of their fruit to prestigious wineries in the Napa Valley. In 2005, they decided to reserve their highest quality grapes for their own brand, Ehret. While they sell many of their grapes to prestigious producers, they reserve specific blocks that go into their own brand. We were fortunate to be able to capture some of their top Cabernet Sauvignon

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon brings you in with a nose of freshly muddled blueberries and huckleberries. While a linear nose and lighter entry on the mid-palate are reminiscent of a stuffy headmaster, a slight sweetness reveals itself as the wine evolves on the palate and gives way to some decent density. Wreathed in a dank cedar note, the wine evolves to reveal an interesting intermingling of flavors such as cranberries, cereal grains and cocoa powder.

Producer: Ehret Wines

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Well, this went with a cheese board and loved every minute of it.

2018 Kukeri Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder, Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

The unique terroir of the Mount Veeder produces wines that are typically powerful in structure. The grapes for our signature 2018 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon is coming from the Hillwalker vineyard located within 1000 feet elevation. The steep slopes, sedimentary clay and volcanic soils of this dry farmed vineyard is producing grapes with small berries and intensely concentrated mountain fruit flavors.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

True to the Mount Veeder appellation, this 2018 Kukeri Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits dark concentrated fruit flavors of wild blueberries, black currants and cigar box and well-integrated fine-grained tannins with excellent lingering acidity. Big, bold with inky purple-black color, packed with black plumps, accented by exotic spices and earthy accents. A hint of forest, cedar, and dark roast espresso flavors also combine these aromatics to create this massively rich full-bodied mountain Cabernet Sauvignon finishing with epic length and beautifully lifted.

Producer: Kukeri Wines

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

We paired it with a flank steak lightly salted.

Did Someone Say, Argentina? – September Cadet Wine Selections.

Coming across hidden gems requires some patience and a lot of conversations. This offering has the most variety we’ve ever offered in one single shipment. The common thread? The wines are outregously underpriced for their quality. That’s not our problem, but don’t go sharing this too much with others, the wines are limited in production and are bound to sell out.

We tasted a TON of wines and are quite pleased with the selections for this quarterly shipment. Enjoy the wines and thank you for the ongoing support.

Purchase these wines on our website or join the club to secure this selection.

2021 Meadowcroft Chardonnay, Carneros Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

The winery proudly focuses on a wide array of beautiful varietals, from Cabernet Sauvignon grown on their estate vineyard property located on the esteemed Mount Veeder in Napa, to Bordeaux grapes scrupulously sourced from sustainable vineyards around Dry Creek, Carneros, and Alexander Valley, they happily direct a global dialogue into their winemaking process. Their hope is to create wines with a Sonoma pulse that express the complexity found in European varietals. 

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

A lush and aromatic wine, our 2021 vintage of our Carneros Chardonnay is delightfully complex, with notes of melon and stone fruit framed by primary flavors of apple and lemon peel. Secondary suggestions of grilled bread cheese, mustard seed, pear, and white pepper follow. The finish is rich and extended, with hints of toasted marshmallows.

Producer: Meadowcroft

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

This wine will carry you through pairings for elegant entertaining, weeknight dinners, and everything in between.  Seafood is always an easy pairing with this wine. Try also with a selection of cheeses with higher acidity like goat cheese or Jarlsberg. In general, choose to serve with foods that are light and a tad rich. 

2020 Limerick Lane Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County

Why We Love This Wine:

Maybe the rocks, the dirt, the morning fog and the afternoon sun come together in this place a little different than anywhere else.  It may even be all of these special characteristics combined, but the Zinfandel grown at the end of this little lane is undeniably special, undeniably unique, and undeniably “Limerick Lane.”

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

While seamless and with an unparalleled clarity of flavor and aromas, there is also an undeniable gravity that Limerick Lane Zinfandel seems to exude. On those you capture the blackberry, dark cherry and tobacco leaf. The mouth follows with strawberries, raspberrys, hints of gravel. Top it all off with a polished, medium bodied wine with a lingering finish.

