Happy Halloween!

The magic point where every idea and its opposite are equally true. [1]

This time of year the rains arrive unexpected but wholly welcome, like friends. At first, you’re reminded of your last chance encounter, and say things like, “It’s so nice,” and “Well, well, well,” and there is a little dancing in the rain when no one is watching. Later, the shadows grow and the evenings settle dark and chilly. In the mornings a blanket of cool mist hangs in the air. You can feel the weight of your life, the moment of your existence, which is to say your truth.

Many of our friends and guests passing through the tasting room have been asking what the vintage was like. In some ways the nascent wines typify the aggressive growing season: an extremely short winter followed by an extreme drought through spring. They are ripe, without question, and the tannins will need time in barrel to soften, and perhaps some coaxing, but we are excited about them—especially since it is the first time we’ve produced all of our wines under our own roof.

We could not go on without another word about the drought, which shifted the harvest forward, and the fires in Napa, Sonoma and Lake Counties, which brought so much loss to so many. Thankfully (for once) neither affected us. To stay ahead of sugars many people were picking their white grapes at the end of July, and some completed all their harvests by the end of August. As in many years, we waited. This waiting hasn’t become an easy thing to do where once it was. The vin d’avant garde (s’il vous plais) of California winemaking is to pick early. You find this repeated in the world of wine today from Jon Bonné’s The New California Wine to Bruce Schoenfeld’s New York Times piece The Wrath of Grapes[2] But we did what we have always done — not the easiest thing — we waited, because we felt it was especially important this year to allow the seeds and stems of the grape clusters to lignify, which will produce softer, more concentrated wines, with fully ripe mid-palate structure.  We believe you will be impressed with the results.

As the wines have finished fermenting and have been pressed and readied for aging there is a feeling of what Martin Heidegger would have called Gelassenheit – a feeling of releasement, or “calm composure.” [3] These wines are like our children. We have done everything we can for them. Their paths in life, and ours, etched lightly in the future, like students who have recently accepted admissions to college, “the world stretched out before us not as a slate of possibility, but as a maze of well-worn grooves like the ridges burrowed by insects in hardwood.” [4]

By contrast, 2012 was a classically beautiful growing season. It was lazy and beautiful and calm and sort of quiet and harvest extended later and later. That year we were making Cabernet Sauvignon from two different vineyards just across the street from each other: one in Rutherford on the north side of Skellenger Lane and one in Oakville, on the south side. When a rainstorm appeared on the horizon and everyone scrambled to get all the fruit in as quickly as possible, we picked 13 tons of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon within a week.

The Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, our featured wine for November, comes from young vines grown in a deep composite gray clay soil with tiny, bright blue berries. We harvested by hand on the afternoon of October 22, and manually sorted and fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel for twenty-eight days. One barrel of Merlot from the Oak Knoll District was blended in (10%), and the wine spent thirty months in French and American oak barrels, 60% new. We produced ten barrels of this wine – two were chosen for Crosby’s Reserve and we bottled 207 cases from the rest. The wine is layered and refined. We love the balance of fruit and tannin in this wine, which displays notes of blueberries, mild dried herbs, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar.

Happy Halloween!

Juliana & Sean

UPCOMING EVENTS: Crusher Wine District Wine Hopper Weekend: November 7-8. Tickets available.


[1] Tart, Donna. The Goldfinch. Back Bay Books, New York, 2013 p. 767.
[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/31/magazine/the-wrath-of-grapes.html
[3] Heidegger, Martin. Country Path Conversations. Trans. By Bret W. Davis. Indiana Univ. Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 2010 p. xi.
[4] Klein, Naomi. No Logo. Picador, New York, 2010 p. 63.

Moonlight Merlot

Time, which ravages fortresses and great cities, only enriches poetry.
– Jorge Louis Borges, The Aleph and Other Stories, p. 76.

