Silver Image “Gout de la Vigne” Grenache 2017

Napa Valley
$50 (Wine Club Reorder Price $45)

I discovered this wine on a recent trip to Sonoma, where I visited a tiny husband/wife operation named Schermeister (keep an eye out for their Viognier or Pinot in future wine clubs). My second appointment ended up cancelling so I did a quick google and saw that Eric Ross was right across the street and available to host us last minute. Thankfully so, seeing as this Grenache is in your wine club this month!

Eric Ross is a cozy little winery located in the quaint little town of Glen Ellen in Sonoma. Prior to winemaking Eric explored the world as a Photographer’s Mate in the US Navy and after college he worked for The San Francisco Chronicle, which is when he started spending time photographing wine country. Mesmerized by Napa and Sonoma, he started taking classes at UC Davis before officially launching Eric Ross in 1994. To Eric, making wine is like being a chef; it all starts with high quality ingredients. He makes wines that honor the terrior they are sourced from and from his years of experience has learned how to let each vineyard’s personality show in your glass.

You can find Eric’s photography on the labels of his Silver Image wines, one of his three lines of wines; the others being Eric Ross Wines and Struttin’ Red. Silver Image showcases two of Eric’s approaches to Rhone wines with a Viognier and Gout de la Vigne (“taste of the vine”), a blend of Grenache and Syrah. Having photography on his labels is fitting for a photographer but even more indicative of the similarities in his two crafts.

This is a cool climate Rhone Blend from the Silver Image Vineyard in The Carneros of Napa. Mostly Grenache with a bit of Syrah creating jammy robust mocha layers with sophisticated French Oak integration in this full bodied wine. I love a good Grenache because it is bright, fruity, and powerful. It has enough structure to pair with a hearty roast but enough elegance to pair with a grilled tuna steak.

Taylor Morgan – March 2021

Red Thread Red Blend 2018

Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
$78 (Wine Club Reorder – $70)

According to Chinese legend, an invisible Red Thread connects those that are destined to meet or make history together. Red Thread Wines believe that they have created a wine that will connect you to many joys, laughter, and love that life brings to us. Connection is everything, and in the times we are living, isn’t this what we all need! The Red Thread bond extends through the brilliance of the wine creation and extends to your food pairings, and personal enjoyment.

Red Thread Wines comes to us from Gretchen and Brian Brakesman who faithfully met on a night out in San Francisco. Unbeknownst to either of them they were destined for a life together. As they say, “we are both forever grateful for the mythical red thread that is connected to Gretchen’s finger and Brian’s ankle”. With Brian’s fastidious approach to winemaking and vineyards and being a Napa Valley native and Gretchen’s ability to sell ice to Eskimos, it seemed like a great time to complete their thread, and bring us incredible wines.

The grapes for these incredible wines come from one of the premier vineyards on top of Howell Mountain, Summit Lake Vineyards. While wines from Howell Mountain are renowned for their luxury, Gretchen and Brian have priced their wines to be approachable and accessible as possible, hoping to connect the fate of other wine lovers who share their same passion. The Estate Blend is a true representation of the terroir with its balance of dark fruit and full body.

The new release of this blend is amazing. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Zinfandel and 10% Petite Sirah. This is a fun wine because the blend changes every year based on harvest and how the wines will work together. This year, black licorice, ripe blackberry, and fresh leather are the first fragrances that hit your nose. On the palate this robust mountain wine shows strong ageable tannins, ripe plums and cassis.

Superbowl Sunday is slowly approaching and for me that means snacks on snacks. Pretzels are a must. The mighty pretzel has a stronger, nuttier flavor then your standard potato chip, so they can stand up to a big robust wine like this one.

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – February 2021

Olabisi Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Miller Family Vineyard, Napa Valley, California
$105 (Wine Club Reorder – $95)

We are the only place you can get Olabisi’s wines, aside from winery-direct. That’s because Todd & Cyndi were wine club members there for years before they purchased Bacchus & Venus (in addition to their B&V wine club, of course!). They’ve become friends with Ted Osborne, the owner/winemaker, and have convinced him to let us share Olabisi wines with our club members. If you ever find yourself in Calistoga, be sure to pay them a visit and mention Todd & Cyndi sent you!

Ted Osborne and his wife Kim founded Olabisi Wines in 2002, years after they moved to Napa for Kim’s new job designing wine labels. Ted had a degree in English and after 6 months of being unemployed in Napa, decided to make a career switch to the wine industry. He flipped through the phone book and connected with Bruce Cakebread, of Cakebread Cellars, and the next day had a job working harvest (this is also where I worked harvest, prior to starting at Bacchus & Venus).

Ted spent the next four years bouncing back and forth between wineries in Napa, South America, Australia, and France to maximize his experience in the shortest amount of time. During that time, he worked for Rupert & Rothschild, Passing Clouds, Château du Seuil, Storybook Mountain and Laird. While at Storybrook Mountain, Olabisi was born. Kim designed the labels and he created the wine. They wanted a brand that was unique and decided on “Olabisi,” which is a Nigerian name meaning “joy multiplied” – a sentiment he believes is present in all his wines.