Producer: Limerick Lane.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Fire up the grill and load up burgers or lamb chops. This wine pairs will with more casual meals and a second glass after dinner.

2018 Medlock Ames Estate Red blend, Alexander Valley California

Why We Love This Wine:

The alchemy and artistry of blending is something that challenges and motivates us as winemakers. Taking individual varietal components and then blending them into a seamless whole while ensuring that their characteristics are well represented. Not to mention that these wines consistently score in the mid-90s each year, Medlock Ames makes incredible wines.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

A full bodied red blend domiated by Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate, this wines brings classic bordeaux characteristics and abundant california fruit. Red Cherry, white pepper, subtle oak, blueberry, cassis. A balanced finish and a wine worth aging if you’re patient for 5-7 years.

Producer:

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Gamey Meats, slow cooked and braised meats.

2012 Hand of God Syrah, Uco Valley, Argentina

Why We Love This Wine:

A boutique winery from Argentina’s most highly-rated and acclaimed winemaker, Santiago Achaval and Seattle Entrepreneur Jon Staenberg, formed by a shared passion for unique wines of extraordinary quality.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Syrah comes in many shapes and styles, from jammy and fruity to the other extreme of earthy and lean. This Syrah splits the difference, with a vibrant spiciness that is contrasted with a ripeness and depth that gives the wine a few different layers of character. Subtle notes of black coffee and 85% dark chocolate lurk in the background. After an hour of decanting expect to notice a creamier texture with more apparent notes of vanilla and cinnamon. 

Producer: Hand of God Cellars

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

We paired it with a flank steak lightly salted.

2017 Vezer Family Vineyard Cassie Petite Sirah, Suisun Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

A family run business just outside of Napa Valley, these guys produce great wines and are consistently getting positive reviews from critics all around the country. Slightly different varietals from regions flanking Napa and Sonoma offer great value and consistentcy vintage after vintage.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Deep in color and potent in aromas, this full bodied and firmly tannic wine shows complex cedar, tobacco and violet aromas, has a good core of blackberries and black plums and mouth coating texture.

Producer: Vezer Family Vineyard

2017 Ehret Family Bellarina Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

Winemaker is Erin Green who was the Director of Winemaking at Pahlmeyer from 2000-2012. Prior to that she worked alongside Helen Turley at Bryant Family and Colgin Cellars.  Owner, Pierre Ehret, is a race car driver and has competed in 10 years of the Le Mans.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

2017 was another drought year, though the effects on Knights Valley were mostly beneficial. It was another early year throughout – early bud break, fruit set, veraison, and harvest – with a warm spring and hot summer. The evenings cooled off greatly, allowing for the grapes to ripen steadily. The early harvest produced a big crop of dense, charming, cellar-worthy wines including our 2017 Bellarina Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley. It blends 82% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Cabernet Franc, to create an accessible, rich, full-flavored red wine. The wine is smooth and medium-bodied, and has notes of black plum, mocha, and elderberry. The soft, silky tannins make it easy to enjoy right now and for the next 5-6 years.

Producer: Ehret Family Vineyards

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

A fantastic wine to pair with a slightly smokey gouda, herbaceous genoa salami, and slow roasted pork shoulder and beef tenderloin. A hearty stew or Osso Buco are some other favorite dishes Michael Muscardini highly recommends pairing this robust blend with.

June Club Cadet Wine Selections

Honestly, it takes a lot of time to find hidden gems in California these days. Our team has the experience and spent years forming relationships with our winery partners to find the right mix of wines to offer in each quarters wine club.

We tasted a BUNCH of wines for the June selections and we came to a general concensus of these six offerings to represent the Cadet Club in 2022. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did while sampling them. Purchase these wines on our website or join the club to secure this selection.

2020 Sullivan Estate Rose, Rutherford Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

An artist at heart, he began to make wine at home and a new passion began. As his winemaking skills grew, so did his passion for the vine. For the next two decades, he explored California to find the finest area to grow Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1972, the winery was established and Jim moved his family permanently to the Rutherford Estate.

