Du Jour Dining — April 18

Dear Friends,

We are so excited to be partnering with Du Jour Dining on April 18th for a unique NINE course dinner with wine pairings at Chef Vance and Kelly’s historic 1880 Victorian home on Sonoma Square. Spring is in full swing and that means great produce, including asparagus, peas, carrots, spring garlic, chanterelle mushrooms, pepper cress, Brussels sprouts, rhubarb, mint, rutabaga, red peppers and strawberries. Each course is paired with one of our Crosby Roamann wines. Vance and Kelly, Sean and I will be on hand discussing each course and accompaniment.

Get your tickets here. 

Du Jour Dining & Crosby Roamann
April 18, 2015HMB Farms Sweet Pea Custard, Heirloom Carrot Mousseline & Caviar
2014 Crosby Roamann Napa Valley Rose de Saignee

Glen Ellen Duck Egg, Potato & Asparagus

Creamy Spring Garlic Soup with Herbed Beignet
2012 Crosby Roamann St. Helena Sauvignon Blanc

Chanterelle Mushrooms & Pepper Cress Panna Cotta
2011 Crosby Roamann Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Miso-Glazed Scallop Rosace on Brussels Sprout “Salad”
2012 Crosby Roamann Carneros Chardonnay

Peppered Petaluma Magret of Duck, Trio of Rhubarb, Feta & Mint
2011 Crosby Roamann Oak Knoll Merlot

Loin of Sonoma Lamb en Sous Vide, Picholine Olive Soufflé,
Rutabaga Froth & Lamb Essence
2011 Crosby Roamann “Reserve” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

“Red, White & Blue”
Cashel Blue Cheese, Red Pepper Coulis & White Chocolate Veloute
2009 Crosby Roamann Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Bali Vanilla Bean Parfait with Sonoma Strawberries
& Chevre Ice Cream

This nine course wine dinner is $140 per person, and is limited to 12 seats. Reserve your seats here.

Bon appetit!

Everything is Everything

Dear friends,

The sun hangs over Sacramento like a paper lantern. We are holding hands, careening down a little two-lane road in the Volvo station-wagon that originally brought us west. Later, we will learn the road is named, officiously enough, Country Road 31. Every crevice is a bombshell . . . The car has no shocks, and for the last two years we have been weighing the question of whether to invest more money or just continue to bounce our way through life.

We bought the Volvo used shortly after our children were born. We did not know it then – it was not so very long ago – but one day in the not too distant future we would leave our jobs, pack the Volvo, and drive to California to start a new life. The truth is that if we had known it then, we might have bought a different car, but that if we had to do it all over again we wouldn’t do it any other way.

We are driving home from the airport, and we have two cases of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir in the rear. At that moment, the Suisun Valley is as good a place as any to lose ourselves in the sunset over the Vaca Mountains, and it is as good enough a time and place to admit — if only to ourselves — that we did not have anything to say last year. We did not have the energy. We did not have the stamina or the courage. We did not have the facility. We did not have the strength.

We started writing to you weeks ago from New Orleans. Sean was touring the city for the first time with our distributor, and reading Jorge Louis Borges and making frantic — “inspired” — scribbled notes on hotel napkins and restaurant receipts, in the margins of old books and discarded airline tickets. Translation was an issue. We continued writing from Portland, Oregon two weeks ago and then found ourselves sidetracked in the foothills of Willamette Valley drinking gorgeous wines with new friends and old acquaintances.  These things happen. We have been writing for months, but what we wanted to say now feels like it’s been lost in a whirlwind of time, like we have been drifting in the wind, swiftly, gladly, afraid to break the spell, afraid to even speak each other’s names.

And now we want to say something.

We want to say that life often swells up around you like a wave and before you know it you are drifting aimlessly in the sea. We want to say that if you lie on the beach and listen to the gulls calling and the sounds of the waves crashing you can hear the voices of your children laughing from miles away. We want to say that the scent of the summer lavender is mesmerizing; the scent of the winter rains, intoxicating.  We want to say that to experience these moments, quietly and alone, is to experience an “Infinite greatness of Place.” Leviathan, IV.46.

