The Impossible Does Not Exist

This year, begin with love.

The Crosby Roamance package includes one bottle of the sultry 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon with a beautifully hand-blown heart-shaped glass dish from Simon Pearce. Optional, also included with a blank Valentine’s Day woodcut card. This wine is spectacular, and is sure to make that special someone in your life coo with pleasure; it makes a fine arrow in Cupid’s bow.  We have extremely limited quantities as usual … Purchase the Valentine’s Day Special here.

This year, “the impossible does not exist.”

Now that the rains have come to the valley, and an iridescent pale green grass covers the hills, it’s time to focus our attention on the new year. The winery is cold, and the sky is covered with a tumble of low, nebulous clouds. It’s quiet except for the sound of the bull-frog croaking in the rosemary bush outside our front door. How can we share the exuberance we feel about 2018? What we think is that we must make 2018 a year in which “the impossible does not exist.”

Everything changes.

There will be a few biggish changes at the winery in 2018. As many of you who know, in 2013 we produced our first Pinot Noir … we did it sort of on a dare and a whim and were surprised and delighted by the results.

That first Pinot Noir became a fast favorite. It was a riper style Pinot, with soft and lush fruit tones and a warm texture, and we were happy to see that people responded to it so immediately. But it wasn’t just the fact that people enjoyed it; there was also so much that went into making that wine that was important and different from what we had done before, which has informed and changed our winemaking in the years since.

Among other things, it was one of the first wines we pressed entirely by hand – an arduous process that we felt had immediate and recognizable benefits – and philosophically, it was a wine that we let go, a wine for which we didn’t have concerns about concentration or depth … just about transparency and umami. It was a turning point.

That’s the backstory. We tinkered with Pinot Noir again in 2014, but it wasn’t until 2016 that we ventured out of Napa Valley for the first time and produced a series of four Pinot Noirs from across California, including two wines from Filigreen Farm (a biodynamically farmed vineyard in Anderson Valley, Mendocino County), one wine from Carneros, Sonoma, and one wine from Kim Giles Vineyard overlooking San Pablo Bay in southern Napa. As these wines blossomed in barrel it became apparent to us that this was really a new venture. Something other.

This new venture is still in development; the wines have been bottled and are waiting for labels. They are delicious and delightfully different expressions of Pinot Noir, and we are very excited to share them with you – we just don’t know how to yet, or what to call them.

The more things change …

Which brings us back to our chilly winery and our Cabernet Sauvignon. Because in this whole process, as we thought more and more about Pinot Noir, from idiosyncratic places like Filigreen Farm and Kim Giles Vineyard, we came to understand Cabernet Sauvignon in a deeply new way. And not to make too fine a point about it, one might say that Crosby Roamann had “come out of itself” … that only in struggling to understand the other, does one come to recognize oneself. Because after 2013 – when we  finally came to see Crosby Roamann through the lens of a Pinot Noir that we produced reluctantly  – everything changed.

We started to experiment with native fermentations in each wine. We produced skin-fermented Sauvignon Blanc. We fermented Pinot Noir in new, open-top barrels. We experimented. With the Cabernet Sauvignon, we adopted a number of new techniques … closed-top barrel fermentation with daily rotations of the barrels, hand pressing of the must, extended maturation on the lees, with a total elevage of 30 months in all new French oak barrels. We forgot about the wines, only to rediscover them later. We had some issues. We learned some valuable lessons.

If you’ve been to the winery and talked to Sean, you know how passionate he is about Cabernet Sauvignon and how special this grape and these wines are to him. Our focus at Crosby Roamann is producing the single finest Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that we can. It is not hyperbole when we say the wines we are releasing today and over the next couple years are the best wines we have ever produced, and we are terribly excited to share them with you. They encompasses the very best of what Napa Valley is – rich, concentrated, and complex.

 

Valentine’s Day Special 2018

One bottle 2013 Cabernet Sauvignonwith a beautifully hand-blown heart-shaped glass dish from Simon Pearce. A blank Valentine’s Day woodcut card is included (optional). Shipping included.

Which brings us full circle. As in previous years, we are offering a special Valentine’s Day package – a single bottle of our 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford, Napa Valley, with a beautifully hand-blown heart-shaped dish from Simon Pearce. This wine is spectacular, and is sure to make that special someone in your life coo with pleasure.

With love from Napa Valley,

Juliana & Sean

The Cabernet Collection 2012

Love is a spell that binds the past to the present; that lays open the future … “an infinity of presents.” *

We want to share the magic we feel this time of year, when the vineyards are so cold you can feel the electricity of it, with hills of leaves blown haphazardly along the rows of vines and down the quiet streets of our chilly, little town. We want to share the magic we feel when we awake to a bright orange sun rising over a landscape of barren trees and wonder how the past can feel so heartbreakingly near.
 