Bringing their artistic vision to the heart of the valley, the Sullivans collaborated with rising star architect John Marsh Davis, chefs and musicians from all over the world to build an Estate that would bring together creative visionaries

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

This vibrant, lively rose is outstanding! With bright generous fruit and long lean acidity, knitted together with a juicy concentrated core, this wine hits all the notes. The play between fresh strawberry and lime zest provides the ultimate quench.

Producer: Sullivan Family Vineyards

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

 Enjoy the versatility of this wine by pairing it with a nice light meal or simply on its own. 

2017 Idle Cellars Grenache, Kick Ranch Vineyard, Sonoma County

Why We Love This Wine:

“Wrapped in silk pajamas on the fin of a gnarwhal as the glow of the midnight sun radiates the essence of your being.” Idle cellars website. Honestly, we couldn’t pass this wine up with a description like this on their website. The brand is playful. The one thing these guys take seriously is their dedication to making great wines in a more approachable fashion.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Herbal notes combined with fruit forward aromatics echo a sense of cinnamon, raspberries, black cherry, anise, and tobacco. Medium tannins and soft acidity create a balanced medium weight in taste. A lighter color plays with the eyes causing a reminiscence of sexy images from days past.

Producer: Idle Cellars

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Spicier foods pair well with this exotic beauty.

2017 Stanton Barrett Syrah Reserve, Paso Robles California

Why We Love This Wine:

Stanton Barrett Family Wines is built upon a pursuit of life with passion. The simplicity of passion fuels the most complex burning desire that drives the efforts of those here whom strive for excellence without compromise. A daily endeavor with each detail considered, having one goal and expectation in mind that creates an everlasting impression of exquisite pleasure for one’s palate. Also, its very rare with only three barrels produced in 2016.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

This Syrah is a delightful, full-bodied wine that exemplifies the style. Aged in fine-grained Nadalié Pennsylvania Oak barrels gifts this varietal with soft tannins that cleverly enhance your food pairings. On the palate, dark berries, red berries, plum, and black pepper with soft tannins, minerals, smoke, and a lingering toasted finish.

Producer: Barrett Family Wines

Region: Paso Robles, California

Grape Varietals: Syrah

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Gamey Meats, slow cooked and braised meats.

2015 Byrd Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino California

Why We Love This Wine:

Completely under the radar wine we are lucky to get our hands on. This wine provides extremely high value. When our tasting panel tasted this wine, we had to look at our notes multiple times to make sur we didn’t mix up the wines in the blind tastings.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Very deep ruby in color with a reddish rim. Not showing much age. Fruity nose with blueberries, black plums, black cherries, raspberries, earth, light oak, licorice, spices, light herbs, black pepper and pencil lead. Full bodied and elegant, with medium-plus acidity and long legs. Dry on the palate with blueberries, plums, red currants, oak, tobacco, earth, cherries, spices, peppercorn and coffee.

Long finish with fine grained tannins and tangy raspberries.

This is a very tasty Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendocino County in California. Showing nice complexity with a nice mouthfeel. Very enjoyable by itself, as a sipping wine by the porch.

Producer: Byrd Vineyard

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

We paired it with a Charcuterie board of meats and cheeses.

2013 Canihan Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, California

Why We Love This Wine:

We are suckers for aged Pinot Noir. Previous club releases featured great wines from the 2012-2015 vintages with “ready to drink” red wines.

The Canihan vineyards are ideally located in Sonoma, on the border of the Sonoma Coast and Carneros Appellations. The vineyards receive the cool evening breezes and frequent fog from the San Francisco Bay that provide perfect grape growing conditions.

It started with a dream in 1920 when a young man named August Siegrist came to America. Born in Switzerland in a village outside of Zurich, August and his mother Anna worked the vineyards as a way of life, and as a way of survival. While working the hillside vineyards planted with Pinot Noir and other cool climate varietals, August cultivated a passion for wine.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

 Red cherry, bright nose and nothing jammy about this Pinot. Cooler climate drives the fruit and refreshing acidity. Clonal selections of Dijon Clones 115, 667 & 777, Swan, Pommard all dry farmed from their estate in Sonoma Coast. 