Midnight, September 20, 2013: We are standing in Jaeger Vineyard on Big Ranch Road. There is a full moon in the sky, with a glorious halo, which I cannot capture on my phone. It is shining so bright we almost can’t see the stars. Adding to the confusion is the portable light array hovering over our heads. In the dark, it looks sort of like a giant television antenna turned on its side with long fluorescent lights strung every meter or so. It passes over the rows of vines like a UFO as our crew is picking fruit.

I am snapping pictures in the darkness wearing a headlamp. I speak haltingly with the crew in broken Spanish that I have picked up by translating words on Google, always mindful of the quality of fruit that is picked for our wines. Just a year before this, at midnight of October 18, 2012, I stood in this same place with the crew harvesting Merlot.

September 27, 2015: I am reminded of this harvest two years ago as we enjoy the rising of the lunar eclipse. Sunday night found us sitting as a family on the roof of our garage watching the moon, very dark on the horizon, partly obscured by trees to our east. Later, as the night deepened, we lay on a blanket in the cool, damp grass stargazing, satellites crisscrossing the sky.

Our Merlot harvest is scheduled for tonight, and the circle of time completes another rotation, with its own unique variations. Our theme for the month is Moonlight Merlot. This will be our sixth vintage from this vineyard. The Merlot is more feral and whimsical than its cousin Cabernet Sauvignon, which is all smooth lines and fancy footwork. We love Merlot’s sweet blackberry musk, its playful acidity, like the juice from rare steak. Wonderfully ripe yet balanced. Buy it here.

It’s a great time to visit our new tasting room in Napa. We are offering a complimentary vertical tasting of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 vintages of Merlot through October. And while you’re here you can sample wines from barrel and inspect the final phase of our construction, at the conclusion of which we will be able to recapture and recycle 100% of our winery wastewater. If you’d like to schedule a visit, just reply to Juliana.

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

 

Past, Present, and Future

We’ve moved! And there are no words to describe how thrilled we are to share with you the news of the opening of our winery. This process has been in the works since we first conceived of launching Crosby Roamann in the winter of 2006, and as many of you know, we’ve bounced around considerably since then. We’ve produced wines at five different wineries in the past nine years, often simultaneously, procuring grapes from seventeen different vineyards. But starting with the 2015 harvest our handmade wines will be produced entirely under our own roof at 45 Enterprise Court #6 in Napa, California – and we couldn’t be more excited!

Our tasting room is now open by appointment, and we are currently offering two tastings per day: one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with tasting times varying to accommodate guests’ schedules. We can accommodate groups of eight, and we have three flights to choose from:

+ The Cupiens Videre Lucem Series — featuring our current releases;
+ The Library Wines Tasting — featuring Crosby Roamann past vintages; and
+ The Serotonin Collection — a selection of Crosby Roamann wines paired with wines from around the world that inspire and intrigue.

Library wines and limited production new releases are only available for purchase in the tasting room, including our few remaining bottles of 2009 Dark Garden Cabernet Sauvignon and our upcoming 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Georges III Vineyard in Rutherford, Napa Valley. Wines are also available by the glass. All tastings are accompanied by small plates.

Upcoming Events & Open House

We are hosting an Open House at the winery the first Friday of Bottle Rock weekend, May 29th from 12-5pm.  Stop in on your way to the concert. We’ll have the grill going, wine and champagne will be chilled and flowing.  Mark your calendars and pop in!

Later that very same weekend we’ll be at the annual Mill Valley Gourmet Wine & Food Festival, our 3rd year running.

Crosby Roamann Private Dining: And on Thursday evening June 4th we’ll be hosting an intimate evening at GARIBALDIS San Francisco for a special wine dinner, limited to 12 people.  Secure your spot here!

Happy Spring, let’s celebrate!

Cheers,
Juliana & Sean

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.

Cheers,

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




Xxoo
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

750ml

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)

Ingredients:

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

Stuffing:

  • 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

Directions:

  • 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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  • 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.

Ingredients

  • 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

 

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