On a billboard near the crossing of the Willamette River in downtown Portland is written, in garish white spray-painted letters nothing less than 10-feet tall, “Everything is everything.” Like a lot of the street art in Portland it’s easy to dismiss, but it has drawn our attention to it over and over, which brings us back to Borges:

“Tennyson said that if we could but understand
a single flower we might know who we are and
what the world is. Perhaps he was trying to say that
there is nothing, however humble, that does not imply
the history of the world and its infinite concatenation of
causes and effects. Perhaps he was trying to say that
the visible world can be seen entire in every image,
just as Schopenhauer tells us that the Will expresses
itself entire in every man and woman. The Kabbalists
believed that man is a microcosm, a symbolic mirror of the
universe; if one were to believe Tennyson, everything
would be – everything . . . . ”

— Jorge Luis Borges, The Aleph and Other Stories, trans. Andrew Hurley (New York: Penguin Books, 1998), 87.

Part 2: Handmade Wines/the WAREHOUSE

A number of matters conspired within the short parameters of nine months to hurl us into the vinous unknown. Last April or May (time has become a maze) we purchased a warehouse in the industrial park south of the City of Napa. At the same time, due to forces completely beyond our control, we were forced out of the winery in which we had been operating for three years. Shortly thereafter we experienced a death in the family, an earthquake, a burglary, and a flood. The warehouse renovation stalled helplessly at the building department.

We moved our wines and winemaking for 2014 to a small location called Punk Dog Wines, just next door to our warehouse, as our renovation continued. We’ve now reached the final phase of renovation, pictured above (the application for the winery — our first solo operation — is now with the City of Napa) and we will begin pouring our current releases in the tasting salon at the warehouse shortly. These miniscule, handcrafted lots are exceptional. They are robust, full, velvety, and chocolicious. They are demanding, inquisitive, talented, and searching. They are unique. Some highlights . . .

2012 Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa Valley — from Adastra Vineyard, a CCOF certified organic vineyard in Carneros — whole cluster pressed and fermented in French and American oak barrels, 20% new, for 20 months. Super rich, ripe, and fleshy with notes of honeydew, melon, and pineapple.

2011 Cabernet Sauvingon, Napa Valley – from Wehr-Wagner vineyard, a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon from a CCOF certified organic vineyard at the northern edge of the Rutherford appellation and 9% Merlot from the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, fermented and aged in 80% new French oak barrels for 20 months. Elegant and refined with soft fore-tannins and dried floral notes, semi-sweet raspberries, confectioner’s sugar, and a touch of briar.

Part 3:  EVENTS

Our commitment for 2015 is to reconnect with you, our extended family of friends. We have been busy planning some amazing events. This week Sean will be presenting our wines at the Wilmington Country Club (SOLD OUT). Friday, February 27th Sean will be presenting at the deliciously hip 701 Restaurant on Capitol Hill.  A five-course meal, paired with our wines (SOLD OUT).

We will be in New York the first week of April. Thursday, April 2nd we will be presenting our wines at a dinner at the Lotos Club in New York City (Members only). We are also tinkering with the idea of a follow-up dinner Friday, April 3, for 12-guests. If you would like to attend the April 3 dinner, please contact Juliana for details.

Back in California, stay tuned for details regarding a pop-up 7-course wine dinner April 7.


Juliana & Sean

Enjoy a little Crosby Roamance …

This Valentine’s Day, why not enjoy a little Crosby Roamance?

It sounds a little cheesy.  Maybe it makes you smile.  One of our 7-year-old daughters came up with this new tagline for us, and of course, we thought it was brilliant, that they are brilliant.  That’s just one kind of love for you. 

But why not embrace the holiday in all its glory?  Whether you’re dining out, or dining in, or planning a romantic get-away, we’ll make it easy for you to include the wine. 

Our newest release is our deliciously pink 2013 Rosé de Saignée.  Made from 100% Oak Knoll District Merlot, in the traditional “saignee” method, fermented in a gently-used American oak barrel, with élevage in stainless steel.  The wine is crisp, floral, and dry, and pairs perfectly with almost anything.  We only produced one barrel of this wine and are offering it with shipping included at $20/bottle.

If Rose is not your thing, we are also offering a special two-bottle package of our 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon in Valentine’s Day PINK gift-wrapping as a part of the CrosbyRoamance special. The 2009 Dark Garden Cabernet Sauvignon is ultra-lush and ripe with notes of cassis, vanilla, blackberry and light spice. Only 3 cases remain … offered at $60/bottle, shipping included.

Members of the Inner Circle can add additional bottles to their January shipment: 2013 Rosé de Saignée for $10/bottle, and 2009 Dark Garden Cabernet Sauvignon for $50/bottle. Please email us at Juliana@crosbyroamann.com to arrange your order.