Producer: Canihan Estate

2019 Muscardini Tesoro Red Blend, Sonoma Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

The producers are a small, family run business with a love for food and wine. The entire portfolio highlights wines aimed to please the entire dinner table and offers our wine collectors a wine they’ll be asking “where’s the corkscrew, we need another.”

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Tesoro (a treasure) is a proprietary blend consisting of 52% Sangiovese, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 22% Syrah. Led by its striking dark crimson hue, this Super Tuscan style wine opens with aromas of ripe berries and black fruits, interwoven with hints of vanilla, caramel, raw tobacco, leather, clove, blood orange peel, and roasted walnuts.

On the palate, the rich and generous flavors of briary blackberry, dark cherry, ripe plum, cassis, and red pear are enhanced with nuances of wild sage, cinnamon, black pepper, dark chocolate, and a kiss of fine oak. As the wine opens in the glass, the smooth velvety texture is balanced with bright acidity, supple tannins, and firm structure.

The result is a stylish proprietary blend that is robust, elegant, and showy in its youth, and strengthened by layers of complexity, natural richness, and backbone that will allow the personality of the wine to expand in the cellar.

Producer: Muscardini Cellars

Winemaker: Michael Muscardini

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

A fantastic wine to pair with a slightly smokey gouda, herbaceous genoa salami, and slow roasted pork shoulder and beef tenderloin. A hearty stew or Osso Buco are some other favorite dishes Michael Muscardini highly recommends pairing this robust blend with.

June Elite and Flight Club Selections

We outdid ourselves here with the wine selections in this quarter’s club offerings. These ultra rare wines from the elite Napa cult producers were a no brainer to add to this club set. Honestly, we were suprised we were able to get our hands on these wines.

The scores quickly came in and our Tasting Panel was able to assemble a really fun and unique wine club shipment for our members. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did while sampling together. Purchase these wines on our website or join the club to secure this selection.

Club Allocation:

Club Elite will receive TWO of each wine.

Club Flight will receive ONE of each wine.

2019 Lamborn Cabernet Blend 2200′, Howell Mountain Napa Valley

Winery Price: $79.00
Winemaker: Heidi Barrett

Why We Love This Wine:

100% estate and organically grown Howell Mountain, Napa Valley Cabernet and Zinfandel blend. This environment produces Howell Mountain Zinfandels and Cabernet Sauvignons of the highest quality and intensity, with all winemaking by Heidi Barrett of Screaming Eagle fame.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Like a fragrant country summer evening, the nose offers attractive cherry, raspberry, and blueberry notes with an underlying hint of orange zest. Accentuated with an oak regimen from both French and American cooperage, the rich fruit aromas are complemented with subtle river rock and dust nuances. Similar to the nose, rich and silky layers of vine-ripened berries and tart cherry give way to dark chocolate and a luscious mouthfeel with moderate tannins. Now that these Cabernet vines are fully mature they are producing some very dense and concentrated fruit, so evident in this scintillating wine are producing some very dense and concentrated fruit, so evident in this scintillating wine.

2015 Schweiger Vineyards Dedication Red Blend, Napa Valley

Winery Price: $115.00 (allocation members only)
Winemaker: ANDY SCHWEIGER

Why We Love This Wine:

Schweiger Vineyards is proud to remain independent and family owned. Their Proprietors Fred & Sally Schweiger have lived and worked on this land since the 1960s; it’s not uncommon for visitors to be welcomed by both in their tasting room. They are one of the distinguished multi-generation wineries with a father/son grower/winemaker team who have been working together for over 20 years. Their winery is located 2,000 feet above the Napa Valley, a 15-minute drive from downtown St. Helena.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Dedication® is a testament to Andy’s winemaking skill and passion. Each year, this blend evolves to represent the best fruit from our various blocks, creating a true “cream of the crop” wine. The valley saw 45% less fruit in 2015, making this wine even more limited production than usual. On the nose, the 2015 Dedication is earthy like damp woods in the morning, with waves of strawberry licorice, chocolate raspberries, and cedar.

