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.

Celebrate the Little Things

As we wrap up the first year of our wine clubs, we’re here to showcase a selection of wines from Northern California. This year alone, we have highlighted boutique wine producers, new winery projects from family owned wineries and wine entrepreneurs. Each of the wines we can proudly say we’ve tasted with the owners, met the winemakers or walked the vineyards. Over the course of the year, we’ve also sampled hundreds of different wines and only selected the best NINE to go into each shipment. The best part, we are working with small producers and introducing their wines to our great supporters.

All that said, here are the wines we selected for your December shipment. As always, if you like the wines, call us quickly as we are very quickly selling out of these small production wines.

Club Cadet is our introductory wine club featuring wines from small producers who sell only direct from the winery.

6 Bottles of Wine | 5 Reds and 1 White wine

2019 T Berkley Wines White Wine, Mendocino County
Chenin Blanc | Winery Price: $30
This wine comes exclusively from Tim Norgard’s Sterling Ranch just outside of Ukiah in Mendocino County.

2018 Jigar Wines Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Pinot Noir | Winery Price: $40
This is a blend of several of their finest Pinot Noir vineyards from around the Green Valley region. The finest traits from each vineyard combine to form this beautiful bottle of wine.

2016 Puccioni Vineyards Old Vine Zin, Dry Creek Valley
Zinfandel | Winery Price: $34
Over 100 years of wine growing and making across four generations in Sonoma County.

2013 Viluko Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County
Cabernet Sauvignon | Winery Price: $50
A balanced wine, and taut, with ripe fruit and supple texture; its youth is expressed with abundant tannins that soften when decanted.

2014  Meeker Wine Syrah, Dry Creek Valley
Syrah | Winery Price: $40 Family owned and operated since 1977; Molly Meeker is the matriarch and President. Her son Lucas Meeker is the second generation winemaker and COO.


2017 Idell Family Vineyards “Oscar Mixed Blacks” Red Wine, Sonoma County
Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Mouvedre, and Grenache | Winery Price: $42
This wine is an homage to the old Sonoma Valley style of grape growing and winemaking:  dry farmed and head-pruned, with five co-fermented varietals as in “old vine” vineyards with mixed varietals.

Learn more about these wines here.

6 Bottles of Wine | 6 Red Wines

2016 Talisman Wines Wildcat Mountain Vineyard, Sonoma County
Pinot Noir

Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
Winery Price: $70
Winemaker pedigree Mary Edwards, Calera, MacRostie

2017 Rudius Kaley Elizabeth Oakville Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon

Winery Price: $135
Winemaker Jeff Ames
96+ Points – Wine Advocate

2018 Majuscule Mt Veeder, Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon

250 Cases Produced
Winery Price: $80

Learn more about these wines on our website.

3 Bottles of Wine | 3 Red Wines

2016 Talisman Wines Wildcat Mountain Vineyard, Sonoma County
Pinot Noir

Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
Winery Price: $70
Winemaker pedigree Mary Edwards, Calera, MacRostie

2017 Rudius Kaley Elizabeth Oakville Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon

Winery Price: $135
Winemaker Jeff Ames
96+ Points – Wine Advocate

2018 Majuscule Mt Veeder, Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon

250 Cases Produced
Winery Price: $80

Learn more about these wines on our website.

December Flight and Elite Wine Selections

December Flight Club 3 Bottles of Wine | 3 Red Wines | One Bottle of Each

December Elite Club 6 Bottles of Wine | 6 Red Wines | Two Bottles of Each

2016 Talisman Wines Wildcat Mountain Vineyard, Sonoma County
Pinot Noir

Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
Winery Price: $70
Winemaker pedigree Mary Edwards, Calera, MacRostie

Talisman is focused completely (obsessed?) on Pinot Noir; very small lots of single vineyard Pinot Noirs. Lovingly crafted expressions of different vineyards mostly in Sonoma County; one in Napa County and one in Mendocino county. They partner with their growers, a much more personal relationship than just “buying grapes”. They have specific blocks (or rows) that they source from, work together on, make farming and picking decisions together, and craft exquisite wines from their grapes.

They vinify and age their Pinots virtually identically to showcase the vineyard site; elevation, soil type, age of vines, weather that year, etc. It’s a fascinating comparison of Pinot personalities. They also craft their Pinots to age; 25-30% whole cluster, native (ambient, feral) yeast, a 10 days to 2 weeks post-fermentation maceration, barrel aging of 18-22 months in about half new French oak (5 different coopers for added layers of complexity), and a good 1-2 years in bottle; the wines benefit greatly from time in the bottle.