We hope you have a beautiful Valentine’s day, celebrating Love, in all its many forms. 



The Crosby Roamance Selection: LOVE Two Bottles 2013 Rosé de Saignée Napa Valley 750ml




2009 Dark Garden Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 750ml

Juliana & Sean

Happy Holidays

Dear Friends,

Winter is approaching Napa Valley, which is always a reflective time of year. The ground is soggy with the first storms, and the leaves that have not fallen yet are brilliant red and gold. The light is gone by five, and we can often smell wood smoke in the air from our neighbors’ houses. When the sky clears in the morning light you can see clear across the valley floor to the Mayacamas Mountains. The light from San Pablo Bay flickers in the south, and then there is the silence.

From Beryl Markham we learn, “There are all kinds of silence and each of them means a different thing.” Not only the midnight silence of the vineyards and the little towns of St. Helena and Yountville, but the silence of a cold sun. The silence of an empty road. The silence of men and women working in the field, broken occasionally by feral cries. The kind of “silence that can emanate from a lifeless object.” The silence of wine, a “soundless echo” of the people and place from which it emerged.

And so another year quietly comes to a close, and in the sacred places of our homes we gather with friends and family, and in this brief spell we raise our glasses to years passed and the year to come.  We wish you and your families the most joyous of holidays.

There is still time to place an order for Christmas delivery: with shipping in California, please place your order by Saturday the 20th; all other states, by end of day Thursday, December 18th.

Cooking with Crosby Roamann: Steve’s Legendary Stuffed Duck

Food and memory are indelibly linked. There are some dishes that we make every year that have become such a part of who we are that we couldn’t imagine ourselves without them. This is one of those recipes. It’s the roast, stuffed duck that Juliana’s father, Steve Arvai, made every year, traditionally around Christmas.

Steve emigrated to the United States in 1969 from Hungary, just as that country was enduring a crushing Communist rule that would last another 20 years. He made a life here and raised his children here, and one of the things that Steve was known for — besides his charming smile and quick witted humor — was his cooking. As the holidays are approaching, we thought it would be fun to share this recipe, which we enjoy just around now, as the weather cools suitably in the North Bay area and is suitable for any holiday gathering. The crispy skin, and the juicy dark duck meat, paired with a savory stuffing, and a sweet red cabbage slaw is pretty much my definition of culinary heaven: and it goes perfectly with our Merlot from the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley.


Merlot, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley


We buy our ducks from Sonoma County Poultry, a wonderful place that delivers to some of the best restaurants in the area. These ducks are wonderfully fresh, and we think they tend to be a bit larger and tastier than those you find frozen in traditional supermarkets. Information can be found here: http://www.libertyducks.com/about.html

Bon Appétit or as they say in Hungarian, Jó étvágyat!

Steve’s Legendary Stuffed Duck Recipe

(For 6-8 adults)


  • 2 ducks cleaned (4-6 lbs. each) and trimmed, gizzards reserved, keep the necks.
  • Dried apricots for roasting (optional)
  • Chicken stock for roasting (optional)


  • 2 small bags or one large bag (1lb.) croutons (Steve preferred garlic parmesan, but almost any stuffing mix will do)
  • 1 qt. milk
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 large bunch parsley
  • 1 package white mushrooms
  • ½ lb. ground chicken, preferably thighs
  • Salt, pepper, and Vegeta for seasoning
  • 1 raw egg
  • Roasting twine


  • Night before: salt and pepper the ducks and refrigerate overnight
  • 1-2 hours before cooking time: remove ducks from refrigerator and bring to room temperature
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Soak croutons/stuffing mix in milk.
  • Chop parsley, mushrooms, and hard-boiled eggs into small pieces.
  • Mix with the crouton/milk mix and blend in the ground chicken. Season with salt, pepper and Vegeta.
  • Stuff the ducks and recover with the flaps of fat, then tie them up with roasting twine.
  • Put the dried apricots in the bottom of the pan with the duck necks.
  • Roast one hour at 350° F covered with aluminum foil.
  • Remove the foil and roast two more hours at 350° F, basting occasionally.
  • Internal temperature should reach 165° F.
  • Remove ducks from oven and let rest 20 minutes.
  • Remove stuffing and serve independently.
  • Quarter ducks, remove backbone, and serve with red cabbage slaw (recipe below), sweet potatoes, and roast brussels sprouts.

