Canard Estate “Throwback” Calistoga Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Included in: Reserve Club – September 2020

Regularly $80. Club member re-order: $72

Rich (“Duck”) and Carolyn Czapleski searched for an eternity to find the perfect vineyard with the correct climate and soil to grow the red varietals that they needed for world class wine. In 1983 the quest finally came to an end when they purchased Canard Vineyard in Calistoga, CA. Carolyn, a master gardener and interior designer then transformed the historic home and surrounding grounds into something magical. A true gentleman, Rich immediately got his hands dirty tending to the vines. His philosophy was simple, “If you take care of the vines, the vines will take care of you”. The past thirty-five years Rich has been doing exactly that, and allowing the natural terroir to influence the distinctive characteristics of the wine. 

Situated on the Northwest corner of Dunaweal Lane and the iconic Silverado Trail in Calistoga sits the twenty-five acre property, considered a historic vineyard in the Napa Valley. The original estate was the homestead of Reason P. Tucker, who gained notoriety for leading the efforts to rescue the survivors of the ill-fated Donner Party. The residence, built in 1859, quickly became the center of social activity in the area during the late 1800’s. Zinfandel was originally planted on the estate over 135 years ago. Remarkably those dry farmed vines still stand, yielding a small quantity of incredibly elegant fruit which goes into the highly coveted Estate and Estate Reserve Zinfandel. Since then Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and of course Cabernet Sauvignon were planted. 

Each year Canard produces nine single vineyard wines, each one expressing the remarkable complexities of the estate’s unique terroir. The wines are all produced from sustainably grown, dry farmed grapes which are skillfully transformed into the finest expression of each varietal. Canard is special in that they are dedicated to creating wines of distinction with an emphasis on quality over quantity, thus only producing 1,800 cases per year. 

Wine club manager, Taylor, visited Duck and his pig Peaches at the estate this Summer and said “It was the best winery experience I’ve had in awhile. We were sitting in Duck’s backyard by his pool sipping on his wines while staring out into the vines which they came from. Normally these wines are allocated to Country Clubs in Florida and Texas, but due to Covid-19, well, you know the story. But – he promised us that by showing support to him now that he will always save a little bit for B&V club members. Amazing guy, amazing wines, be sure to drink now and stock up for later!”

The 2016 “Throwback” Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon is exclusive – with only 225 cases produced. This Cabernet is a dominant proprietary blend highlighting big Napa Valley fruit, and is balanced with great restraint in the traditional “Left Bank” Bordeaux style. It is a very elegant wine with hints of rose petals, black currant, Asian spice, and crushed clove dominating the nose. Full bodied with a velvety finish of black fruits, vanilla bean, and frankincense. The rich flavor and high tannin content makes it the perfect partner to a rich grilled Filet Mignon steak with a black peppercorn sauce – dishes with a very high flavor profile. 

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – September 2020

Skylark Orsi Vineyard Mendocino Pinot Blanc 2018

Included in: White Club – September 2020

Regularly $23. Club member re-order: $20

Skylark Wine Company is a collaboration between San Francisco’s Boulevard Restaurant Wine Directors John Lancaster and Robert Perkings. They’ve run the wine program there for the past 15 years and during their tenure they have built a close friendship, an inventory of wines from around the globe, and two impeccable palates. 

The partnership created long-term relationships with the entire scope of the wine industry and the next logical step was to create their own label and make their own wine with some of the best vineyards in Northern California. While their plan was to only create a single barrel, they decided to jump in head first and create 14 barrels of Syrah. Thus Skylark Wine Company was born. 

“We strive to produce wines that crystalize our passion within each bottle. Because of our relationships with meticulous and respected grape growers, we have been able to produce wines of distinction and character that represent the best of what Northern California vineyards have to offer. We are proud of Skylark and hope to continue to share these wines with our family and friends, old and new.” 

This beautiful Orsi Vineyard 2018 Pinot Blanc comes from one of John Fetzer’s vineyards, originally planted back in the 1970s. This fruit is coveted, and Skylark has purchased nearly the entire vineyard to create and maintain this straw yellow wine.