They strive for balance; tannin, structure, acid, body, flesh, aromatics, finish…. The wine has to have enough “stuffing” to stand up to the levels of tannin and barrel age they give them.

Needless to say… this winery is obsessed with Pinot Noir and we actually took the entire lot so that way we could exclusively offer this wine to our membership.

2017 Rudius Kaley Elizabeth Oakville Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon

Winery Price: $135
Winemaker Jeff Ames
96+ Points – Wine Advocate

Winemaker is Jeff Ames (he’s worked with Lynn Penner-Ash and Thomas Rivers Brown and currently is the winemaker for Tor).  This is his personal label… Kaley Elizabeth is named for his daughter

Rudius is the name of the wooden sword that was presented to a gladiator when he was freed by the emperor of Rome. It symbolized the gladiator was done fighting and now a free man.

Perched just above Silverado Trail in Oakville’s sun-soaked eastern hills, the vineyard that produces our Kaley Elizabeth Cabernet is truly one of a kind. Planted in 1988 on terraces cut into the brick-red clay soils indicative of this sub-appellation, the vines here have been painstakingly maintained over the last nearly three decades.

Few Cabernet vineyards in the Napa Valley have such an abiding sense of history and commitment to quality. Clone 7 — a favorite of farmers in the 80s and 90s — delivers consistently rich, bold fruit from year-to-year, while the incredibly well-drained, fractured soil of the terraces adds just the right amount of stress over the growing season. The result: a wine that is both plush and complex, every bit a modern Napa Cabernet, with bold dark elements that harken back to the days of old California.

2018 Majuscule Cabernet Sauvignon Mt Veeder, Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon

250 Cases Produced
Winery Price: $80

Tasting Notes: The lively and intense nose leads with a hint of fresh violets and dark fruits. On the palate, flavors of bright red cherries, blackberries and black currant are highlighted with subtle cranberry. With a full-bodied mouthfeel and moderate tannins, the flavors progressively include a subtle spice component with dark chocolate, pepper, licorice, and cedar.

Sourced from two steep blocks in the Wildcat Vineyard on Mount Veeder, our flagship Cabernet Sauvignon has a lively and intense nose, leading in with a hint of fresh violets and dark fruits. On the palate, flavors of bright red cherries, blackberries and black currant highlight, with subtle flavor of cranberry. With a full-bodied mouthfeel and moderate tannins, the flavors progressively include a subtle spice component with dark chocolate, pepper, licorice, and cedar. This wine has structured tannins and will age well over the next 15 years.

Big, small. Bold, timid. There really is no counterpart to the word minuscule in English. In French the opposite is majuscule, literally meaning a capital letter.

The juxtaposition of big and small embodies our wine making philosophy. They craft big yet elegant and balanced wines from exceptional single vineyards in the Napa Valley.

Majuscule is a small, family owned and run winery that specializes in Cab Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their award-winning wines are produced in very small lots – typically less than 100 cases per wine – with an intense focus on quality. 

Working with our friend Lisa Chu, a longtime grower on Mount Veeder, they made two barrels of the first Majuscule wines in 2009 as a side project from the same vineyard they source grapes from today. It was a fun endeavor, and they enjoyed sharing the wines with friends. And the seed was planted for what was to come a few years later. 

In 2018 Majuscule became an official winery. We’re still rooted to Lisa’s Wildcat Vineyard on the steep slopes 1,800 feet above the western side of the Napa Valley. The vineyard is stunning and has several microclimates and grape clones. It’s challenging to farm, but the extra effort yields incredible results in the bottle.



Learn more about these wines on our website.

December 2021 Club Cadet

These wines were a lot of fun to sample this fall and some were on our radar for a few years as they developed as a winery and brand. 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.

2019 T Berkley Wines White Wine, Mendocino County
Chenin Blanc | Winery Price: $30
Tasting notes: This wine comes exclusively from Tim Norgard’s Sterling Ranch just outside of Ukiah in Mendocino County. Older vines planted in 1980 on the now little used AXR1 rootstock still thrive there in the Mendocino County soils. The grapes were picked at lower brix, crushed and left on skins for a day, pressed, and fermented in a mix of French Oak, stainless-steel barrels, and concrete egg. Aged on lees 12 months, the wine has vibrant acidity and excellent phenolic structure, with notes of honeycomb, lemon curd, and lanolin. Elegant and structured, this wine will benefit from some patient aging, but drinks beautifully today.