2015 David Arthur Vineyards Proprietary Red, Pritchard Hill Napa Valley

Winery Price: $80.00
Winemaker: Nile Zacherel

Why We Love This Wine:

The origins of David Arthur Vineyards and the Long Family Ranch date back to when the Long family started visiting the Napa Valley in the 1950’s. Don Long, a butcher by trade owned a small grocery store in Portola Valley, near Stanford University and had long been interested in the California wine country. With a keen eye for business opportunities, Don began steadily investing in Napa Valley real estate leading to the acquisition of nearly 1,000 acres atop Pritchard Hill in St. Helena, California. Don’s youngest son, David Arthur, founded the winery with his then wife, Joye Dale, in 1985 with the purchase of 30 French oak barrels. David and Joye’s daughter, Laura Long, now works side by side with her father running the day-to-day operations of the winery and vineyards.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

This Bordeaux-style blend allows their team to weave together the rich, concentrated elegance and power of their mountain-grown Bordeaux varietals as well as the best of surrounding vineyards within the Napa Valley. The wine is aged an average of 20 months in French oak barrels, blended with meticulous care and bottled at their vineyard estate. The result is a complex array of aromas and flavors that deliver plush, mouth-filling structure with soft, elegant tannins.

A dark cerise color offering an array of fruit and spice aromas; bright cherry, red raspberry, baked cassis, and plum followed by notes of anise, baking spices, garrigue and cherry cola. The palate is soft and plush with fine-grained tannins offering beautiful acidity and structure. The finish is long and silky with flavors of candied plum, tamarind, brown sugar and molasses.


Learn more about these wines on our website.

March Wine Club; Elite and Flight Selections

Spring is just around the corner and we are quickly gearing up for the next round of wines for our wine club. We met with dozens of producers over the last few months and came to the final conclusion and selected 9 amazing wines for our wine club! These six wines in the cadet selections have an amazing variety behind them and offer members a special treat with a glimpse into our Elite Club with the Okapi library offering.

The scores quickly came in and our Tasting Panel was able to assemble a really fun and unique wine club shipment for our members. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did while sampling together. Purchase these wines on our website or join the club to secure this selection.

Club Allocation:

Club Elite will receive TWO of each wine.

Club Flight will receive ONE of each wine.

2013 Mathew Bruno Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Winery Price: $120
What We Love: Up-and-comer Mathew Bruno just opened their tasting room in 2022, the wines are highly respected by critics, and over-deliver for their price point.

Tasting notes: The 2013 Mathew Bruno Cabernet Sauvignon is an outstanding example of fine Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. The stylistic target and subtle adjustments in production are expressed in the most complementary fashion for a complex, structured and luscious tasting experience. The bright aromas will linger on your mind as you savor the occasion. Our Cabernet Sauvignon is an intense wine with complex layers of black cherry, currant, sweet spice and mocha. The mouthfeel is supple, with soft, toasty oak flavors balanced by firm tannins and structured by bright acidity.

Mathew Bruno is distinguished in the Napa Valley as one of the few wineries who produce a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Driven by the desire to make fruit-driven, approachable Cabernet Sauvignon true to the varietal’s attributes and superior quality, Mathew Bruno Wines proudly offers a flawless wine exhibiting the essence of what a Cabernet Sauvignon should be. This Cabernet Sauvignon is enjoyable today and will age for many years to come as we all fondly recall the superiority of the vintage 2013.

2018 Keplinger Sumo Red Blend, Amador County

Winery Price: $80
Winemaker Helen Keplinger; Kenzo, Bryant, Sarocka
What We Love:  Amazing winemaker pedigree, elegant wine, classical twist on modern varietals.