You’ll find fragrant aromatics of lime peel, roasted lemon, Granny Smith apple and a complicating note of pebbled soil. Intense and penetrating on the palate, the flavors follow through with the roasted lemon and green apple enlivened by natural acidity.

This wine definitely falls on the lighter side, so I recommend a beautiful light Arugula and Pear Salad, with goat cheese and an Orange Citrus Vinaigrette (add chicken or salmon if you’d like a little extra protein, it won’t affect the pairing.) This combination is extremely refreshing, and will give you all those summer feels that are now slowly slipping into fall. Who says summer can’t be year ‘round?!

Michelle Michelbook – September 2020

Hudson Estate Carneros Aleatico 2019

Included in: Sampler Club & White Club – September 2020

Regularly $39. Club member re-order price only $35.

Holistic farming and a focused effort on the ecology of the complete farm encompass Hudson Ranch and Hudson Vineyards. First planted in 1981, Hudson’s endeavor has been to grow for taste and diversity. They encourage a polyculture using ethical, responsible farming practices and are mindful that every decision they make impacts crops, environment, staff, and community. Hudson Ranch rambles across 2,000 acres of the Carneros region of the Napa Valley. Of the 2,000 acres a mere 200 are under vines representing twenty different varieties. Another three acres make up the heirloom vegetable garden but the rest is wild. 

The peaceful, bucolic setting of Hudson Ranch embodies the energy, intensity, and passion of proprietor Lee Hudson. Originally from Huston, Texas, Lee received his B.S. in Horticulture at the University of Arizona. Lee worked with esteemed Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac in Morey St. Denis, Burgundy where he learned that great grapes from hallowed vineyard sites produce truly world class, fine wines. When returning to the States he graduated from University California Davis with a degree in Viticulture and Enology. Lee began to search for the perfect piece of property from Santa Barbara to Mendocino before deciding on the Carneros property in the Napa Valley.  

Hudson’s winemaker Clayton Kirchhoff came to the ranch 6 years ago as a young winemaker with 12 years of winery experience and an innate skill at crafting wines of presence. He originally gained his experience while growing up and working in the vineyards of the small AVA of Clarksburg, CA. During his time at UC Santa Barbara studying Economics he had the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Italy. This is where he discovered that wine would be his life’s endeavor. He is largely self-taught in winemaking and has utilized the guidance and mentorship of many renowned Napa Valley winemakers. 

The 2019 Estate Carneros Aleatico hailing from the California Hopland Field Selection vines has a new twist on the original Aleatico stemming from Tuscany, Italy. Aleatico is a Corsican black Muscat variety, once the favorite wine of Napoleon Bonaparte! Unlike the standard use of the grape for dry red and rosé wines, this Hudson Estate wine is honey in color with a full range of aromatics including nutmeg, crisp green apple, and honeysuckle. Typically Aleatico is used to produce a sweet dessert wine similar to the Muscat varietal grape, Hudson has twisted it to create a very dry aromatic white wine instead. It is pleasantly dry, crisp, and approachable.  

These types of aromatic white wines are wonderful to use as a flavor multiplier. My favorite is to pair with a lighter seafood such as a Shrimp Scampi or Halibut Beurre Blanc to heighten the flavors! If you are looking for something a little sweeter this wine pairs well with Vanilla and Coconut flavors as well. 

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – September 2020

Olabisi Napa Valley “Proprietary Red” 2017

Included in: Red Club – September 2020

Regularly $45. Club member re-order: $38

Ted Osborne and his wife Kim founded Olabisi Wines in 2002. Ted is from that ambitious generation of winemakers in Napa Valley who worked their way up to owning their own winery with a lot of hard work and sleepless nights. He is also completely self-taught, entering the industry with a degree in English but no formal wine training.

Ted first came to the valley when Kim took a job designing wine labels. After living in Napa for six months, he was still unemployed and so decided he wanted to change career paths and move into the wine industry. The problem was he didn’t know who to call. So, during harvest in 1995, while flipping randomly through a book highlighting wineries of Napa Valley, he randomly called Cakebread. To his surprise, he was immediately connected to winemaker Bruce Cakebread who hired him the very next day. Sometimes timing is everything, and for Ted, this was his way in.