This holiday season we are so thrilled to share with you a very limited selection from our cellar – the Cabernet Collection – a small gift box containing one bottle each of  the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Rutherford, and our essential blend of the two in Crosby’s Reserve. This $270 package is being offered for $200, shipping included. Or upgrade your order to Magnums, $400 (extremely limited) or to six bottles in the original wood case ($400). We only have a very small number of these gift packs remaining, and they will sell out quickly. Please order below by Monday December 11.

Wishing you and your family peace, joy, and happiness.

Juliana & Sean

* Helene Cixous, Abstracts and Brief Chronicles of the Time, p. ix.

Harvest Halcyon

We are deeply grateful for all of your support in the past month and incredibly indebted to the thousands of first responders that fought the blazes surrounding our little towns. While we escaped the worst of the damage, it was a harrowing two weeks. We are so happy to be back at the winery and returning to a normal routine.

The Final Days of Harvest

Now that we reflect on the halcyon final days of harvest, we want to mention first and foremost that all of our fruit was harvested and processed before the fires. All of it. We picked our final lot of Pinot Noir from the old vine block at Filigreen Farm in Anderson Valley on Saturday morning, September 30. We harvested Cabernet Sauvignon from Calistoga on the evening of October 4; Oak Knoll District Cabernet Sauvignon at dawn the morning of Saturday, October 7th, and the following day, Sunday the 8th, we harvested Harmony School Vineyard. See here for a round up on our Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Merlot.

The half-ton block of Cabernet Sauvignon from Calistoga, we crushed and destemmed into open top barrels for fermentation. This small lot will yield about just one barrel of finished wine. The Oak Knoll District fruit was crushed and destemmed to stainless steel; Harmony School into new French oak barrels. Both lots will ferment and macerate until the beginning-to-middle of December.

We left the winery that last Sunday night of harvest on October 8th in a joyous mood. We went home with bags of In-N-Out burgers and aged bottles of Bordeaux. We toasted to another wonderful growing season, with long Spring storms, late budbreak, steady ripening through the end of the summer. We recounted the first weekend of September when the temperature reached 110F for nearly 36 daylight hours. The flavors this year have been some of the most complex in our experience – a mixed bag of dark cocoa and coffee, black pepper and prune. We were elated.

The fires erupted later that night.

Which brings us to the second thing worth mentioning — the truly best thing you could do to show your support now is to return to Napa Valley! We miss you! It is in fact a perfect time to visit. As these late Indian summer days give way to ever cooler nights, with crisp stars twinkling above the valley and the restaurants open for business, nothing could be more fun than toasting to the survival and resilience of wine country. Drive up from San Francisco, drive in from Sacramento, drive down from Portland … fly in from around the world. The winery is open! Schedule an appointment here!

Shipping News & Memberships

For those of you who purchased wines over the summer, your shipments will arrive next week. Tracking information will follow separately, or has already arrived. Member shipments will be charged and shipped in the following two weeks. Our holiday selection this year is the 2012 Crosby’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. You can purchase this wine here.

Crosby’s Reserve is a barrel selection of Cabernet Sauvignon (90%) and Merlot (10%) aged for thirty months in all new French oak. The wine displays a depth of complexity, purity of fruit and concentration, with wholly absorbing and intriguing flavors of boysenberry, vanilla, milk chocolate, and cherry cola, with sweet tannins that finish on notes of ripe raspberry and a touch of heat. 104 cases produced.

With love and gratitude from Napa Valley –

Juliana & Sean

Fire Update

Thank you to everyone that has reached out in the past couple days.
We are safe, although there is still a fire burning in the hills about two miles east of us. We pulled in the last vineyard on Sunday, just before the fires started. The winery is inundated with smoke, but we hope and believe we can work through that.
Many of our friends have lost their homes and wineries and this is still an ongoing situation. We are heartbroken for everyone who has lost someone or something in the past two days,and ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
We will send updates with information again as things progress.
Yours truly,
Juliana and Sean

Harvest Update!

In the past few weeks harvest has gotten crazy!  We began picking in August this year (see the blog post), and by today’s writing (September 13th), we have brought in Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir, Napa Valley Pinot Noir, Calistoga dry-farmed Merlot, and within the next 4 days we’ll be bringing in Pinot Noir from Filigreen Farm in Anderson Valley, and our favorite Chardonnay from the Loma Blanca Vineyard in Carneros.  To say we’ve been busy wouldn’t really begin to explain….early morning picks, entire days de-stemming and racking into barrels or tanks, whole days hand-pressing in the basket press, twice-daily pump overs (on the Merlot), and daily lab work.  And of course, tastings!

