On February 10th we lost a dear friend by the name of Chester Brandlin. You will recognize the name being the same as our Brandlin Cabernet and here is why: Back in 1998 we were informed that a very special property was for sale in the Mount Veeder district of Napa Valley, which was owned by Chester Brandlin. We knew it was special due to the incredible Zinfandels from the site, which were produced by Peter Franus. We negotiated with Chester for many months but it wasn’t about price; he wanted to make sure we would protect the environment that his family had nurtured since the 1920’s when the 10 acres of zinfandel were first planted. Once purchased by Cuvaison, we planted 38 acres to Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, while maintaining the old vine zinfandel.
Once we heard the rich stories about the Brandlin family, which dated back to their arrival to Mount Veeder in the 1870’s, we knew we had to do something to bring homage to this great family. They had grown wine grapes that entire time but never had their name on a label. While they made wine, it was only for their personal use with the rest being sold to wine producers. Chester told stories of his family taking grapes by wagon all the way to San Francisco before there were motorized trucks. 2003 was our first vintage of Brandlin Cabernet and I’ll always remember handing Chester that first bottle with his family name on it. We were all a bit teary that day.
You can read Chester’s obituary here.
Everyone says that harvest is a lot of work, but you don't really understand it until you live it. Take it from first-time harvest intern Adam Gordon.
Twelve-hour days, 7 days a week, is a whole lot easier said than done. Often young interns are attracted to the wine-industry for the romance of winemaking or the glamour of wine country. They are passionate, educated, and eager to dive right in and get dirty. The physical demands are grueling, but the payoff is worth it.
Adam is a 24-year-old graduate from Purdue University whose passion for wine was sparked when he attended lectures taught by the Court of Master Sommeliers. Bit by the wine bug, he acquired Level I Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers and founded a wine club at Purdue called the Purdue Wine Appreciation Society. While earning his BS in Hospitality and Management, he dreamed of moving to Napa to truly experience the famous wine and food culture. He set his sight on the prestigious Advanced Culinary Arts program at the Culinary Institute of America, located in Saint Helena, California.
During the program, he became the president of the CIA wine club. He experienced high-end aged wines and gained the knowledge of pairing food and wine. After completing the program, he worked as a line cook at Bottega restaurant in Yountville, thinking he wanted to work in the restaurant industry. But after a while, it was the upcoming harvest that naturally piqued his curiosity.
Adam heard about Cuvaison Estate Wines from an advisor at CIA who recommended Cuvaison as one of the best wineries to work for and learn from. After interviewing with the Winemaking team, he was very excited to be offered a position as a harvest intern for 2012! Along with three other interns -- Karan from India, JP from South Africa, and Elise from France – Adam was about to discover firsthand how much work goes into making wine…
What made you want to work harvest?
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned?
What is your most favorite or most challenging task?
If you could have any job in the wine industry, what would it be?
What surprised you the most about harvest and about the wine-making process?
What was the high and low of harvest?
Would you work another harvest?
Meet the latest addition to Cuvaison; Carrie-Anne Kunkel. Carrie-Anne will support domestic sales in addition to international sales, which includes export, cruise-lines and airlines. We asked Carrie-Anne to share what she likes about Napa, where she’s from and what she’s most excited about in respect to her new Sales Coordinator role. Read on!
“I really enjoy waking up to the beauty of Napa Valley; Rolling hills, Redwoods, Oak trees, and the occasional hot air balloon are all in my drive to work. I also enjoy immersing myself in the Napa wine community. Everyone is really interesting and comes from all places and backgrounds to pursue their passion for wine.
I grew up in Half Moon Bay. In high school, I was a surfer, competitive swimmer, and water polo player. I was also in a couple of musicals including 42nd street. I traveled a lot at a young age with my sister and mom because she was a Pan Am flight attendant, so I was privileged to see world.
B.S. in International Business from SF State. My continued thirst for culture shock and travel was my trigger to develop an international dimension to my career.