Reserve the fat: Throw away the apricots and necks. Reserve the duck fat for another cooking purpose.

Red Cabbage Slaw


  • 1 head red cabbage
  • ½ stick butter
  • 2 Tbsp. chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 2-3 tsp. caraway seeds
  • Kosher salt and pepper to season


  • Shred the red cabbage into long thin slices, removing the hard white parts from the center.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat; add the cabbage and the chicken stock.
  • Season with Kosher salt, pepper, and caraway seeds, and mix in.
  • Cover, turn heat down to medium and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the white vinegar. Return to heat for 5 minutes.

Harvest 2014

2014 has been a whirlwind. Budbreak occurred in February, and was followed by a moderate, dry spring. Fruit set was low, and we experienced only moderate heat events throughout June and July, with cool weather through the middle of August that allowed full maturation of the grapes.
Our harvest started in earnest five days after the earthquake, on August 29, with Sauvignon Blanc from Handley Vineyard, just north of the town of St. Helena. We destemmed one-half ton of fruit and fermented it on its skins with naturally occurring yeasts. The balance we whole-cluster pressed to neutral French oak barrels for fermentation. The wines are now aging sur lies and receive weekly battonage.  They are wonderfully nuanced, full, and ripe, and unlike anything we have produced before.
In a twist of fate our Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested next. It was exciting to find thisbeautiful vineyard perched high above Lake Hennessey.  And, a fellow McBride, no relation, owns the property, named Loveland Lee Vineyard. The site has an unusual aspect, occupying a steep hillside that wraps around the northern facing slope of Pritchard Hill, with vines facing northeast by north by northwest. The light arrives slowly across the shadow of the hill. The soil is composed of light brown clay, and is unusually thin. We picked this vineyard by hand with friends the morning of Wednesday, September 17. The berries were small and rich.  This fruit was de-stemmed at Wine Foundry and then taken to Punk Dog Cellars to ferment in six closed-top barrels, with daily spinning by hand, for 42 days. We pressed off the Cabernet by hand over the last week of fermentation, and once our new location in South Napa is ready, later this year, the barrels will move to our first permanent facility for maturation. This Loveland Lee Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is likely to be the most concentrated, rich, and luxurious wine we have ever produced, with yields totaling just 116 gallons/ton.
For the second year in a row, we harvested Pinot Noir from Carneros.  This fruit came in September 24 from Cuvaison Vineyard. We performed an aggressive saignée on the fruit to concentrate flavors and colors, and fermented in two new Leroi barrels and three bins. We pressed this wine gently off the skins and seeds over a seven-day period entirely by hand, culminating in an incredibly soft and silky structure. Pinot Noir is a tricky grape, but a rewarding challenge. Still young, it’s showing delectable cherry cola and sweet blackberry flavors already. 
We harvested Chardonnay on October 4, also from Napa’s Carneros district.  We performed a very slow, whole-cluster press on this fruit, then racked the clarified juice to a selection of four, three, and one-year old French and American oak barrels. The wine is still fermenting at a very cold temperature, with bi-weekly battonage, on naturally occurring yeasts, and as in past years, will probably complete primary and malolactic fermentation by June 2015 at the earliest.
And then we come to the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, our home and our flagship, from which we have produced a succulent and age-worthy Merlot for the past five years. We believe in this place and this vineyard, and we are thrilled to continue our relationship here. The quality of the fruit this year was superb: very ripe, but very balanced, with very ripe seed tannins. After a three-day cold soak, we fermented the juice in two, one-ton lots for 26 days.
People often ask us what it means to make “handmade” wines.  After just completing harvest 2014 we can tell you that honestly, our hands couldn’t be more involved every step of the way, so if we had a mission statement, it would read something like this …

  • We only make small lots of wine: nothing more than what we can produce ourselves, with help from friends and family.
  • We get our hands dirty: we are the people picking the grapes, re-coopering the barrels, performing the punch-downs, and pressing the wines gently by hand.
  • We pay attention to detail: there’s no guidebook; there’s no formula; there’s no recipe. We make the wines differently every year. Often they are very different wines, from each other, and from everything else available. They are unique.

Wine tells a story.  This is ours. Join us in Napa Valley. Become a Member.

