The Summer BBQ Wine

Dear Friends,

How did it get to be the middle of June already?  Although the days are heating up, and the kids are out of school, it never truly feels like summer until we hit the 4th of July.  Which, unbelievably, is just around the corner.  And nothing says “summer and 4th of July” like a cool, deliciously refreshing bottle of Rosé pulled directly from the ice chest.

Every year we make just one barrel of this quintessentially “Summer BBQ” wine.  Our Rosé is a Saignée of our Oak Knoll District Merlot.  Therefore the color is a little darker…more patriotic perhaps. The flavors, while still floral, hit you with a pleasing stone fruit note on the mid palette, and the finish is dry, never sweet, and always crisp.

We only have two cases left of our 2015 Napa Valley Rosé left at the winery.  We’d suggest ordering before June 21st to ensure delivery for your July 4th celebrations.

And because we believe firmly in the marriage of food and wine, we thought we’d share two of our favorite and super easy summer recipes below.  Our daughter Audrey actually created the first recipe (by herself!).  The second could not pair better with both the Rosé and the salad.  We like to add fresh grilled corn to the mix below and voilà! Instant happiness.

Happy summer and happy birthday America!

Juliana & Sean

Audrey’s Watermelon Salad:
+ 1 small watermelon, halved and scooped out
+ 2 crisp apples
+ 1 fresh lemon
+ fresh dill

This can all be done by your children: Cube the watermelon that has been carefully scooped out of the watermelon rind.  Set in a glass mixing bowl.  Peel and cube the two apples (we like Fuji’s) and add to the mixing bowl.  Squeeze the juice of half to one whole lemon on top of the fruit.  Add a healthy amount of chopped fresh dill (about 1 and a half tablespoons) to the bowl and toss.  Empty the tossed salad back into the watermelon “bowl” and serve.

Sean’s Grilled Chicken:
+ 3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs seasoned with our homemade BBQ rub:
+ 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
+ 1 tablespoon brown sugar
+ 1 tablespoon Cayenne pepper
+ 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian Paprika

Prepare the rub above in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Generously rub both sides of the chicken thighs with the prepared seasoning.  Get the clean grill nice and hot and cook the chicken starting with the skin side down about 6-8 minutes, then flip and generously coat with your choice of BBQ sauce and continue to grill another 6-8 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F.  We use Sweet Baby Ray’s Authentic Original BBQ sauce for dipping — “The Sauce Is the Boss!”

Spring Fever Dinner with Chef Sarah Pinkin

As you can see from the photos, we had a pretty amazing Saturday night at the winery at our Spring Fever dinner.  The food by chef Sarah Pinkin was outstanding, and really highlighted the best produce, meat, and fish of the season.  Along with the fantastic food  we served a wide variety of wines including a a 2010 Chardonnay from magnum — which may have been the wine of the night — the now out of stock 2013 Pinot Noir alongside the current release 2014, the library 2010 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon in magnum (Juliana’s favorite Cab we’ve ever produced) and the 2011 Crosby’s Reserve. Sprinkled throughout were a few favorites from other producers who have influenced us over the years.  These dinner events are a lot of fun, and we hope you’ll consider joining us at one in the future.  If you’re interested in purchasing any of the library wines, please email Juliana for availability and pricing.  Thank you so much for everyone who joined us!


We’ve been fortunate to have had a few good press hits in the past couple of months, and we’ve got a few more things cooking for the future.

Selected Links:

Up next are those March member wine shipments! And look out for our Mother’s Day announcement in the next couple of weeks.

All best,

Juliana & Sean

Cooking with Crosby Roamann: Brisket & Latkes

The title “Cooking with Crosby Roamann” lends too much credence to our extremely humble kitchen work.  The recipes we like to share tend to come from cookbooks we’ve collected over the years, or friends and family. The recipe for our Chanukah latkes comes from one of our favorites, the “Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook” by Mary Corpening Barber and Sara Corpening Whiteford (identical twins, like our daughters).

Neither of us remembers who bought this cookbook for us almost a decade ago when we were first married, but we both know which cookbook we’re talking about when we say, “It’s in that cookbook.” A couple of our favorites: the buttermilk pancakes with melted berries, the maple-glazed spiced carrots, the flaky piecrust, and oh yes, the latkes: page 164.

The trick to great latkes, we’ve learned, is processing the onions with the potatoes and squeezing the juice out of it all before mixing it with beaten eggs and matzoh meal. We serve them with both apple sauce and sour cream — everyone tries them both. If we’ve been especially naughty, we may also add a little dollop of caviar.

We love the recipe for Sweet and Sour Brisket from Mary and Sara as well, but nine times out of ten we go with a modified version of a recipe (we use a slow cooker) from an old friend of the family, Suzanne Bartash:

  • 2lb brisket (1st cut)
  • 2 onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 hits Tabasco
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • pepper to taste

Season the brisket on all sides, then sauté the brisket in vegetable oil for 4-5 minutes on each side before transferring it to a slow cooker. Sauté the onions in the brisket fat and remaining oil till they’re lightly browned, then transfer them to the slow cooker as well, with any remaining juices. Mix the garlic, sugar, Tabasco, vinegar, ketchup, water, and salt in a small bowl till it’s consistent, then add it to the pot. We slow cook the brisket for 6-8 hours on “medium,” then remove it, slice it against the grain, and return it to the pot to continue cooking on low until dinner.

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!

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:

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.

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


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.


Cooking with Crosby Roamann: Squash Blossoms

When we moved into our house in Napa, we didn’t expect to find a wild patch of squash growing in the middle of the backyard, amidst random sunflower plants and dried grass.  Yet, there it was.  Sean weeded and watered and cared for this squash patch.  And soon it started to grow.  Large squash were growing right in our backyard.  And better yet, the beautiful yellow squash blossoms were blooming before the fruit every morning.  It reminded us of the stuffed zucchini blossoms Uncle Alan made for us at his home in Southampton.  So we called Uncle Alan, and he gave us the following recipe.  It was so delicious when we made it that night, perhaps because it came from our own little garden, or perhaps because it reminded us of summer evenings in Southampton with family.  Or maybe just because it’s such a decadent treat; the kind of off-the-beaten-path appetizer we’ve been craving this fall. We hope you’ll enjoy and try it on your own, even if you don’t have a patch growing in your own backyard.

Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms


  • 4-8 squash blossoms, flowers open
  • 1 cup of fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Is there anything more delicious than stuffed squash blossoms? If you are starting with your own homegrown squash, it’s very important to harvest or pick the blossoms in the morning while they are open.  Stuff each flower with the soft fresh ricotta and fold the petals in.  Softly roll the flowers in flour.

Drench the stuffed blossom in the egg batter and then gently roll in bread crumbs.  Rest on ceramic plate or parchment in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat with plenty of oil for frying.  When the oil sizzles, gently add the squash blossoms and fry, making sure to brown evenly on all sides.  Transfer the blossoms to a plate layed with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.  Serve alone or with a yogurt tzatziki dip.



2012 Sauvignon Blanc, St. Helena, Napa Valley, 750ml


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