I am most excited about learning the global wine marketplace and developing lasting relationships with our importers and brokers abroad. I am also interested in learning more about all aspects of the Cuvaison’s operations as I interact with other departments.”
Stacy De Fino, the Diva behind the WinoBee blog, has highlighted Cuvaison in her recent post featuring wineries applauded for producing ethically responsible wines.
Read this nice article by Paul Franson on "Building for Visitors and Sustainability," and watch the accompanying video below!
These days our vineyards are like a gentle flowing carpet of deep velvety green. The days are long and despite the higher temperatures found in most parts of the Napa Valley, our Carneros Estate remains comfortably cool with breezes off the bay. We simply could not resist hosting a spontaneous summertime event for our wine club members.
We had over 190 Club Cuvaison members RSVP. Most of them hailed from the San Francisco Bay Area, a few from Chico and Los Angeles and even some from as far away as Chicago and Iowa.
Let’s start with the food. The food was … delicious. For meat eaters, the highlight was hand crafted sausages made special by Napa's artisanal charcuterie, The Fatted Calf. These sausages were infused with our very own 2008 Carneros Pinot Noir wine and were amazing!
Fresh seasonal fruit salad and roasted potato salad with whole grain mustard also made for a nice accompaniment to our Carneros Estate flight of wines being poured.
The evening was filled with cheery conversation while guests sipped and swirled our Vin Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Carneros Chardonnay and Carneros Pinot Noir. New and old friends mingled while the sun slowly slipped towards the horizon, casting an almost ethereal golden hue across the landscape.
It was stunning. For those who were not able to make it this time, we hope to see you on your next visit to Napa Valley!
<<Click here to view Event Photos>>
Sensible Shoes Advised
Let's face it, most people who visit Wine Country stay on the beaten path. The closest they get to the grapevines is viewing them as a blur through a car window.
If you like to stray from the confines of the tasting room, and have a hankering to wander through our luscious rows of vines for a closer look, we encourage you to take a closer look at our all new Carneros Estate Vineyard Walk and Tasting program.
This program includes a walking discussion of our vineyards, followed by tasting through our Carneros Estate flight of wines.
Walking shoes are advised. We also advise dressing in layers, as conditions change frequently in Carneros.
The Carneros Estate Vineyard Walk and Tasting is offered Friday through Monday at 9:30am. Cost is $30 per person or $20 for Club Cuvaison members. Reservations are required. Groups are limited to a maximum of 8 guests.
Kelly J. Hayes: WineInk
Sunday, June 20, 2010
That comment from Jay Schuppert, president of Cuvaison Estate Winery, best sums up a valuable life lesson he learned as a young man. Schuppert has, in the last three-plus decades, followed his passions through a career that has taken him from the Crystal Palace's kitchen sink to the helm of one of Napa Valley's most respected wine estates.
This past weekend he returned to the roots of his career, pouring Cuvaison's wines in the tent at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. He is a frequent visitor and remains fast friends with many locals he met during a 12-year stint in Aspen's restaurant community.
Jay's journey in the wine world began in 1972 when he came to Aspen, fresh from college graduation. There were no stoplights from Independence Pass to Glenwood Springs at the time, and the living was easy. Provided you could make a living.
Mead Metcalf gave him a job washing dishes at the then-thriving Crystal Palace restaurant and dinner theater. In four short years he ...Read more here ...
Phone calls are so 2005 - and snail mail, what’s that? Everyday our world is communicating less through traditional mail and phone calls, and more through text messaging and emails.
People are ditching their perfectly serviceable cell phones to upgrade to “smart phones” that do everything short of bringing you breakfast in bed. (Think iphone, Droid and Blackberry)
Why are we bringing this up? Good question. Cuvaison has recently developed a special site that makes navigating cuvaison.com from a smart phone easier.
The next time you visit our website from a smart phone, you will enjoy your experience and won’t have to scroll a million times in order to see the breadth of a specific page.
