Hudson “Pick Up Sticks” Napa Valley Grenache 2018

First planted in 1981, Hudson Ranch rambles across 2,000 acres of the Carneros region of the Napa Valley. It is one of the first estates you will see when driving into Napa Valley from San Francisco. Of the 2,000 acres a mere 200 are under vines representing twenty different varieties. Another three acres make up the heirloom vegetable garden which is sold to local restaurants and in the Oxbow Market in downtown Napa.

The peaceful setting of Hudson Ranch embodies the energy, intensity, and passion of proprietor Lee Hudson. He’s originally from Houston, Texas and if you ever meet him he is more than likely wearing his cowboy hat and boots.

Lee received his B.S. in Horticulture at the University of Arizona and then went on to work with the esteemed Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac in Burgundy.  He learned that great grapes from hallowed vineyard sites produce truly world class, fine wines. After returning to the States he graduated from U.C. Davis with a degree in Viticulture and Enology graduating amongst some of Napa’s finest, like his buddy John Kongsgaard. 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.  

The 2018 Grenache bursts out of the glass with aromas of ripe cherries, spice, and leather. The first smell of dark strawberry compote, licorice, cinnamon, and lavender is sweet and sexy. It captures fresh plum and strawberries layered with forest floor. While its palate is rich and juicy, with both fruity and savory and spicy firm tannins the wine finishes with elegant fine-grained tannins in a medium-bodied long finish.  90% Grenache, 10% Syrah. Only 211 cases produced. 

Grenache is a beautiful wine to enjoy with cheese thanks to its juicy fruit character and refined tannins. It pairs particularly well with softer, washed-rind varieties. Less crumbly feta also goes well with this wine, as does most creamy cheese. Fresh goat’s milk cheese will work together with the red fruits present in the wine. A nice goat cheese tartlet will give you the creaminess the Grenache is craving as well as highlight the red fruit in Hudson “Pick Up Sticks”. 

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – December 2020

Monticello Vineyards Oak Knoll Napa Valley Syrah 2014

The Corley family owns and manages some of the finest vineyard properties in the world, including Monticello Estate. The 80 acre property in Napa Valley has been a destination for fine wine lovers and visitors from around the world since the 1980’s. Monticello believes that great wine begins in the vineyard. 

Founder, Jay Corley, was guided by a set of values that went beyond business models or even the making of the wine itself. He believed in the worth and dignity of hands-on physical labor, and of personally crafting something that would last through the generations. 

Since Jay’s retirement in 1996, the second-generation Corleys have continued to carry forward his legacy. They pride themselves on working hard every day to create the most outstanding wines possible, and with sustainable growing practices they honor the earth that gives life to the grapes. They see themselves not as property owners but as stewards of the land for many generations to come. 

The Syrah vines are planted at the Knollwood Vineyard just ‘across the road’ from the main estate. The planting design has provided very well-balanced grapevines and coupled with meticulous farming practices, has produced excellent fruit quality. Upon first opening, this wine has a spicy forest floor tone to the nose which evolves into dark and peppery blackberry fruit aromas. These aromas are enhanced by toasted vanilla and caramel notes. A full-bodied mid-palate wine with well-structured tannins frame the wine nicely to the finish. The finish itself is long, with medium grain tannins and lingering flavors of boysenberry, blackberry, pepper and vanilla. 

Syrah is a bold fruity wine which pairs well with bold seasonings, flavors, and grilling preparations. A rich roasted leg of lamb will be perfect to keep you warm on these cold winter nights. The fat in the lamb helps smooth out the high tannins in the wine creating a smoother finish on the palate. Roasted mushrooms, olives, and eggplant make great sides as they are complex flavors that can stand up to the pepper notes in the wine. 

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – December 2020

Hobel “The Figure” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

The story of Hobel Wines began in 1998, when owner Cameron Hobel first met friend and winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown in Napa. Cameron was working as the Director of Business Development at Winebid.com and Thomas was working as Assistant Winemaker at Turley Wine Cellars. Their mutual love of great wine led to many shared dinners and glasses of wine, where they discussed the prospect of finding a project that would allow them to work together in producing a world-class wine. The opportunity finally arose eleven years later, with the 2009 Hobel Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Hobel, their family name, is also a traditional woodworking plane that has been used for centuries by skilled craftsmen to smooth, balance and finish wood surfaces, which is depicted on their label.

Award winning winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown is an artist you’ll surely recognize from our selections here at Bacchus & Venus. He began his career at Turley Wine Cellars in the late 1990s, and as his talent grew so did his resume and accolades. Today, in addition to his own label, Rivers-Marie, Thomas serves as winemaker for several other exceptional wine brands including Outpost, Maybach and Schrader. Food and Wine magazine named him Winemaker of the Year in 2010 and his wines have been awarded multiple 100 point scores by Robert Parker and Wine Spectator and Wine advocate. They say he has the “Midas Touch.”

