Cruess Fiano 2018

Russian Riv􏰝er Valley􏱇, Sonoma County􏱇
$28 (Wine Club Reorder Price: $24)

Cruess was founded in 2013 by Anthony Beckman and Alissa Lind, with a strong commitment to producing unique and beautiful wines without compromise. They are also very focused on bringing high quality wines to market without an accompanying high price.

You may not be familiar with Fiano, a classic white grape of Southern Italy. It is a white wine lover’s delight, complex yet an easy drinker that pairs well with a meal or on its own. Fiano has a medium-light body and medium acidity. Fiano is also surprisingly ageworthy, many can be cellared for 5 to 10 years.

The fruit for this wine comes from Bowland Vineyards, a pristine one and half acre vineyard in Russian River Valley. As for the winemaking process, this is a pure expression of Fiano, with nine days of soaking on the skins, then pressed and fermented with native yeast in neutral oak barrels for ten months. The result is a fascinating and seductively rich wine loaded with fresh melon, nuttiness, papaya, and exotic fruit (not sweet and dry). It offers amazing aromatics that jump out of the glass. The wine is lush and dense on the mid-palate, yet extremely elegant, fragrant, and complex. This wine is unfined and unfiltered and no animal products were used in the making of this wine – it’s vegan-friendly.

We think the 2018 Cruess Fiano will pair well with savory glazed light meats like orange-rosemary roasted chicken and soy-glazed salmon. In Italy fiano is commonly paired with fish and shellfish, but it also goes well with chicken, pork, and veal with any sauces that are not strongly citrusy.

Amy Ryan 􏱑– November 2021

Lúna􏰋sa Viognier􏰸 2020

Damiano Vine􏱇yar􏰸d, Sierr􏰸􏰸a Foo􏰜hills􏰋
$40 (Wine Clu􏰙b Reo􏰸rder􏰸 Pr􏰸ice: $36)

Lú􏱐nasa, an ancient celebration signifying the beginning of harvest, can be traced back as early as the 15th century in Ireland and Scotland, typically taking place in the month of August. During L􏱐únasa, 􏱒harvest knots􏱓 crafted from wheat were commonly exchanged as a token of love and courtship. The harvest knot represented on the label is known as a 􏱒Double Heart 􏱔 Farmer􏱕s Knot􏱓, which symboliz􏱖es a couple􏱕’s loving union and a farmer􏱕’s promise to return at the end of harvest.

L􏱐únasa is owned and operated by wife and husband, Ciji and Jordan Je􏱗ffries, and we are the fi􏱘rst wine shop to sell their brand new wines! Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Jordan􏱕s fi􏱘rst exposure to the wine industry was at age 17 working as an intern for a small winery outside of Eugene. Taking the opportunity to learn as much as possible about all facets of the winemaking process, his experience solidi􏱘ed his interest in wine, ultimately taking him to UC Davis where he graduated with a degree in Viticulture and Enology.

With his sights set on Napa, Jordan moved to the valley and secured his 􏱘first harvest internship following graduation. After a harvest spent abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa, Jordan returned to Napa where he continued to deepen his experience working under and alongside some of the region’􏱕s most accomplished winemakers (Thomas Rivers Brown & Philippe Melka just to name a few􏱙). In addition to being the winemaker for L􏱐únasa, Jordan currently serves as the Director of Winemaking for Brasswood’􏱕s new custom crush facility located in Calistoga. Quite the resume!

We chose this wine for your November wine club with Thanksgiving dinner on our minds. Viognier is a classic pairing, especially if you want to wow your guests with something deliciously di􏱗fferent. With its richness, medium body, light spice, and fruit fl􏱚avors it􏱕’s an ideal complement for your roast turkey 􏱔– both dark and white meat. Plus, its bright acidity can cut through buttery sides like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and stuffi􏱛ng. The viognier is pale gold in color with a bright perfume of white peach and apple blossoms on the nose. Notes of mouthwatering green apple and honeysuckle dominate the mid-palette, transitioning to a silky, smooth 􏱘finish. Only 69 cases made.

Ta􏱇ylor Morgan 􏱑– Nov􏰝ember 2021

Freeman Pinot Noir 2018

Russian River Valley
$45 (Wine Club Reorder: $36)

“Freeman’s 2018 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) is absolutely gorgeous. Racy and exuberant in the glass, the 2018 exudes richness and all of the allure of the year. Bright acids lend brightness to a core of black cherry, plum, spice, lavender, sage and floral notes. Soft curves give this open-knit, pliant Pinot tons of sheer appeal. Far from an easygoing appellation level Pinot, the 2018 packs plenty of punch, with a lot of tannin and bright acids. Give it a few years to soften. Vineyard sources are Gloria and Keefer. This is a fabulous appellation-level wine.” 93 points – Antonio Galloni

Ken and Akiko Freeman started their winery quietly in 2001 and since then have developed a style of Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir that appeals to those who savor elegant cool-climate wines with lovely ripe fruit flavors.