Tasting notes: Sumo is a Cote Rotie twist on Petite Sirah – Petite Sirah co-fermented with Viognier and blended with a small amount of Syrah. The 2019 Sumo is a blend of 83% Petite Sirah, 11% Syrah, and 6% Viognier, all from Shake Ridge Vineyard. It has a “deep, dark nose of brambly blackberry, blueberry jam, black licorice, black cherry stones, violets, cassis bud, cedar, and a hint of white pepper. The palate has a silky entry with seamless, velvet-textured tannins throughout to the finish, subtly framing the blue and black fruit, asphalt, cherry blossom, dried herb and spice flavors on the palate.” 300 cases were produced. 

This 2019 is delicious, rich, and just the perfect pairing with food or on its own. Helen Keplinger has been making great wine from her days at Paradigm, Kenzo, Bryant Estate and Grace Family Vineyard. But it is her own wines, Keplinger, that we think are expressive and of the highest quality at prices that over deliver.

2018 Mersenne Wines Merlot, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley

Winery Price: $79
What We Love: Howell mountain fruit always pleases, juicy wine with depth, brand is very selective in the vineyards

Tasting notes: This Merlot is rich, vibrant, and flavorful with loads of depth and complexity. There are flavors of black cherry, cocoa, plum, and raspberries complimented by a lush and velvety tannin structure. Aromas of warm fruit, vanilla, cocoa, and a hints of graphite. Definitely not a boring wine!  

The White Cottage vineyard is located at an elevation of 1500 feet on the western slopes of the iconic Howell Mountain appellation in the Napa Valley.  

All great wines start with the careful management of the vineyard. Winemaking begins long before the fruit is harvested. The process of guiding the vine to produce perfectly ripe fruit takes skill and dedication. We work closely with our growers and help guide each step throughout the year. We have been building relationships with experienced growers for over 20 years. Our focus is producing the finest grapes so that we can turn them into amazing wines.



Learn more about these wines on our website.

March 2022 Club Cadet Selections

Spring is just around the corner and we are quickly gearing up for the next round of wines for our wine club. We met with dozens of producers over the last few months and came to the final conclusion and selected 9 amazing wines for our wine club! These six wines in the cadet selections have an amazing variety behind them and offer members a special treat with a glimpse into our Elite Club with the Okapi library offering.

The scores quickly came in and our Tasting Panel was able to assemble a really fun and unique wine club shipment for our members. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did while sampling together. Purchase these wines on our website or join the club to secure this selection.

2020 Bedarra Vineyard Beachfront White Wine, Dry Creek Valley
80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Chardonnay | Winery Price: $28
Dubbed “summer in a glass.” This wine creates a perfect balance of bright tropical fruit, silky texture and a crisp clean finish. only 100 cases produced!

2017 Orentano Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Pinot Noir | Winery Price: $35
On the palate, it’s pleasantly dry with light and very fine tannins. Highlighted flavors are fresh raspberry, strawberry jam and pomegranate with hints of oak and vanilla.

2016 Surh Cellars Mosaique, Napa Valley
Merlot, Cab. Sauvignon, Cab. Franc | Winery Price: $33
Clearly, this is a complex wine with aeration but at first, it seems so fruit driven, it’s hard not to keep drinking it.

2017 Bella Grace Combination, Amador County
Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah | Winery Price: $34
This broad and mellow Rhone-style blend tastes ripe and full bodied, but has a smooth, supple texture that fills all corners of the palate. 100% off their Estate, farmed organically and sustainably.

2018 Vermillion Red Wine, Napa, Sonoma, Sierra Foothills.
Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cab. Sauv. | Winery Price: $35 Vermillion is a phenomenal value wine from super-star winemaker, Helen Keplinger. Helen’s highly rated and allocated wines typically cost 3-4 times this amount.


2012 Okapi Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon | Winery Price: $125
Double Gold Winner, crafted by Ted Osborne. Designed to age, and showing gracefully today. This is one of the best wines we’ve ever offered.

Learn more about the Cadet Club wines on our website.

Romantic Wine Pairings for the Holiday

Stumped for what to pair with your special evening’s meal? Our sommelier trained staff has the following selections for your special meal while cooking at home.