Gremlin Vineyard Pinot Noir was pressed by hand in two lots this week after spending 17 days in the concrete egg.  We’re jazzed with how good this tastes already – it feels to us like a blend of our 2013 and 2014 Pinot Noirs … it has beautiful round fruit reminiscent of the 2013, but also a really welcome kick of acidity, like the 2014. It’s now going to rest in a selection of new and neutral French oak barrels for about a year. We also produced about 100 cases of some kick-ass Rosé from this vineyard for next summer, instead of our typical 25 or 30 cases.

Pressed the day it came in, the Sauvignon Blanc from Rutherford is tasting delicious already.  We fermented it in some new and some used French and American oak barrels, and it’s been resting in a selection of 33% new and 64% neutral French oak since the completion of priumary.  It will continue to mature for the next 8 months.  Read more about that here.

Our Napa Valley Pinot Noir from the Kim Giles Vineyard came in on September 2nd, and after partially de-stemming the fruit, we racked to barrels for fermentation.  The wine is now dry, and we’ll be pressing this tomorrow (!)  If you’ve been in the winery recently, we’ve lifted the heads off these barrels for you to smell, or even punch down….the aromas are savory – rosemary, thyme, and gamey – intensely delicious.

And, our Calistoga dry-farmed Merlot…oh my goodness.  While this one surprised us immensely with how quickly it ripened and developed on the vine, the way it’s tasting in tank….soft, velvety, smooth…just wow.  It’ll stay in tank for another good month, before pressing.

Filigreen Farm’s biodymanic Pinot Noir comes in on Friday, and our Loma Blanc vineyard Carneros Chardonnay on Sunday, along with the dry-farmed Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon!  For those picks we’ll have lots of friends and family to help and we couldn’t do it without you.  Thank you in advance…

After that we’ll be waiting on two remaining Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards to come in, and of course lots of fermentations to watch and fret over.  Thankfully temperatures have leveled off a bit from the blistering 3-digits we were seeing…it’ll give the grapes some more time to fully develop those mature and complete flavors we love in our signature wine.

We hope everyone’s autumn is starting out well.  If you live in any of the areas affected by the natural disasters that mother nature has thrown our way, our hearts and thoughts are with you.  We are raising our glasses to you and your spirits.

Member shipments will be going out by early October, so there’s still time to sign up if you’d like an early gift to yourself this year.

Juliana & Sean

Harvest 2017 Begins

There is a saying in France that when the growing season starts early, harvest will be late, and when it starts late, harvest will be early. This year here in Napa/Sonoma it has certainly come true! It is not yet September, and instead of taking the next two weeks to start to think about bringing fruit in and what kinds of wines we are going to make (should be shepherd them this way or that?) we’ve already brought in grapes from two vineyards, with a third coming in this Friday, September 1st.

It is the earliest harvest on record for us. It started on Saturday August 26th, with Pinot Noir from Gremlin Vineyard in Sonoma. This is our second year working with Steve and Laura Busch on Hyde Road and we’re very exicted to be building a long term program from this vineyard. The maturity and flavor of the grapes surprised us when we took our first sample in the middle of the month, so we pulled the trigger on picking as soon as we could. At 5am on Saturday our whole family was up and by 6 we were all warmly dressed in the vineyard — Audrey and Scarlett performing the difficult tasks of “Chief Grape Tester” — Sean picking leaves from bins and Juliana helping with harvest. By nine that night we had crushed the fruit into our concrete tank.

Today, August 30th our Sauvignon Blanc came in from Rutherford. After whole cluster pressing, the wine will ferment and age in one-third new wood, one-third used, and the rest in stainless steel … these magic proportions are how we fermented and aged our 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, which tastes so amazing even now we are still pouring it in the tasting room to rave reviews.

We are in such a different place this year than last. After the winter rains and cool spring and lazy start to the growing season, the clusters of fruit coming in are heavier, rounder, with better acidity and balance — which is exactly what we were hoping for. While we may ultimately have slightly less concentration in these wines, we will have much better balance and complexity of flavor. It reminds us of wines we tasted from 2005 and 2007, and looks very similar to 2012 — our last big harvest after a wet winter.

The temperature is expected to rise in the next two weeks, with triple digits on thew way. This means it’s all going to be coming in faster than ever! The next vineyard up is Kim Giles Pinot Noir from the San Pablo Bay side of southern Napa Valley.