Say you’re on a Princess cruise or flying Singapore Airlines and happenchance upon a Cuvaison wine you like. All you have to do is visit our mobile site and buy wine remotely. Tell us that’s not cool!
We are convinced the smart phone users of the universe will find our new mobile site friendly to navigate and easy to shop on. We’ll see you on the World Wide Web!
Join us for a private tour and tasting with our Winemaker Steve Rogstad. Walk through our organically grown Block F5, tour through the cellars and taste our line-up of Estate Grown Carneros wines in our new Carneros Tasting Room where you will be surrounded by views of the rolling waves of vines.
Take home a mixed six pack of Cuvaison Estate Grown and Bottled Pinot Noirs.
- 2 bottles of 2008 Carneros Pinot Noir
- 2 bottles of 2008 Mariafeld Pinot Noir
- 2 bottles of 2007 Block F5 Pinot Noir
Check out other great auction lots from Carneros wineries:
- Bicycling the backroads of Carneros for six; led by Clos Du Val Winemaker John Clews, followed by a sumptuous lunch and wines;
- A Sparkle-licious Party for 10 at Domaine Carneros with tasting following a private tour at the famous Carneros chateau;
- A Vineyard Safari for four through the backroads, rolling hills and marshlands of Carneros hosted by Bouchaine Vineyards.
- Three nights for two couples (4 people) at the Saintsbury Guest House, including a private tour and tasting at the winery and a mixed case of Saintsbury wine to take home.
Everyday, the energy produced from the solar panels on top of our Carneros Winery is reported directly and instantly to our website! Since installation in 2007, we have avoided putting 827,010 lbs of CO2 into the Earth's atmosphere!
Our solar panels have produced enough energy to: operate a TV for 4,635,532 hours; power 5,131 computers for 1 year; or power 36 homes for 1 year! And these panels have saved as much pollution from entering the atmosphere as an average passenger car emits over 83 years!
Solar isn't the only way Cuvaison is giving back to the environment.
Read more about our Green Initiatives>>
Visitors have always enjoyed Cuvaison's beautiful picnic grounds in Calistoga, but now we can provide your picnic lunch!
Give us 24 hours notice and your
basket lunch will be waiting!
Choose from a delicious picnic lunch menu that includes a split bottle (357ml) of Cuvaison wine!
Lunch paired with 375ml Chardonnay - $25 per person.
Lunch paired with 375ml Pinot Noir - $29 per person
Choose from: Turkey, Roast Beef, or Grilled Vegetable Sandwich, or a Chicken Caesar Wrap. Each lunch is a complete with fresh fruit, a side salad, a cookie, and utensils.
Call 707-942-2468 or click here for details and to make your reservation!
Danube Holiday Markets
Experience timeless traditions and elegant pagentry
along the enchanting Danube
on the newest Uniworld ship, the River Beatrice
Join Winemaker, Steven Rogstad and cruise Europe’s Danube River aboard Uniworld’s newest ship, the River Beatrice-November 28 - December 6, 2010. Join Steve and fellow club members while traveling through Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany. From the large Holiday Markets of Vienna to the more intimate Holiday Markets of Bratislava, Passau, and Salzburg—each combines timeless traditions with elegant pageantry. 7 nights aboard a river-view stateroom with 7 guided shore excursions, a private Cuvaison wine tasting reception, & more.
Special Pricing from $1,849. For more information call Doctor Travel at 800-466-2784.
For more informatioin visit www.cuvaison.com/club
No need to leave your dog home alone,
both of Cuvaison's Tasting Rooms are Dog Friendly!
Just don't forget the leash!
Meet Kelli, the well behaved dog of one of our dearest club members,
checking out the wonderful view from our Carneros Tasting Room terrace.
Who could leave such a great dog at home?
Kelli, you are welcome back anytime!
Question: What's left in your cellar?
a) sticky floor from popping all those corks
b) few broken glasses that need to be replaced
c) bottle of who knows what from Uncle Jim
Answer: All of the above!
Mix and match from select wines and receive 25% off a case or 30% off 2 cases or more to Restock Your Cellar!
