New wines are arriving all the time at our stores. But if you’re a California cab lover, then we’ve got four new bottles you need to put on your radar.
Kicker Cane wines showcase the great Cabernet Sauvignons of California. Each is made in a different region – Rutherford, in the Napa Valley; Sonoma County; the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County; and a blend from Napa and Sonoma counties – and offers its own distinctive take on the variety.
Kicker Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley
Bold blackberries, cherries and creme de cassis held together by balanced oak drive this wine. Alexander Valley terroir shines through with the depth and complexity it gives this cabernet.
Kicker Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Napa-Sonoma
Napa structure and power combined with Sonoma mouthfeel and texture define this complex cabernet. Notes of vanilla and spices from the oak act as the glue and bring this bold, intense wine together.
Kicker Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford
A wine of place, this power house delivers classic notes of black fruit, coffee, creme de casis and a “Rutherford Dust” minerality. A fruit-driven wine that is all about complexity of fruit and Rutherford, Napa terroir.
Kicker Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma 750ml, California
An excellent example of Sonoma Cabernet that is luscious and smooth with a lot of dark fruit. Powerful yet not over-extracted or clumsy, this shows that Sonoma Cabernets are more than just values, they stand on their own.
These wines are available now at your local Total Wine & More. Stop in and pick up a bottle or two for the weekend, or head to our website to shop how and when you want with free one-hour express pickup.
We began today at Beaucanon at the foot of Atlas Peak, then to Yountville for quick visits to Jessup/Lloyd Cellars & Avenel, Titus in Calistoga for lunch, Del Bondio in Rutherford and then finished the day with dinner at the top of the Pritchard Hill at Chappellet! What a promising and packed day.
We started out at 9am at Beaucanon Estate in the vineyards with owner and winemaker Louis De Coninck as our host. He discussed in depth the different clones of Cabernet, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. These are some of the best value wines that can truly be aged but are fantastic upon release. This is a very small family run business. Louis, his wife and his sister served the wines and shared their knowledge of the Napa Valley and their products.
Then it was a back on the bus for a quick trip to Yountville. Jessup and Lloyd Cellars share a tasting room one block from the French Laundry. Robert Lloyd was our host and did not disappoint. He poured us his 2011 Chardonnay in a very unique way … out of a one gallon jug! He even went through the hassle of labeling it, totally funny. Jessup was great as well. I really enjoyed their Cabernet Sauvignon.
Avenel is produced by Girard so we walked from Jessup to there, a REALLY long walk … like right across the street. Pat Roney, owner of Girard was on hand, along with his winemaker to share the wines of Avenel. We were the first people to taste the Avenel 2011 Chardonnay which is still in barrel. First vintage, first to taste – let me tell you its good to be first. It will be in our stores January of 2013. The 2010 Cabernet was outstanding as well.
We then headed up the Silverado Trail to Calistoga for lunch at Titus Vineyards. Our hosts were Eric and Philip Titus. Eric is in charge of the vineyard management and marketing portion of the business and Philip makes the wine. On a day that was supposed to eclipse 100 degrees these two did their homework. They came out to the sight the day prior at the exact time we were going to be there to see where the sun was going to be to make sure that we got good shade. This is one of my favorite spots in the valley. They always serve up classic CA BBQ, great wine and great beer!
Next we went down the valley in southern Rutherford to Del Bondio. The winery is located on the border of Rutherford and Oakville right in the center of the valley, some prime real estate. The Del Bondio’s have owned their vineyards for over 100 years and up until recently they were selling all their fruit. They have built a custom crush facility on the property which we visited. We received a great education on the history of the Rutherford and Oakville appellations. I think the staff took some really valuable information to share with our customers back in their stores.
The final stop of the day was to Chappellet Vineyards on the top of Pritchard Hill, some of the most spectacular views in the valley. The winery overlooks Lake Hennessey with a view of the valley from the eastern hillsides. We started at Don and Molly Chappellet’s house above the winery. They led us under a tree that was over 400 years old with an incredible view and poured us a glass of Chappellet Chardonnay. Our hosts were more than fantastic. They pulled out all the stops. Molly even came out to talk to us for a little bit! We then moved down to the winery for dinner. Every year this is one of the greatest food experiences. They have used the same caterer, Roland, with the some of the greatest Mexican food I’ve ever eaten! Tonight was no different. I went back for seconds, thirds….well you get the point. We tasted through the entire Sonoma Loeb and Chappellet lines led by Philip Titus the winemaker and the colorful Cyril Chappellet.