This lush Cabernet Sauvignon is no exception to that touch. The 2018 Figure shows initially understated notes of earth, wood char and vanilla on the nose, which are quickly enveloped by aromas of warm blackberry compote. The palette is defined by dense dark fruit – blackberries and boysenberries – laced with a touch of salty brown sugar. 

For this unforgettable wine, we recommend a very decadent Thanksgiving Dish: Baked Mac & Cheese with Bacon and Cabot Cloth-Bound Aged Cheddar. Cheddar and Cabernet are a classic pairing, because the high fat content in the cheese lifts up the mouth-drying tannins in the wine and matches it’s bold intensity. You’ll definitely go back for seconds. 

Michelle “Mecha” Michelbook – November 2020

Addax Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2018

Another Russell Bevan home run, Addax is an artisan wine brand led by Brian Kearney and Josh Peeples. The brand began with a few friends and 4 barrels of Cabernet back in 2009, and has evolved into a phenomenal portfolio of wines, including Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir, and a Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.

Bevan is one of the most sought after winemakers today and one of the world’s most acclaimed. A superstar with critics, colleagues and consumers alike. Wine critics regularly praise his wines, providing correspondingly sky-high scores.  You would recognize his work from a number of our past wine club favorites such as Elyse, Belden Barns, Morgado, and his own label, Bevan Cellars. 

Russell’s approach to winemaking was perhaps best summarized by the words of Robert Parker:  “In many respects, the impressively talented visionary Russell Bevan produces wines very much in his own bigger-than-life, boisterous image. With his serious insider knowledge, which gives him access to some great sources that other producers somehow have missed, he seems to magically transform his wines into personality-filled, savory, intensely flavored efforts.”

This 2018 Sonoma Coast Pinot was crafted from the Pfendler vineyards in the Petaluma Gap region of the Sonoma Coast. Aged in 100% new French Oak, this powerhouse Pinot Noir is packed with spring flowers, black raspberries, kirsch, and licorice with subtle notes of forest floor. Deep purple in color, this is truly a Cabernet drinker’s Pinot Noir. 

Lucky for us, it’s also a mushroom lover’s Pinot. Every Thanksgiving in my home we make a side of Wild Rice and Mushrooms. It’s one of my favorite parts of the holiday meal. This dish is filled to the brim with beautiful crimini and oyster mushrooms, and this wine is the perfect pairing. The mushrooms are beautifully accented by the earthen tones in the wine. Savory never seemed so sweet. 

Michelle “Mecha” Michelbook – November 2020

Field Recordings Central Coast Hock White Blend 2018

Winemaker Andrew Jones has a keen eye for diamonds in the rough: sites that are unknown or under-appreciated but hold enormous untapped potential. He strives for unique wines loaded with personality and a one-of-a-kind experience.

Field Recordings is Andrew’s personal catalog of the people and places he values most. He quotes: “Our wines are all about the flavor — with none of the pretension.”

He spends most of his days as a vine nursery fieldman, planning and planting vineyards for farmers all over California, and is sometimes offered small lots of their best fruit on the side. Having stood in just about every vineyard on the Central Coast, he’s all about finding those underdogs with untapped potential. As friendships are made and opportunities are embraced, Andrew produces small quantities of soulful wine from these unusual, quiet vineyards.

This beautiful blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer is a special project for Andrew. Something that allowed him to embrace his love of Alsatian wines:

“The 2018 Hock is my play on a Eldezwicker (an Alsatian wine term taken from the German words edel (noble) and zwicker (blend) dating back to 1944.) My favorite table wines are Alsatian Blends and it’s one of my favorite old world wine regions. This wine is pretty much dry, with just a touch of residual singular in it to balance the acidity. There are no rules for making this wine vintage after vintage- it’s a regional white blend to represent the area and the varieties that are allowed there. This year there is way less Gewurztraminer and a lot more Pinot Gris in it, which gives it a lot more of an aromatic, crisp and refreshing feel.” 

In the glass you’ll also find mouthwatering notes of apricot, lemon zest, bartlett pear, freshly cut hay and just a hint of petrol from the Riesling.

We all know how filling Thanksgiving dinner can be. Find the lighter side of the holiday and start your night with a Winter Citrus Salad (think mixed grapefruit and oranges) with Honey Dressing, paired with this gorgeous Alsatian Blend. Bright and zesty and refreshing. We promise you’ll still have room for Turkey.

Michelle “Mecha” Michelbook – November 2020