We featured their Proprietary Red Blend in the Red Wine Club last year, and are now happy to share their Single Vineyard Napa Cabernet with our Reserve Club Members. A delicious wine that shows off the sheer ripening power of the Napa Valley sunshine, with juiciness, suppleness, velvetiness, and incredible drinkability in an elegantly structured style that only Napa Cab can do.

It’s rich, creamy and juicy, with dark chocolate, dark fruits, buttery rosemary, and well-integrated supple tannins that lead to a beautiful finish of caramel and the echoing of all that rich fruit. Pairs well with grilled meat, brisket, crusty French bread and brie, spicy pork chops, or a simple pasta of olive oil and garlic.

Taylor Morgan – February 2021

Wade Cellars “Three by Wade” Chenin Blanc 2019

Clarksburg, Yolo County, California
$25 (Wine Club Reorder – $22)

There’s a really good reason behind why I respect basketball players: they’re wine snobs! Ever hear of the NBA secret wine society? Their team dinners now have wine pairings, they take team trips to Napa wineries, and they’re no longer “impressed by your financial portfolio or how big your house is. Nobody talks about square footage. Nobody talks about cars or jewelry or whatever. It’s who can bring the best bottle of wine.” – Gabrielle Union, on her husband Dwyane Wade’s obsession with wine.

Dwayne Wade’s love for wine started from the food and wine dinners he would enjoy during his Miami heat days with Lebron James and Chris Bosh. That passion has now been taken to the next level with his own winery. What I love about Wade Cellars, is that his mission is to create quality wine at a price point that can be enjoyed by anyone, therefore making good wine more approachable.

Wade partnered with Jason Pahlmeyer, whose own winery features Napa wines upwards of $150. While Wade does have a pricey Napa Cab under the label “Wade”, his Three by Wade line includes a $40 Napa Cab, Rosé, and Chenin Blanc. I love the Chenin Blanc because it is the perfect “in between” white wine. It’s a great balance between creamy Chardonnay and crisp Sauvignon Blanc and can pair really well with virtually any food – especially spicy foods.

Aromatically the wine is perfumed with fresh white flowers, zesty lemon rind, and ripe, juicy tropical fruits. On the palate, the wine is balanced beautifully by the acidity of the 95% Chenin, the slight weight from the malolactic fermentation (what makes a wine creamy), and the 5% Viognier to create a perfect anytime wine.

“NBA players are the product of so many unseen hours spent perfecting so many hidden details, all leading to the moment when the ball is tossed in the air. So too is wine crafted against countless variables — the weather, soil, harvest, tanks, the barrels and blends, the delicate alchemy of it all — until, one day, the cork is pulled. For both to shine, it takes so much work no one will ever see.” – Carissa Mondavi of Continuum Winery

Taylor Morgan – February 2021

Mirror Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
$32 (Wine Club Reorder – $28)

Calling all Kirk Venge lovers!! This wine is ah-mazing and I am too excited to share it with you. Mirror is owned by Rick Mirer, who had a successful career playing football for Notre Dame, the 49ers, and the Raiders to name a few. Unlike some other “celebrity” wines, Rick doesn’t just stamp his name on a bottle for publicity (cough cough, Snoop Dogg). He hired a talented team to help him source quality fruit and turn it into top-of-the-line wine. This is where Kirk Venge comes in. Kirk’s an expert on making wines that put an emphasis on terrior and quality.

Kirk is best known for his winemaking style of “making wine in the vineyard.” He focuses on showcasing the site specific terrior in each bottle, which is why each different wine he makes is so unique and delicious. If you’ve ever visited our tasting room, you have more than likely tried a wine by Kirk Venge – probably his Venge or Croix labels. His Venge Sauvignon Blanc has been a longtime favorite around here, and I hope this Mirror Sauvignon Blanc will follow in its footsteps.

Kirk works hard to attentively develop the highest quality fruit that each vineyard can produce, making for some incredible values with great complexity. I have NO idea how this wine only costs $32 because it comes from the Beckstoffer Melrose Vineyard in Rutherford, which is very expensive due to the high- quality reputation behind the Beckstoffer name. By no means am I complaining, but it’s just another reason why this wine is going to be your new daytime drinkin’ favorite.

You know, it’s not only great reds that are grown on Rutherford Dust…this white, quite literally, stands next to them. Beautiful, bright, bursting, the 2019 Mirror Sauvignon Blanc invites with scents of fresh cut grass, crisp honeydew, and just a touch of green apple. Delicate, but not diminutive, this white will pair well with spicy ceviche or rémoulade-topped calamari, but let’s not forget the greatest Sauvingon Blanc pairing of all time: oysters.

Taylor Morgan – February 2021