  • 326 cases produced.
  • 100% Chenin Blanc from Mendocino County.
  • Fermented 30% Concrete, 60% Neutral French Oak, 10% Stainless Steel.  11 Months in vessels followed by 3 months in tank before bottling.

T Berkley Wines

  • Located in Calistoga, CA –  does not currently have a tasting room.
  • Produces 800-1000 cases per year of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc exclusively.

T. Berkley Wines is the passion project of owner/winemaker Taylor Boydstun, founded to explore the promise of Loire varieties grown here in California. Starting with a long running love affair with Cabernet Franc and finding his white wine spiritual expression in Chenin Blanc, he works constantly to introduce interested US consumers to something more than Chardonnay and Cabernet and welcomes everyone on the journey! 

2018 Jigar Wines Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Pinot Noir | Winery Price: $40
Tasting Notes: Ripe and generous flavors of pomegranate, cranberry, and red plum introduce themselves with a delicate hello. The rich garnet color exudes freshness in the glass. Pairs beautifully with a roasted chicken and could be cellared for several years. Time will only add greatness to this Russian River delight.                      

  • 402 cases produced.
  • 100% Pinot Noir.
  • 18 months on 25% new French Oak.

This is a blend of several of their finest Pinot Noir vineyards from around the Green Valley region. The finest traits from each vineyard combine to form this beautiful bottle of wine.

Jigar Wines

  • Wine is produced in Santa Rosa, CA.  There is no public tasting room.
  • Produce ~1,500 cases per year across Chardonnay, Rose, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, and a red blend.


2016 Puccioni Vineyards Old Vine Zin, Dry Creek Valley
Zinfandel | Winery Price: $34
Tasting Notes: Blackberry, blueberry, vanilla nose; plum, chocolate palate with balanced acidity and soft tannins; medium-plus finish.

  • 250 cases produced.
  • Zinfandel, blended with Petite Sirah from Puccioni Ranch.
  • 17 months in Hungarian and French oak barrels.

Puccioni Vineyards

  • Located in Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, Puccioni Vineyards has been growing and making wine for four generations – since 1904. 
  • Produce approx 250 cases/year.


2013 Viluko Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County
Cabernet Sauvignon | Winery Price: $50
Tasting Notes: Deep aromatics of brown spice, cinnamon and clove open to mouthfuls of dark berries and deep red cranberries. A core of minerality supports notes of red raspberries and cocoa powder. A balanced wine, and taut, with ripe fruit and supple texture; its youth is expressed with abundant tannins that soften when decanted. Worthy of aging for 8 – 10 years.

  • 1,188 cases produced.
  • 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • 18 months in 100% French oak, 50% new.

Viluko Vineyards

  • Located in Santa Rosa, Viluko Vineyards hosts tasting by appointment only.
  • Produce 900 cases per year, across Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
  • The estate mountain vineyard is CCOF certified organic.


2014  Meeker Wine Syrah, Dry Creek Valley
Syrah | Winery Price: $40

Tasting Notes: Blackberry compote with mint leaves, red dirt, dusty stone, cloves and eucalyptus. A playful and high volume mid-palate slides away with elegant length.

  • Based in Healdsburg, CA, the tasting room is by appointment only.
  • Produce 5,000-6,000 cases per year across Pet Nat, Verdelho, Chardonnay, Rose, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon, Red blends, and dessert wines.
  • Family owned and operated since 1977; Molly Meeker is the matriarch and President. Her son Lucas Meeker is the second generation winemaker and COO.

2014 Dry Creek Valley Syrah

  • 305 cases produced.
  • 100% Syrah.
  • 24 months in mixed once-used and neutral French and American oak.


2017 Idell Family Vineyards “Oscar Mixed Blacks” Red Wine, Sonoma County
Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Mouvedre, and Grenache | Winery Price: $42
Tasting Notes: A very rich, complex, robust field blend with notes of blackberry, raspberry and chocolate.

The Idell Family Vineyards “Oscar” Mixed Blacks – Red Wine is a wine of exceptional heritage. The vineyard is located on land which was part of the original Carriger Estate of Nicholas Carriger who came to Sonoma in 1846 (the same year as the Donner Party) and purchased his 1000 acre parcel from General Vallejo.  Carriger reportedly was the first American to grow wine grapes commercially in Sonoma Valley.  This wine is an homage to the old Sonoma Valley style of grape growing and winemaking:  dry farmed and head-pruned, with five co-fermented varietals as in “old vine” vineyards with mixed varietals.