So much seems to be going on in the world, it’s hard to keep our eyes on the details sometimes, but keeping our elbows buried in the fermenting musts and delicious aromas of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc helps keep us grounded. Our hearts go out to everyone in Texas and Louisiana — we promise to hold on to some of this delicious wine for when you’re ready to toast to the new season. We’ll continue to update you on our progress with Merlot, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon as harvest rolls on. We are so excited about what we are doing this year — about the vineyards and growers we are working with — about the new tanks and toys we have in the winery — and some big changes at the winery that we will be telling you more about soon! Stop by anytime for a tour and tasting: to make an appointment, go here. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you might even get the chance to punch down some Pinot!

Cheers!

Juliana & Sean

Manly Men Drink Merlot

Father’s Day Special — Manly Men Drink Merlot — 2012 Merlot, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, 750ml

Shipping and Father’s Day card included (specify what you want written in special notes). Order by June 10th to ensure delivery.

Friends: for the last nine months we’ve been secretly and quietly working on a new project with my brother Eric Arvai to help showcase who we are and what we do in a new way.  I’m sure if you asked Eric, he would say it was like birthing a new baby.  The time, the love, the attention that he and his partner Adriel Olmos put into this project was beyond normal work hours and done as a labor of love on evenings and weekends.  The result is the first of a series of videos … which we’re delighted to share with you now.

This beautiful video is hours and hours of footage condensed into one short story that sort of came together without us meaning for it to do, as can happen sometimes when the camera starts rolling and the right questions are asked. We started at Harvest last year, we rolled through fermentations, bottlings, and special event tastings.  What I think we’ve encompassed is the beauty, the heart, and the relational experience that wine brings to any table, but most especially to ours.  Wine is truly alive, and we are meant to celebrate that.

The inspiration for this kind of documentary style footage comes from a series we love on Netflix called “Chef’s Table,” and we think Eric & Adriel have created something really special here that does for Crosby Roamann and wine, what that series did for food.  We are so proud of this and so very happy to be able to finally share it with you.  Please watch and share yourselves — And after you’ve seen the video, please read on below to find our “Manly Men Drink Merlot” campaign for Father’s Day, and some up-coming events at the winery!

 

 

Father’s Day is just around the corner on Sunday, June 18th. Together with two small family wineries in our own Crusher District of Napa Valley, we’re hosting a progressive tasting and meal, with food pairings created by a local Napa chef.  It’s on Saturday June 17th, and there are only 12 seats available, with transportation provided between our three wineries.  What a perfect start for Father’s Day- RSVP link and menu details here.  Sign up while seats are still available. 

And if you are still looking for a gift for Dad, we have a saying we’ve been tossing out, a little tongue in cheek….“Manly Men Drink Merlot”.  It’s time we put that myth to bed that Merlot is in any way an inferior grape variety.  After all, some of the most expensive and famous wines in the world are made from Merlot. We’re pretty excited about our 2012 Oak Knoll District Merlot, hailing from the Jaeger Family vineyard off Big Ranch Road, one of the most unheralded but decidedly most beautiful spots in the Napa Valley. This Merlot is rich, yet balanced by sweet blackberry flavors and a tart raspberry sweetness that lingers on the finish. It would make a really nice gift for that strong confident man in your life.

Cheers!

Juliana & Sean

An Especially Fashionable Mother’s Day

“The bearing, rearing, feeding and educating of children; the running of a house with its thousand details; human relationships with their myriad pulls–woman’s normal occupations in general run counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life. The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.” ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, “Gift from the Sea

I find myself returning to Anne Morrow Lindberg’s Gift from the Sea again and again, especially since I became a mother a little over nine years ago. Every time I dip into it, a chapter here or there, I’m startled with new revelations. What most resonates with me these days is the idea of balance, and how we always seem to be striving for it, elusive as it may feel at times.

The idea of balance is central not only to my personal sphere, but is also at the very core of Crosby Roamann’s raison d’etre.  The whole idea behind our move to California was to create a work/life balance. The very heart of our winemaking style seeks to achieve a balance in each of the wines we create.  A balance of ripeness and acidity, alcohol and tannin, striving to rest on that fulcrum of what’s been grown in these soils, in this climate, each year. It feels the same in parenting, as we try to balance a myriad of day to day and month to month factors.

But I digress.  It’s easy to do when taking on the difficult task of talking about motherhood, to get effusive in talking about the very principle behind our winery.

This year for Mother’s day, I had an opportunity to collaborate with a very good friend who runs a pretty incredible non-profit in New York called Start Small, Think Big. I was looking for a gift that I myself would want to receive for Mother’s day; that I thought would be the perfect gift for all the amazing women who balance so much, in my own life.  This dear friend introduced me to one of her clients, who owns a business called Home & Loft. 