First, we selected a range of wines from our collection of boutique wineries in California and paired them with meals that match the quality of these wines. We hope you enjoy these as much as we did making them!

Recipe and Photo Credit to Food52
Ingredients 
  • 1 pound stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • large bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • yellow onions, cut into half-inch slices
  • medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned
  • Red wine, enough to cover meat (see directions)
Directions
  1. Pat the beef dry and set aside. In a bowl, add the flour, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Add the meat and toss to coat (it’s okay if it’s a little sticky).
  2. Turn the Instant Pot onto the medium Sauté setting and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is hot, add a single layer of meat. Wait for it to brown on one side, and then turn over. When browned on both sides, remove and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining meat until it is all browned. Set browned meat aside.
  3. Add butter to the Instant Pot. When it is melted and foaming, add bay leaf and fry until fragrant. Add the onions and stir until translucent. Stir in garlic and carrots and fry for about 3 minutes. When garlic is no longer raw, add tomato paste and mix with the vegetables. Fry for 1 minute. You can add a little bit of wine if things start to brown too quickly. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add thyme, meat and enough wine to just cover all the solids. Turn the Instant Pot off. Place the cover on the Instant Pot, making sure to turn the knob to the Pressure Cook setting. Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes.
  5. When finished cooking, release the pressure and uncover pot. Turn on the sauté setting to high and reduce until you reach the desired consistency (and to cook off any alcohol). Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a baguette, egg noodles, or roasted potatoes. Recipe and Photo Credit to Food52
Recipe and Photo Credit to Food52

A salty, yolk-rich sauce clinging to long noodles, hiding crispy bits of something savory and smoky? Surely I could approximate that without the guanciale.

In this vegetarian recipe, the smokiness comes not from cured meat but from finely grated smoked mozzarella that gets whisked with the egg yolks, then softened with hot pasta water. The mozzarella won’t melt completely, which means you’ll get some strands of cheese in your final bowl of pasta. As long as those clumps aren’t pieces of scrambled egg, all is well.

As for the crispy bits (the “guanciale”), you’ll sauté mushrooms with garlic and chile flakes in a separate pan as the pasta boils. When I first made this recipe, I used somewhat-elusive black trumpet mushrooms, which are particularly smoky, but any type of wild mushroom (or even white button mushrooms) will do the trick. You’ll add the mushrooms—and the spicy oil they’ve cooked them in—to the pasta once it’s been coated in the eggy, cheesy sauce.

 Ingredients 
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 ounces (1 small handful) wild mushrooms, preferably black trumpet, cleaned with woody stems removed
  • large egg + 2 large egg yolks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup (4 1/2 ounces) finely grated smoked mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • garlic clove, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 handful grated Parmesan, for serving
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, then cook the pasta to al dente (a couple of minutes less than specified in the recipe instructions).
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and chile flakes in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, then sauté until the mushrooms are cooked through and starting to crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until toasted and fragrant, 1 minute more. Set aside.
  3. Now whisk the egg, yolks, cheese, and a generous amount of salt and pepper in a large bowl that can fit over the pot you’re using to boil the pasta.
  4. When the pasta is nearly done, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water in a liquid measuring glass. Use about 3 tablespoons (a bit less than 1/4 cup) to temper the egg mixture—pour it slowly into the eggs while you constantly whisk. This should also begin to melt the cheese. Then use tongs to transfer the pasta to the bowl (but don’t drain the water from the pot). Set the bowl back over the pot of boiling water—like a double boiler!—and use tongs to coat the pasta in the egg-cheese mixture, until eggs thicken and leave a trail in their wake. Add a bit more pasta water by the tablespoon if you need to. The cheese will stay a bit clumpy—don’t worry. Add the mushrooms and their oil and toss to combine.
  5. Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper. Recipe and Photo Credit to Food52
Recipe and Photo Credit to Food52
Ingredients 
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • cloves garlic
  • large yellow onion, diced
  • carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • celery ribs, cut into chunks
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, de-stemmed and finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme, de-stemmed and finely chopped
  • Zest of 1/2 a large orange
  • 1/2 cup good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
 