Ted spent the next four years bouncing back and forth between Napa and wineries in North and South America, Australia and France to maximize his experience in the shortest amount of time. During that time, he worked for Cakebread, Rupert & Rothschild, Passing Clouds, Chateau du Seuil, Storybook Mountain and Laird.

In 2002, while working as Assistant Winemaker at Storybook Mountain, Olabisi was born. Kim created the labels and he created the wine. They wanted a brand that was unique and not just their last name. They decided on “Olabisi,” which is a Nigerian name meaning “joy multiplied” – a sentiment he believes is present in all his wines.

This 2017 Proprietary Red Wine is a complex blend of Merlot, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. You’ll find unique aromas of grape cola, roasted herbs, black pepper, candied walnuts, honey, candied apples, cherry cheesecake, and thai tea ice-cream. The palate is pure with upfront flavors of velvet chocolate cake, juicy strawberry, tangy and quenching, with a rich long finish.

A wine this complex deserves a meal to match, something light and rich all at the same time. So may I recommend the following: fried pork medallions with creamy Gorgonzola sauce and grilled pears. Light meat, rich sauce, and tangy sweet pears, consider all your delicious pairing bases covered.

Michelle Michelbook – September 2020

p.s. Cyndi and I discovered Olabisi a couple years ago while visiting Calistoga and have been big fans ever since. It’s just the kind of small, family-owned winery we like. If you find yourself in Calistoga, stop into their tasting room on Washington Street and tell them we sent you!


UNTI “Segromigno” Dry Creek Valley Sangiovese Blend 2018

Included in: Red Club & Sampler Club – September 2020

Regularly $39. Club member re-order: $35

􏰋􏰇􏰔􏰁􏰌􏰏􏰋􏰊􏰈􏰌􏰍􏰋􏰇􏰌30 years of incredible winemaking make up the history of Unti Vineyards in Healdsburg, CA. As obsessive wine fanatics, this family owned and operated winery specializes in Mediterranean style wines with vineyard personality. Mick and father George Unti co-founded the winery with the belief that the world’s best wine grapes come from vineyards where the vines are naturally adapted to their environment. This belief has led to planting several varietals that heretofore have not been grown in the Dry Creek Valley but are prominently planted in Southern Europe. Mick and George are avid consumers of Italian, French, Spanish, and German wine, which is the reason they are not afraid to make wines from grapes not commonly grown in California. 

Winemaker Jason Valenti’s interest in wine stemmed from his move to the Bay Area to return to the restaurant industry and pursue a degree in Viticulture and Enology from U.C. Davis. His first cellar job was with Paul Hobbs Winery which evolved into a full-time Enologist position. After a brief sabbatical he returned to become winemaker for CrossBarn Winery (Paul Hobbs “everyday” label) and transformed CrossBarn from a secondary label into a revered brand with dedicated vineyards, state of the art facility and staff. With meticulous technical experience under his belt, Jason breached into European varietals and joined Unti Vineyards in 2015. He looks forward to continuing top-tier winemaking and continuing Unti’s quest to produce Rhône and Italian varietals from the Dry Creek Valley estate. 

The 2018 “Segromigno” Dry Creek Valley Sangiovese Blend is derived from 73% Sangiovese grapes, and 27% Montepulciano grapes. 2018 is an excellent vintage for this blend of Central Italian grapes. Thanks to better farming practices, such as more extensive crop thinning, and scrutiny of the vineyard blocks used, Segromigno 2018 vintage is more complex than previous vintages. The cool August resulted in a longer hang time for the fruit which resulted in a deep colored and intense wine with great natural acidity. This wine is special as it can be enjoyed now but will also gracefully age for several years (3-5) to come much like a Chianti. 

The high acidity in this wine makes it versatile with a wide variety of vegetable and spice driven foods. Anything grilled will go amazing with the Segromigno, some of our favorites are tomatoes, Italian sausages, and red peppers. This wine will be a crowd favorite when paired with a Sunday barbeque of smoked Andouille sausage and grilled vegetables. 

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – September 2020