Canard Estate Reserve Zinfandel 2017

Calistoga, Napa Valley
$95 (Wine Club Reorder $85)

Coming to you from the oldest Zinfandel vines in Napa Valley, the Canard Reserve Zinfandel is highly coveted. Rich (Duck) and his wife Carolyn searched for years to find the perfect plot of land for the types of grape they wanted to grow. They purchased their estate in 1983 and have been making wine ever since. Canard in Spanish means Duck, which is Rich’s nickname. With Duckhorn already being an established winery, Duck knew better than to get involved in what would’ve been a legal battle. Hence, Canard!

The twenty-five acre estate property is a historic vineyard in Napa Valley, situated on the Northwest corner of Dunaweal Lane and Silverado Trail in Calistoga. It was the original homestead of Reason P. Tucker, who gained notoriety for leading the efforts to rescue the survivors of the ill-fated Donner Party (if you don’t know the story, a brief synopsis: a group of emigrants traveling from IL to CA got stuck in winter snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains near present-day Truckee and resorted to cannibalism to survive).

Anyway, back to the wine: The Zinfandel vines were planted over 135 years ago and remarkably, those dry farmed vines still stand, yielding a small quantity of incredibly elegant fruit, which goes into this extremely limited Estate Reserve Zinfandel.

These incredibly unique vines may only yield a small amount of grapes, but what they do yield is unlike anything in existence in Napa Valley. This elegant expression of Zinfandel spends two years in new French oak and another year in the bottle before it is released. On the nose, cloves, blackberries, allspice and plums with hints of sweet vanilla. Persimmons, figs and brambly black fruit dominate the palate. The rich and full bodied mouth feel gives way to an elegant tannin structure and a long, smooth finish. Truly a very special wine. So special, Robert Parker scored it 90 Points.

In honor of Duck, we recommend pairing this wine with duck breast with Tamarind sauce.

Taylor Morgan – July 2021

Eco Terreno Cuvee Tierra Red Blend 2018

Alexander Valley
$28 (Wine Club Reorder $25)

Founded in 2012, Eco Terreno Wines is an authentic reflection of place, representing a vineyard truly committed to its land and environment. With focused care and a joy of farming, Eco Terreno Wines represents the intrinsic flavors of Alexander Valley and the benefits of their biodynamic estate grown grapes. They are committed to conscientiously making exceptional wines that connect people to the land, each other, and the celebration that follows.

Founder and winemaker, Mark Lyon, has been crafting wines for over 30 years, bringing passion and dedication to each vintage from 100% estate grown grapes. Mark’s respected winemaking techniques bridge “Old World” and “New World” traditions while highlighting biodynamic farming methods. Mark received a B.S. of Fermentation Science from UC Davis and the very next year was hired by Sebastiani Vineyards to assist with production. Mark’s successes were notable during his time at Sebastiani Vineyards. The inaugural 1999 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, from Eco Terreno Vineyards, was the first Sebastiani wine to be in the “Top 100 Wines of the Year” and on the cover of Wine Spectator Magazine. He was also named “Winemaker of the Year” by Restaurant Wine Magazine in 2004.

Biodynamic is a farming method developed in the 1920’s as a response to chemical agriculture. Founded by scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner, ancient practices were married with an understanding of chemistry and physiology of plants to create a system that treats the farm as a whole – an individual, living organism. The goal is to establish healthy farms growing healthy foods to create healthy communities, both human and wild. Eco Terreno is so dedicated to being caretakers of the land that the name translates to, “Ecology of the Land” in Spanish. The dedication is demonstrated by farming organically and biodynamically to create regenerative systems that build a nourishing, natural wine farm.

The 2018 Cuvee Tierra Red Blend has an inviting nose of black cherry, mocha, and earth. The palate offers bountiful notes of crushed red and black cherries, espresso, and cranberry, balanced by hints of dried herbs and baking spices. The finish lingers and grows, echoing flavors of black fruits and spice. Rated Best in Class with 98 points by 2021 North Coast Wine Challenge. 46% Cabernet Franc, 42% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot.

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – July 2021

J. Rickards GVM Blend 2020

Alexander Valley
$28 (Wine Club Reorder $25)

Passion…no pretense. J. Rickards Vineyards and Winery is a family-run operation of both wine grape farming and wine production, located at the northern end of the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. Owned and operated by Jim and Eliza Rickards, the vineyards have been planted over the past 30 years, augmenting the original 1908 Zinfandel vines. The winery started in 2005, born out of the encouragement of friends who have enjoyed the small lots of hand-crafted wine they have been making since 1991.