Two-bottle Membership:

Six-bottle Membership: 

A Special Thanksgiving Postscript: This year (and last), we have so many people to thank for the incredible assistance they brought to our harvest and winemaking, we wanted to take a moment to call them out by name: Eric Arvai, Nathaniel “El Tapatio” Foster and Ben Kopman with whom we harvested 2013 Pinot Noir from “the pig farm” and 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Loveland Lee Vineyard on sunny Pritchard Hill. A special note of thanks to Ben — whose eagerness for winery assistance is unmatched! — who assisted Sean with the arduous task of re-coopering all the barrel fermentations for 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Thank you as well to Alex Pitts, Karina Turtzo, and Dani Rozman for their invaluable assistance picking the main lot of old vine Cabernet from Loveland Lee Vineyard September 17. This harvest would not have been possible without Eric Gordon at Punk Dog Wine Cellars in Napa’s burgeoning Wine Ghetto, the invaluable assistance of the crush pad at the Wine Foundry, and the magical crew at White Rock Vineyards. Thank you also to Katie Griffin and Heidi Williams for their dexterous finger work on the sorting table and all their support this year and last.




Cooking with Crosby Roamann: Seared Halibut

This recipe is courtesy of Fabio Trabocchi, owner of the restaurant Fiola in Washington DC, and was brought to our attention by Lizzie Munro at Wine Spectator. The original calls for porcini mushrooms instead of shitake, and Madeira instead of white wine, but Whole Foods was out of porcini on the day we wanted to make this recipe, and we don’t normally stock Madeira in our kitchen. We love the addition of fresh fava beans, which brings a bright green dash to this hearty spring meal.

Trabocchi recommends a hearty Italian red wine with this dish, like Barbaresco, but we preferred to pair this with our own Old Vine Sauvignon Blanc from Allais Vineyard. The Old Vine white wine cuts the cream and cleans the palate with every sip, and lends a lingering lemony cream flavor to this dish.


  • 4 6-8 ounce portions of halibut
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 pound fresh shitake mushrooms, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1/2 pound fresh fava beans
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 pound small, fresh morel mushrooms

Directions (this complicated recipe is easiest if you break it into discrete tasks and attack each one separately, in order):

  1. Removed the fava beans from their pods, blanch them in boiling water for a couple minutes, then run them under ice cold water, and peel. Set them aside in a small bow.
  2. Cream sauce base:
    • In a wide sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until it just starts to smoke. Add the shitake and cook until the mushrooms are nicely roasted. Remove and drain excess oil.
    • In a wide sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until it foams. Add the onion and garlic and sweat them until they are soft and translucent. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce by one-third. Add the bay leaf and roasted mushrooms and stir to combine.
    • Heat the heavy cream in another sauce pan until warm and then add it to the mushrooms. Simmer until the flavors are blended and the cream is reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Morels and Fava Beans topping:
    • Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a wide sauté pan and add the shallots and thyme. Cook until the shallots are softened and translucent.
    • Add the morels and toss to coat with the shallots. Cook until the morels are slightly wilted.
    • Add the fava beans and gently mix to coat.
    • Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Season the halibut on all sides. Heat a heavy (e.g., cast iron) pan over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until it is smoking, and sear the halibut presentation side down 3-4 minutes. Gently flip the fish using a spatula and cook another 4 minutes, or until the skin has released from the pan.

Plating: Spoon the warmed shitake crema among four plates, then top with the halibut, presentation side up (skin side down). Then spoon the morels and beans over the fish. Garnish with a couple drops of extra virgin olive oil and serve.


2012 Old Vine Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford, Napa Valley 750ml


Blooms, Shoots & Vines

Spring has kicked in; the days are warm and long but not too hot, and the city of Napa is blossoming. It is a perfect time to visit. In the past few years, a diverse and exciting food scene has emerged downtown, including Zuzu (great tapas), Torc (contemporary American fare with a distinct Napa flair), and Morimoto Napa –the best sushi around. And there are so many other delicious restaurants to try downtown, like Celadon, and Cole’s Chop House, Oentotri, La Toque, and Angèle. All serve sophisticated, seriously good food.

So, really, come, visit, stay, and plan a time to see us this spring. We’ll send you home with a few gems from our spring garden, pictured, and a bottle or two of great wine.

This month we are releasing our 2012 “Old Vine” Sauvignon Blanc, from Allais Vineyard in the heart of Napa Valley. This vineyard is situated in the middle of the venerable Rutherford bench, known better for its Cabernet Sauvignon, and in fact the grapes for this wine were harvested from 38-year-old vines interspersed among much younger Cabernet.  We fermented the juice in new French oak barrels and aged the wine for eight months on its lees. It is ripe without being cloying, with notes of sweet Meyer lemon, kiwi, and very subtle anise. It’s perfectly delicious, and just two barrels were produced – a total of 50 cases. Purchase it here, while you can.