Directions
  1. Whisk flour, salt, black pepper, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon together. Roll the lamb shanks in the flour mixture until they are coated.
  2. Heat a small Dutch oven (3 to 6 quarts) over medium-high heat and sear the lamb shanks on all sides until a good crust forms — this will take 8 to 10 minutes total.
  3. Transfer lamb shanks to a plate and preheat your oven to 325° F.
  4. Scrape any crusty bits from the lamb-searing off the bottom of the Dutch oven (don’t discard, just scrape them up to loosen them and prevent them from burning).
  5. Place the Dutch oven over medium heat and add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, rosemary, thyme, and orange zest. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in the vinegar and cook until it has evaporated slightly and thickened further, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Return the lamb shanks to the pot and pour the white wine and chicken stock over them. Season the broth with salt to taste, cover the pot, and place it in the oven until the meat is very tender and falling off the bones, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  8. Remove the shanks from the pot, covering them with foil to keep them warm, and strain the liquid into a saucepan. Discard the solids.
  9. Cook the sauce over medium heat until it has reduced by half (it should yield about 1 1/2 cups). This should take 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Season the sauce to taste and pour it over the lamb shanks. Recipe and Photo Credit to Food52

Tips for the Holidays

Throughout the year, we visit a lot of our members in their home towns. We will host private tastings and dinners. We conduct seminars. Or, we just meet for coffee to catch up after a year or two. That said, the most common question I am asked is “how do you know what to buy when you’re out?”

Easy question to answer now, but reflecting back to our times when we first started out collecting wines, we remember panic buying bottles at the restaurant or at the retail shop.

The holidays are a time when we are entertaining, either as the host, or as the guest. Here are some tips when planning around the holidays and where to find great value in the wines you might come across.

  1. Varietals matter. If you’re selecting a bottle of wine and looking for something special for the occasion, select a wine varietal that you’re familiar with. Although Cabernet Sauvignon varies throughout the world, you will be able to find similar characteristics that you like in the wine and it might be a better value or a jump in quality.
  2. Regions, where are you from? Regions are always important when thinking about wine and selecting a bottle to share at the table. If you’re at the restaurant, and cruising down the wine list seeking your favorite Napa Cabernet, keep these things in mind. Be specific. Think of the wine label as your Google Maps. If you’re vague, it won’t necessarily get you to the driveway. With wine, the more details, and specific location, the better.
  3. Vintage, hold old are ya honey? Vintages matter but not always as much as you think. A “good year” in America is likely 80% of the wines produced each year. In Europe, their climate isn’t as generous and hail, frost, and rain can greatly effect the vintages. That said, style will also come into play with these vintages and you might benefit from decanting or extended aging.
  4. Bubbles, let’s celebrate! All Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling is Champagne. Champagne is a region, so not all wines that pop qualify for this labeling. Whether you’re selecting a Prosecco, Cremant, Sparkling wine or Champagne, celebrate with the best! If you’re lucky enough to find a bottle with a specific vintage on the bottle, even better! These rare wines are held for only the best of the best fruit to produce a “vintage sparkling” that year.
  5. Gifting… how much is appropriate? Many ask what is appropriate for a gifted bottle and I tend to ask a corresponding question. Are they wine people or just enjoy imbibing? If they’re collecting, or opening wines with you and share a story of the winemaker, their recent trip, or “this is one of our favorites” then I think we have someone who treats wines like a hobby. I’d ask the retail store, or your favorite website, for recommendations. Price doesn’t determine quality, but looking for a region with a story, a slightly older vintage (2007-2012 California looks great now), and a little more specific location. Don’t always go to the fancy label or big wax tops to say it’s quality.

That said, wine is subjective. You’re going to collect, age, or consume certain wines you have a connection with and wines you are excited about. My favorite thing about this time of the year is to experience new wines and discover new producers.

Have a wonderful season celebrating with friends and family.

Cheers.

View the wines in our wine shop for more boutique producers to share this season.