*Special Club Member Only Offer
This article appeared on page M - 6 of the San Francisco Chronicle - 11/15/2009 - By Janny Hu, Chronicle Staff Writer
From the parking lot at Cuvaison Estate Wines' new tasting room in Napa, there are few hints as to what awaits inside - which is a good thing. It heightens the shock factor of walking in and discovering floor-to-ceiling windows that offer stunning, panoramic views of the estate's vineyards in the heart of Carneros.
The tasting room opened in May and is 85 percent solar powered in keeping with Cuvaison's commitment to sustainability (both its winery and land were certified Napa Green in 2008). Despite its size, the service remains remarkably personal thanks to a slower-paced, sit-down format.
The vibe: Open, airy and full of natural light, the space is gorgeous. The north- and east-facing windows are retractable, so you can enjoy fresh air during warmer days and protection during inclement weather - all while gazing at the estate's vineyards and central lake.
Tabletops and chairs are made from recycled aluminum, and the building is finished with teak and cherry wood, lending a warm vibe to an otherwise modern-looking structure.
The team: Winemaker Steve Rogstad joined Cuvaison in 2002 and crafts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Merlot from 400 acres across the Carneros estate. The winery's separate 140-acre Mount Veeder estate specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon.
The wines: Two tasting flights of four wines are offered for $15 each, though we were able to mix and match wines from both lists. Among the choices are two Chardonnays, two Pinots and the 2006 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon.
The experience: If you're short on time, think about coming back on a more leisurely day. All tastings are seated, so you sit either indoors or outdoors and the wines are brought one at a time. It makes the process longer but nets you individual attention.
Our host gave a brief history of each wine and pointed out where the grapes were grown - in one case, the Pinot vines were a few feet away. The map he referenced was even detailed enough to show our exact table.
Throughout the visit, we never felt rushed or pressured, and on our way out, we snagged a bonus taste of their 2006 Espiritu dessert wine.
The extras: Cuvaison has a second tasting room in Calistoga on Silverado Trail, with shaded picnic grounds.
Nearby: Domaine Carneros, 1240 Duhig Road, Napa, (707) 257-0101. Madonna Estate, 5400 Old Sonoma Road, Napa, (707) 255-8864. Artesa, 1345 Henry Road, Napa, (707) 224-1668.
If you go: Cuvaison, 1221 Duhig Road, Napa, (707) 942-2455. Open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.Go To Article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/11/15/TR3D1AGHMT.DTL Photo: Brant Ward / The Chronicle
Only 3 Days Left - Carneros Wine Alliance - Online Auction!
Bid & Buy through Saturday, November 14 -- http://auction.carneros.com
A Unique chance for wines, magnums, holiday gifts, and shared experiences for family and friends. Beneficiaries are the Carneros Land Stewardship Foundation and the CWA’s Cru Carneros educational and training program for early stage wine and food professionals.
Cuvaison's Auction Lot:
Join us for a private vineyard tour followed by a wine paired luncheon for four in the gallery room of our new Carneros tasting room. You'll be surrounded by views of the rolling waves of our estate vineyard as you settle in to enjoy your meal. The experience continues as you take home a 6 bottle selection of our finest Estate grown wines including the limited release 2007 S Block Chardonnay and 2007 Block F5 Pinot Noir. - An Estimated $400 value!
"The Carneros Wine Alliance is an association of wineries and growers in the Carneros AVA (American Viticulture Area). One of the most rural of wine regions, Carneros (“the Ram” in Spanish ) is known for its natural beauty, its commitment to community and to the preservation of our environment."
Just thinking about Thanksgiving makes one hungry for their family’s tried-and-true favorites. As we were planning the upcoming Thanksgiving offer we thought we would share our favorite family recipes with you! So try out some of these delicious offerings from our family to yours.
Try Mary’s Nebraska styled smoked turkey, Joelle’s New England oyster stuffing, Kristen’s southern twist on sweet potatoes, and Jamie’s Californian cranberry sauce!