Cyril was hilarious, from pushing Philip to keep pace tasting to the wild pictures we got with the team later in night.
Once we got through the tasting Cyril broke out his pride and joy, the margaruter! It is an automated contraption that makes killer Margaritas! There’s a picture on Flickr of what it is, but the principle parts are an igloo water cooler and a garbage disposal … super fun!
I thought the night was done but Cyril wouldn’t let us leave until we finished all the Margaritas.
Then it was off to bed after another day full of fun, delicious food and a delightful assortment of libations.
Baldacci Vineyards was beautiful. The vines were almost 100% through veraison with great clusters of purple! We spent some time in the vineyards learning about what makes the environment of the Stag’s Leap District so special. The family was on hand to pour the wines in the caves and explain their vision with their wines. The Brenda’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was fantastic – it comes right from the vineyard outside the winery. What a treat to taste these, we also got to taste the 2011, which is still in barrel.
Then we were off to the other side of the valley to visit Black Cordon and 16×20. The property is on the western side of the valley. Their property actually is split between two appellations, Oak Knoll District and Mount Veeder. This is not a winery to visit. It is a small husband and wife operation with the help of their friend, famed winemaker Paul Hobbs. They hosted us at their home with spectacular views of the valley. As we arrived, we realized that the road was too narrow and steep for the buses so we had to hike up the mountain to their home. It was a steep, steep road that really got the heart pumping to get up there. That 16×20 chard never tasted so good!
Caymus for lunch – what can I say, Chuck Wagner hosted us and CLOSED the winery for our visit! Chuck was a really fantastic host. The smoked tri-tip roasts served were outstanding, a California specialty. Our team tasted through the entire portfolio from Mer Soleil to the Belle Glos Pinot Noirs, to the Special Select Cabernet Sauvignon. I now have a Conundrum cooking apron and a Belle Glos hat to add to my two collections of winery hats/aprons.
We headed off to Long Meadow Ranch in St Helena with full bellies. Originally we were supposed to meet at their tasting room just around the corner from Tra Vigne restaurant, but they invited us up to the ranch instead. Now that was a tight road. I felt sorry for our bus driver Adolfo; he was a brave man! We made it safely and the view – well, it was worth it. These folks have really an amazing story. Not only do they make great wine, but they are all about being local. The Long Meadow Ranch is a very old ranch that has been in operation for over 100 years. They raise cattle, have a large garden in Rutherford and own the restaurant The Farmstead in St Helena. The majority of the food that is served there comes from their products, seasonally. We got to take a hike up the mountain into their vineyards which was a real treat – although some of the “city folk” didn’t enjoy the walk as much as I did. Long Meadow Ranch has been farming their grapes organically since 1998 which makes for really fantastic wines!
Then we went back down the mountain and over to Oak Knoll district to visit with the Corley family, owners of Monticello Vineyards. This is a really cool property. They have replicated Thomas Jefferson’s house in Virginia. The wines were the most “old world” of the day, a refreshing change from all the classically structured cabernets we had enjoyed previously today. Their Merlot and Red Blend were team favorites. The winery is owned by the Corley family. You might see some of the Corley reserve in our stores from time to time, but the production is so limited, there’s not much to be had.
The FINAL stop of the day was in Rutherford with our great friends of Arroyo Seco Vineyards. These folks make the Montoya, Muirwood and Dominican Oaks wines for us and they really laid out the spread. The team tasted through the new vintages of the entire lineup from each of those brands. I believe these wines are top in class for values and this tasting just confirmed it for me. These folks not only make wine but they grow table grapes that make fantastic raisins! We got a canister of raisins to take with us for snacks later in the week and were able to snack on their grapes throughout the meal. Speaking of the meal, while sitting under 100 year old olive trees they served us whole pig, homemade sausage and of course some great wine! I had the pleasure of sitting next to and chatting with the owner, Morgan Zaninovich, over dinner. We actually used to live right down the road from each other in Napa many years ago!
What a great second day in California wine country! Sleep is next on the agenda, then off for another winery packed day in Napa tomorrow.