Our Mother’s Day gift includes a bottle of our deliciously balanced and sustainably produced 2013 Carneros Chardonnay, and a beautiful and truly handmade scarf from New York’s Home & Loft.

The Chardonnay comes from the south-facing hillside Fire Tree Vineyard, a gorgeous location overlooking San Pablo Bay, just north of Highway 121.  The fruit was sorted once in the vineyard, and again at the winery for the choicest clusters.  The wine was then fermented and aged in an assortment of new and neutral American, French, and Hungarian oak barrels for 20 months; only 120 cases were produced.  The resulting wine is both tropical and fresh, with deliciously round lemon meringue notes and perfect acidity.

The scarf is a beautiful and truly handmade 100% cotton Turkish blue checkered scarf with hand-tied tassels from Home & Loft, a NYC-based woman-owned small business. The scarves were hand loomed and hand spun by a women’s foundation in the South of Turkey. The organization teaches women skills like this and gives them a salary and retirement benefits.  Home & Loft is one of many small businesses that has received assistance from Start Small Think Big, a nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs, particularly women, start and grow successful small businesses.

 

Happy Mother’s Day Special (2013 Chardonnay + Home & Loft Scarf):

 

Order by May 6 to ensure delivery by May 12. $90, shipping included. Handwritten cards possible by request.

I’ll be tossing my beautiful scarf over my shoulder and raising my glass to you in recognition of your excellent taste, and in gratitude for all that you do.  Your favorite matriarchs will be too.

Warmly,

Juliana McBride

 

Spring Fever

Here in Northern California, the trees have started flowering and we’ve had more rain than we’ve seen in years.  The sun is brilliant, the sky an eggshell blue and the Kelly-green rolling hills look filtered they’re so bright, especially against the mustard and wildflowers that grow between the vines.  You guys, there are baby lambs….EVERYWHERE. A deep feeling of happiness sits in the base of my being, along with a lightness in my head, a giddiness in my limbs.  While we are still technically in winter until March 21, it really truly feels like Spring.

We must celebrate. We must take advantage of everything there is on offer at our local markets to eat. We must take a few moments each day to feel the sun on our skin and let the warmth penetrate.

And because it’s Spring, we’re going to throw a dinner party in its honor.  Here at the winery, with the amazing Sarah Pinkin.  Thursday, March 23rd 5:30pmLet us know if you want to join.  It’s going to be a Spring-themed menu of course, paired with some old and new wines, and a few surprises, as always.

And of course we want to offer you a taste of Spring to have all on your very own.  Just in case it rains (or snows) again and you want to remember that warmth on your skin.  Or if you just need desperately for Spring to arrive ASAP.  It’s Spring in a bottle.

This wine is not available in our store for sale, and will only be available here for a short time.  It has been sort of a special wine that we’ve served in the tasting room, or to our members.  And like most of our wines, we made less than a hundred cases of it.  It tastes incredible….there is citrus, there is apricot, there is a minerality and acidity to hold it all up.  It is Sauvignon Blanc from St. Helena, but a special fruit selection.  The grapes were just a little bit riper, but not too sweet. After all, we’re not talking summer (yet).

 

 

2013 Reserve Blanc

White Wine

Napa Valley

750ml

 

 

 

Crosby Roamance 2017

The first time we made Pinot Noir in 2013 was on a dare. It turned out so well, we couldn’t resist the urge to make it again; it has since become something of an obsession. As in 2016 when we offered our Pinot Noir for the first time over Valentine’s Day, we are now releasing our 2014 just in time for that most lovable of holidays, which means that, once again, it’s time to add a little Crosby Roamance to your life.

This Valentine’s Day, receive two bottles of Pinot Noir, a two-chocolate truffle box from Kollar Chocolates, and a blank, handcrafted valentine for your special someone. Order by February 4.  Shipping included. Valentine’s Day Special:

The 2014 Pinot Noir is a single vineyard wine from Carneros, on gently sloping hills in southern Napa Valley overlooking San Pablo Bay. Fermented on indigenous yeasts and aged twenty months in one-quarter new French oak barrels, the rest one and two years old. Light and elegant in structure, with tangy notes of orange blossoms, cloves, and brine. This wine is very tactile on the palate, earthy … the overall impression is of cranberry-lime and gingersnap cookies, with a surprisingly long and tactile finish. Four barrels produced, just 100 cases.

Members of the inner circle receive special pricing ($80.00) and can add their Valentine’s Day Special by contacting Juliana@crosbyroamann.com.

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