Cheers and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and grandmothers out there!



2012 “Old Vine” Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford, Napa Valley 750ml


Spring Flings

You could have found us standing nervously at the back of the room at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena on February 22, 2014. We were pouring our wines for the first time at Premier Napa Valley, the prestigious weeklong winter event put on by the Napa Valley Vintners Association that culminates in the wine auction at CIA. I think we could take or leave the hoopla surrounding the event, but what made it special for us was meeting and reconnecting with so many people around the country that have become supporters and fans in the past couple years.

Congratulations go to our winning bidder from Houston.  Their unique five-case cuvée is comprised of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot from the 2012 vintage, ageing in one new French oak barrel until December 2014 for a total 26 months élevage. Alder Yarrow, writing for Vingoraphy.com, described it this way, “Bright fresh cherry, great acid, supple tannins, juicy.” It is decidedly lush and sophisticated.

Last week found us back at CIA pouring wine for attendees of the wonderful Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives conference. Friday March 21st we’ll be slinging Cabernet at the Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton. April 13 and 14 Sean will be presenting Crosby Roamann at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival – http://www.pbfw.com/the food and wine festival of the year. And Sunday June 22 we’ll be pouring once again outside in the bright sun at the 33rd Annual Mill Valley Wine & Gourmet Food Festival.

For Spring, we’re releasing our 2012 St. Helena Sauvignon Blanc, one of the core wines at Crosby Roamann.  We’re committed to making Sauvignon Blanc from St. Helena because its warm climate and rich soils are perfect for extracting the full phenolic flavor profiles of classic Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc: apricot, quince, and citrus.

The 2012 vintage hails from Handley Vineyard, just north of town and west of the Napa River. The vines for this wine are large, trained in a modified VSP “quad” with root systems in a deep composite soil of grey clay, sand, and large gravel. The 2012 Sauvignon Blanc aged in French oak barrels for eight months.  It is subtler and fresher than in past vintages, opening with a touch of Meyer lemon and elderflower, with a stunning finish of acacia honey and candied walnuts.


2012 Sauvignon Blanc St. Helena, Napa Valley 750ml


Cooking with Crosby Roamann: Cioppino

It’s all about clams, really, but we don’t know what to call it. It’s not cioppino, or chowder, or soup. It’s kind of like a clam stew, without heavy cream or tomatoes. Whatever you call it, this dish is absolutely delicious, and perfect for cooler Fall nights.

We first tasted something like this when we were making wine at White Rock Vineyards. Christopher Vandendriessche, the winemaker there, had a harvest lunch tradition and this cioppino (or stew, or whatever you want to call it) was a recipe that made it up to the crush pad one day from the Vandendriessche home on the hill not so far away. We loved it.

We couldn’t think of a better winter dish to enjoy with our Chardonnay, but you can make it with just about any dry white wine. The balance of the hot and hearty stew and the cool and crisp Carneros Chardonnay is a perfect match. And you can personalize this recipe with whatever is fresh or on hand at the market: clams, scallops, shrimp, or crab — even halibut or any other fatty white fish — all pair nicely in this perfect harvest meal.

Ingredients (for four people):

  • 2 lb. Clams (Cherry Stone or Little Neck are perfect, but any kind will do)
  • 2 lb. Dungeness Crab, cracked and cleaned
  • 1/2 lb. Medium shrimp (16#)
  • 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 strips of thick-cut bacon, cut into strips
  • 1 cup diced sweet white onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups of Chardonnay*
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock, chicken stock, or just water
  • 1/4 cup fresh cut Parsley
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. Oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

* We use Chardonnay, but any dry white wine will do.



1. Over medium-low heat cook the bacon in a large stockpot. When the bacon browns, add the butter and oil. When the butter has melted, add onions, garlic and parsley.  Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until onions are soft. 5 minutes. (You don’t quite want the bacon to crisp too much.)

3. Add the wine and scoop up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the stock, bay leaves, thyme,  oregano, potatoes, clams, crab, and shrimp. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer just about 15 minutes. Stir once: you want to blend the flavors, not destroy the potatoes.

4. Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty French bread, and a cool, crisp glass of Crosby Roamann Chardonnay.


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