Share your favorite family recipes with us and we will post them on our blog! (Either comment on this post or send us an email at email@example.com)
Mary’s Smoked Turkey, Nebraska style
Some pointers for smoking a turkey:
- Turkey breasts, drumsticks, wings and whole turkeys are all suited for smoking.
- If you have a turkey that weighs over 12 pounds, detach the leg and thigh portions from the breast and smoke the turkey parts separately (to ensure thorough cooking).
- Don’t stuff the turkey. Smoked stuffing is not the most desirable flavor and it takes too long for the the stuffing to reach the required temperature.
- Enhance flavor by adding chunks or chips of water-soaked hardwood or fruitwood. DO NOT use softwood (pine, fir, cedar or spruce). It gives the food a turpentine flavor and coats it with a black pitch or resin.
Charcoal smokers have two pans - one for charcoal and one for liquid. Fill the pan for liquid with water, Cuvaison wine, apple juice or the liquid you desire. Fill the charcoal pan with of course charcoal. Light the charcoal and place the cover on the smoker. When the smoker has reached an internal temperature of 250° F to 300° F, place the turkey on the smoker rack and replace the cover. Replenish charcoal and/or liquid, as necessary, to maintain 250° F to 300° F.
Smoking time depends on many factors: the size and shape of the turkey, the distance from the heat, temperature of the coals and the outside air temperature. Estimate 20 to 30 minutes per pound if using a smoker. Always use a food thermometer. The whole turkey is done when the food thermometer, placed in the inner thigh, reaches 180° F. The breast is done when the internal temperature reaches 170° F.
Joelle’s New England Oyster Stuffing
(Serves 8 – 10)
- 11 cups 1⁄2" cubed white French bread (about 14 oz.)
- 6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1⁄4" strips
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
- 6 shallots, thinly sliced
- 4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
- 40 medium oysters, such as bluepoints, shucked (about 1 lb.), with 1 cup of the liquor reserved
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1⁄4 cup Espiritu Dessert Wine
- 1⁄3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tbsp. chopped thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp. chopped sage leaves
- 1⁄2 tsp. Tabasco
- 1⁄4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
- 1⁄8 tsp. ground cloves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat oven to 250˚. Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake, stirring occasionally, until dried but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
- Put bacon into a 12" skillet; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until crisp and its fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Add 4 tbsp. of the butter and heat. Add shallots and celery; reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add oyster liquor, stock, wine, parsley, thyme, sage, Tabasco, nutmeg, cloves, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the bread cubes and oysters. Set aside to allow the flavors to come together for 10 minutes.
- Raise the oven temperature to 400˚. Transfer mixture to a buttered 2-qt. oval baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, drizzle with remaining butter, and continue baking until golden brown and crusty, about 30 minutes more. Serve immediately.
Kristen’s Sweet Potato and Two-Cheese Gratin
- 5 Large sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into 1/8-inch slices
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons shredded Fontina cheese
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Garnish: fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously coat a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- Place a layer of sweet potatoes in a shingled fashion in baking dish. Season sweet potato layer with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle potatoes with 1 tablespoon Fontina cheese, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, and ¼ cup cream. Repeat layers 3 times. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 1 hour. Remove aluminum foil. Sprinkle remaining cheeses over sweet potatoes. Then bake, uncovered, until cheese is golden brown, approximately 15 min. Garnish with fresh thyme, if desired.
Jamie's Cranberry Sauce with Cherries, Marsala, and Rosemary
- 2 cups dry Marsala (or substitute 1 cup for Cuvaison red wine)
- ½ cup dried tart cherries
- 1 12-ounce bag cranberries
- 12 ounces frozen dark sweet cherries (about 2 2/3 cups), halved
- 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
Combine Marsala and dried cherries in deep saucepan. Boil until mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup, about 8 minutes. Mix in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium, cover pan and simmer until cranberries burst and mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover; keep refrigerated.)