Winemaker Blaine Brazil grew up in a small farming community in Northern California. After graduating high school he left the cool and foggy weather of coastal Humboldt County (my hometown!) and headed south for sunny weather with a goal of earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Dairy Science. While attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Blaine stumbled into the Central Coast wine industry, fell in love with wine and ultimately changed his course of study so he could someday become a winemaker.

He got his feet wet in the cellars of Tolosa Winery and Saucelito Canyon Vineyards. It was there where his love for small lot, handcrafted wines began. After graduating in 2003 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fruit Science and a minor in Wine and Viticulture, he accepted the assistant winemaker position at B.R. Cohn Winery. In July of 2011 Blaine joined the team at J. Rickards Winery. His goal is to produce quality small lot, single vineyard wines that express the terroir of the individual vineyards. He is a firm believer that great wines start in the vineyard and it’s the quality of the grapes that create wine with intensity, depth, and balance.

Can you guess what three grapes are in this GVM blend?

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – July 2021

(Answer: Gewürztraminer, Viognier, Muscat Blanc)

Songs “Worse Comes To Worst” Petite Sirah 2018

Paso Robles
$85 (Wine Club Reorder $75)

Named after the Billy Joel song “Worse Comes To Worst”, this Petite Sirah by Songs is brand spanking new to the wine world. So brand new, the only information we could find on them is their Instagram profile and a glowing review from Wine Enthusiast magazine. Luckily, we have the insider scoop for you on this exclusive new winery.

Edgar Torres’ father moved to Cambria, CA years ago to give his children the opportunity to live a better life. Edgar’s wine journey started when he was a waiter in Paso Robles. Being surrounded by like minded people and friends that encouraged him to continue his wine education led him to taking a new path as a Cellar Rat (meaning he worked in the cellar of a winery helping them make wine – it’s hard work!). His passion for making great wine eventually led him to start his own private label, Bodega de Edgar, in honor of his Spanish heritage.

Since 2007 when he launched Bodega de Edgar, he has grown production from 300 cases to 3,500 cases a year. Now, after perfecting his ‘everyday drinker’ wine selections, Edgar wanted to create something exclusive and special: Songs. He makes only 3 wines under this label, a Petite Sirah, Grenache, and Syrah. Each with their own song title, “Worse Comes To Worst,” “Dreams,” and “Coming Home.”

“Concentrated aromas of black fruit, tar and cracked pepper are savory, ripe and appealing on the nose of this bottling. The pepper-crusted beef flavors of the palate pair with light rosemary, rich blueberry and buoyant acidity, and firm tannins ensure that these elements will sing even more harmoniously in time. Drink 2023–2038.” – 95 Points– Wine Enthusiast

An epic food pairing with this wine would be Pollo con Mole. The high tannins and smoky fruit flavors have the ability to pair with exotic herbs and spices.

Taylor Morgan – July 2021

Etxea Rorick Vineyard Albariño 2017

Sierra Foothills
$29 (Wine Club Reorder $26)

It all started in 2014 when neighbors in downtown Napa bonded over skiing, porrons (a traditional glass drinking vessel), and Cabernet Franc. Ryan Pass studied Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis and had been working in the industry for ten years while Luisa Bonachea practiced trademark law, helping establish wine brands. The journey of Etxea began by searching for the perfect grapes. Upon learning Albariño grapes were available at Rorick Heritage Vineyard, they were intrigued and after seeing the vineyard, unwaveringly committed. (If you’ve been in the wine club for a while you might’ve had Gallica Albarino from the same vineyard, which was also de-lish!)

Etxea means “house” in the Basque language and gives homage to Luisa’s Basque roots, the Spanish origins of Albariño and the Basque grape Hondarrabi Beltza, a descendant of Cabernet Franc. The goal at Etxea Wines is to make a “house” wine from unique vineyard sites and varietals that you can enjoy every day and with every meal.

Sourced from Rorick Heritage Vineyard, a 2,000 ft. elevation vineyard high in the Sierra Foothills with steeply-planted vines and limestone-rich soils. This rare geological gem has a stunning diversity of sun exposures, elevations, temperatures, and soils. Etxea’s Albariño block sees warm days and cool nights driven by the high elevation. The wine is aged on its lees, with no sulfur added, for six months before bottling. The result is a refreshingly crisp wine with lingering notes of stone fruit, melon, and a burst of salinity. Only 96 cases of this 2017 beauty were produced. You might think 2017 is old for a white wine, but the ‘17 was drinking much smoother than the 2019 we also sampled.

Albariño pairs exceptionally well with white fish and meats as well as leafy green herbs. A nice Tuesday night plate of fresh cod tacos would go amazingly well with this brightly acidic wine. The perfect wine to drink as the weather begins to warm up to keep you refreshed.

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – July 2021