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

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.

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.

 

 

 

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

 

2013 Harvest Offering

Here in Napa Valley the 2013 wines are in barrel, the leaves are changing color in fiery and beautiful shades, and the wind has picked up, whispering of the cooler season ahead.

As we sit down to recount and reflect on the harvest for Crosby Roamann, what strikes me most, beyond what an exceptional vintage 2013 will be, is the fact that we are here for the first time since our inception, living amongst the vines in Napa Valley.  Beyond the practical reasons this is such a bonus,, we felt for the first time to be a physical part of the magic.  Rising with the sun and the hot air balloons that fly over our part of the valley on clear mornings; breathing in that particular sweet, musty grape scent during harvest daytimes; the short, beautiful and still somewhat ethereal drive to the winery or the vineyards; meals shared outside with family, some nights lighting our outdoor wood-burning grill; and then over a glass of wine in our backyard the bright lights of Venus in the West, Cassiopeia in the East.

By growing standards, 2013 was exceptional. It felt surreal, after the past three years, to be waiting for things to morph into this quasi-unreal perfect-state of ripeness: the kind of thing that might unfold if you stare at it too long.

It all started with the St. Helena Sauvignon Blanc, which we picked on September 5.  This year’s vintage was ripe and beautiful, the grapes bursting with a range of tart grapefruit and ripe melon flavors. The Chardonnay from Carneros in southern Napa Valley followed on September 16th, with delicious notes of ultra-ripe tangerine, mango, and passion fruit. We brought the Oak Knoll District Merlot in on September 20, slightly earlier than in past years, and the wine is very rich and dark with flavors reminiscent of blackberry jam.  Finally, our Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon came in Friday morning, October 11th, with small, desiccated, beautiful dark berries, crunchy brown seeds we could eat, and rich flavors bursting with the promise of a good wine in a great vintage.

Coming off the high of a great harvest season, we’re excited to announce the release of our finest and first reserve wine, Crosby’s Reserve 2010. This wine is a selection of three finest barrels of Oak Knoll District Merlot and Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon: a luscious, elegant, and seductive red wine aged for 20 months in all new French oak, then bottled without fining or filtration. Just 77 cases produced.  Purchase by clicking here.

Some reviews for the 2010 Crosby’s Reserve:

“This tiny production blend surely is made in the modern cult style.  Its tannins are soft and sexy, its flavors deep and delicious with milk chocolate, blackberry jam, cassis liqueur and buttery toast.  The only thing it lacks is subtlety, but it does deserve its score for sheer Napa power.” — Steve Heimoff, June 2013, Wine Enthusiast

“Bright red-ruby.  Deeply pitched aromas and flavors of plum, cherry, currant and mocha.  A step up in sweetness and palate presence from the varietal merlot and cabernet bottlings, but still nicely dry and understated.  More oak here but also more supporting material.  Finishes with broad, dusty tannins and good length.  These well-made wines suggest that this will be a winery worth following.” — Stephen Tanzer, May/June 2013,  International Wine Cellar

 

2010 Crosby’s Reserve Napa Valley 6-bottle wood case

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