From the first vintage, the Freeman style went against convention. While others pushed the limits of ripeness, Akiko and consulting winemaker Ed Kurtzman sought balance and refinement. Today, the winery is defined by those same pursuits, with Akiko at the helm as winemaker, and Freeman is recognized internationally as one of California’s most acclaimed small producers.

Freeman wines are deeply tied to the idea of provenance, which is the place of origin. The wines are crafted using grapes from some of the coolest parts of the Russian River Valley and the extreme Sonoma Coast. As much as these origins are tied to a distinctive sense of place, they are also tied to an abiding belief that California can produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines that are as complex, eloquent and age-worthy as those of Burgundy.

The Russian River Pinot Noir is a subtle wine, with an easy drinking style that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. With a medium dark ruby color and pleasant aromas of ripe plums and earth, the wine is soft and rich on the palate. It has just the right amount of balanced acidity, along with flavors of spicy Pinot berries and watermelon. The wine’s finish is long, with prominent acidity.

Amy Ryan – November 2021

Aril Red Blend 2016

Kick Ranch, Sonoma County
$40 (Wine Club Reorder Price: $34)

Joanne and Harmon Brown own one of the more obscure estates on this hillside, Aril. The couple met in Telluride, Colorado but were not novices to the world of wine. In fact, Harmon was the president of the Spottswoode Estate in Napa Valley from 1981 to 1987. Renowned winemaker and viticulturist Ehren Jordan (previously with Turley and owner of Failla) took over as winemaker and vineyard consultant in 2014 from previous winemaker Nate Weis (Silver Oak) and viticulturist Mike Wolf (Beckstoffer).

Home to Rhône-style Syrah wines, Aril was a perfect match for Jordan, who developed his winemaking technique under the tutelage of celebrated oenologist Jean-Luc Columbo. Ehren honed his skills in the vineyards of the Rhône Valley in France, assisting with Columbo’s own label, Les Ruchets. Although he has no formal degree in fermentation science (a fact he proudly credits with his success), Jordan is steeped in the French style of Syrah-Grenache wines.

In giving Jordan the title of 2008 Winemaker of the Year, the San Francisco Chronicle said “The consistent quality of any of his projects would win him plenty of attention…an impressive, precise mind lies behind the always-mellow demeanor … If there’s a common thread in Jordan’s work, it might be his insistence on making ‘wines that are authentic.’”

Considered a benchmark for Rhône varieties, Kick Ranch is a geologically diverse sustainably farmed hillside site on the western side of the northern flank of Spring Mountain which separates Sonoma and Napa Counties. An amazing mix of volcanic, rocky, clay loam vineyard soils contribute a rich minerality. Kick Ranch’s vine rows are laid out for perfect sun exposure with a 20-mile vista down to the Petaluma Wind Gap, providing cool nights and foggy mornings preserving acidity, balance, and aromatics.

This blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot is coming from the near-perfect 2016 vintage which allowed for optimum ripeness in the grapes. The resulting wine is packed full of fruit and spice which will pair great with your Thanksgiving meal.

Taylor Morgan – November 2021

Bushong “Power Corruption & Lies” Tannat Blend 2018

Paso Robles
$45 (Wine Club Reorder Price: $36)

Jason Bushong grew up in Southern California in the ’80s doing what most kids were doing: collecting vinyl, listening to Duran Duran, and discovering his passions. Thanks to a bottle of Santa Barbara County Chardonnay shared by a friend while still in high school, Jason found his passion for life. His first wine industry experience was as an intern at Fieldbrook Winery in Humboldt County. His experience working in many different AVAs (American Viticulture Area) over the past 26 years has given him a keen sense of how to produce elegant, balanced wines from the variety of soils available. The Bushong wines showcase Jason’s winemaking style, under his family label with a limited production of approximately 1000 cases per year.

You may not be familiar with Tannat, the primary grape in this blend. It’s relatively rare in the US with only about 2% of global Tannat plantings. (It is, however, much more common in Uruguay, where 44% of all Tannat is grown.) Tannat is believed to have originated in the Basque region of Europe on the border between France & Spain. It is a dry, full-bodied red with high tannin and medium acidity. Prominent flavors in Tannat often include black currant, plum, licorice, cardamom, and smoke. Although often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, in this case Bushong has created a unique blend of 67% Tannat, 27% Syrah and 6% Petite Sirah. You’ll find Tannat pairs well alongside richly marinated, barbecue grilled meats and vegetables.

“Strawberry preserves greet you while fig and cassis round out the palate with a finish of coriander and winter spices. Always finely structured for incredible balance in acid, fruit, tannin, and minerality.“ – Bushong Vintage Company

Amy Ryan – October 2021