  • 122 cases produced.
  • Because this is a field blend, the %’s of grapes differ from year to year. However, planted are approximately 70% Zinfandel and the 30% balance a mixture of Petite Sirah, Carignane, Mourvedre and Grenache. 
  • 18 months in 40% new, 60% neutral American oak.

Idell Family Vineyards

  • Small, family-owned winery.  No tasting room.
  • Produce ~500 cases per year across Chardonnay, Syrah and the Oscar Mixed Blacks, a Red Wine Field Blend.

To purchase these wines, please visit our wine club page to join today.

A Collection of Rare Wines with Outstanding Pedigree

We absolutely love this time of the year.  The Napa Valley will soon fill with wafts of harvest and another vintage will soon become world class wine. We also release a selection of wines that are near ready to drink this fall with friends and family.  

This shipment highlights winemakers who have incredible pedigree and vineyards that are newer to the scene. These family run businesses and partnerships bring wines that beg to be shared over a meal. Don’t take our Tasting Panel’s opinion (we sampled over 30 wines for September), look at the critic scores and pedigree from each property. 

SEPTEMBER WINE CLUB FEATURES

Flight Members – Receive one bottle each of the following wines.  $300.00, +$9.99 shipping
Elite Members – Receive two bottles each of the following wines. $600.00, free shipping


2018 Titus Vineyards Estate Reserve Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon

Titus Vineyards, St. Helena
Winery Price: $105
Jeb Dunnuck – 93 Points

Titus Vineyards is a 2nd generation, family-owned and farmed estate producing high quality grapes for limited production, premium Napa Valley wines, such as Charles Krug, Beaulieu Vineyards, Cuvaison, Quail Ridge, and Pine Ridge. Philip Titus, has been the winemaker at Chappellet’s Estate on Pritchard Hillfor over 2 decades, where he met Stephen Cruzan, who worked at Cade before becoming the winemaker at Titus.

Purchase

Tasting Notes: The 2018 Titus Family Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon shows off the typical concentration and depth that is quintessential of the vines grown in the rocky soils at our Ehlers Lane Vineyard. The wine is dark with aromas of cassis, blueberry, roasted coffee, molasses and lifted floral notes. The body is dense and powerful on entry with purity displaying black raspberry, blueberry, and black currant flavors. The structure is focused with mouthcoating tannins that draw the wine through the palate. The finish is rich and lingering, accented by essences of cigar box, dark chocolate and espresso. Enjoy from 2029-2038.

2016 Ackerman Family Vineyards, Coombsville, Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon

Ackerman Family Vineyards
Winery Price: $95
Female Owned and Operated, 94 Points Wine Enthusiast

Winemaker Leo Tellez has wine in his blood.  His grandfather spent his career at Charles Krug Winery while Leo’s father devoted more than 25 years at Robert Mondavi Winery.  Leo has made wine for a number of notable boutique producers, including Kapcsandy, Blankiet, Repris, Captûre, Notre Vin and Sodaro Estate, and has been knocking it out of the park with Ackerman Family Vineyards.

Purchase

Tasting Notes: This 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is harvested from the Stonehaven vineyard and is taken to the winery where the grapes cold soak and then are fermented in stainless steel tanks. After fermentation the wines are put to French oak barrels for secondary malolactic fermentation and aging. opens with a lovely bouquet of blueberries, black currants, plum, graphite, violets and soft cedar notes. The medium to full-bodied, beautifully integrated tannins are velvety and soft with balanced acidity and a long finish. This wine is ready to enjoy now and will age beautifully for years to come. Composed of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

2015 Stardust Wines Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Stardust Wines
Winery Price: $100
Only 100 cases produced

Cutting her teeth in wine at Robert Mondavi, St Supery, and Dominus Estates, winemaker Megan Gunderson Paredes has made a name for herself in Napa Valley. In addition to being the Winemaker for Stardust, Megan serves as Director of Winemaking for Hall Wines in St. Helena where she has the reputation of creating high scoring, award-winning wines.
  
Purchase

Tasting Notes: Although clearly favoring ripeness, this deep and very well-defined Cabernet is marked first and last by a keen sense of varietal precision. Despite being very rich, it never once comes across as being blustery or anything close to excessive, and, for a wine of its ample substance and size, it is very carefully balanced, exceptionally long at the finish and its tannins are not allowed to get ahead of its generous and juicy fruit. Five years of age are certain to make what is a very good thing even better, and we have no doubt at all that it will be drinking beautifully after another half-decade has passed after that.