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Brix = the amount of sweetness in a given solution measured in degrees expressing the porportion of sugar to each 100 gr. of total fluid; Used in winemaking by growers to measure the amount of sugar in the grapes.

Chicks = We're girls of a certain age with a sense of adventure, a passion for wine, a vibrant curiousity to learn more and a drive to exchange ideas, share tips and find out what you have to say about how wine flavors your experience.

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29 January, 2015

Cultivar Wine Club Dinner with Friends - #CultivarWines

Sysco Foods says, "Enjoy Life. Eat out more often".  Not true.  In fact one of the things I plan to do more of in 2015  is entertain to make quality time for friends and fun.  Thanks to the Cultivar Wine club, I not only had two luxurious and potentially mouthwatering bottles to try, but I also had inspiration from Cultivar's cool blog.  Their theme "How to Host a Horizontal Tasting" sounds super fun, but too much to pull together during hectic back-to-business January.  I will put a pin there as a huge benefit of wine clubs is allowing you to "collect" bottles that enable special tastings #instantpopularity.

On my calendar (in pen), however, was a dinner with wonderful friends.  Perfect! I volunteered to bring my plush bottles. 

First up
Cultivar 2012 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($72):
Nice boots!  Nicer wine!

Howell Mountain is a special place in Napa, whose Cabs I adore.  The appellation begins at 1400 feet and the elevation and soils contribute to a microclimate that is "above the fog".  Vineyards can produce fruit which vinifies into a gorgeous balance:  nice acidity and plenty of sugar for that alcohol we all love in the balance we all crave.  The Cultivar wine was almost opaque, and purple in color.  It had aromas of blackberries dusted with cocoa powder, an herbal note of thyme and cedary wood that delighted me.  The flavors followed through with more dark fruits and hints of cocoa.  Smooth mouth feel with well integrated flavors were lovely.  Cultivar recommends that you hold the wine for up to 10 years, which is sound advice, if you have that kind of restraint.  I don't when tempted, and was happy to find the wine accessible now.  Luscious and lovely, which after all is the best pairing for good conversation, isn't it?  We drank this as an aperitif while we waited for everyone to arrive and for the delicious dinner to be ready. 

With our yummy grilled prawns, melted leeks and quinoa salad, we opened up:

Cultivar 2013 Oak Knoll Chardonnay ($28) 
The Oak Knoll District in Napa is located in an area that benefits from the cooling influences of San Pablo Bay, so it's an area that produces cool climate fruit even though Napa is so warm.  This wine had a clear, pale straw color.  Aromas leaped out of the glass of sophisticated tropical fruit with herbal notes. Nice acidity with graceful oak treatment provide subtle, well integrated flavors.  Lingering finish with a kiss of herbs. The notes that come with the shipment made it easier to understand the wine.  I enjoyed the restrained chard better with an enhanced understanding of its journey.

We were all impressed with the Cultivar offerings.  They drank with that same relaxed luxury I associate with really good resort wear: quality, style and a really good fit.   I was so happy to be able to share good taste with great friends.  We are vowing to make time for everyday events.  My Cultivar will help me keep my promise in a delicious way.

If you think you need a touch of luxury in your life, you can leverage a special incentive courtesy of Cultivar for BrixChicks readers.  Please enjoy 10% off when you order online at Cultivar Wine with the promo code " CultivarWineBrixeChicks"

Mid Century Modern Wine Club
Many thanks to Cultivar Wines for providing these samples.

14 December, 2014

BrixChick Liza' Gift Guide: Soulful Napa: A Visit to Corison Winery

Good friends and good times require good wines.

You can't go wrong selecting Corison wines to gift, to visit or to order on the wine list if you see it.  When I visited to taste this fall I was blown away not  just by the wine, but by the feeling of family, quality and connection that emanates from Corison Winery.

2011 Corison Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley   ($80) Dark and pretty in the glass, the aromas had a welcoming puff of black fruit, roasted tomato, cedar and a hint of tea smoke. Well integrated flavors with a kiss of bramble and a long lively finish. It's a beautifully made wine; graceful and natural.  Cathy Corison says she lets the vineyard speak and you want to hear more. Even the label is timeless with the graphics inspired by those found on ancient wine containers.  

There was an article on the wall with headline "Subtle..." and I thought how perfect.  The wine was nuanced and well, subtle.  You could taste the care.  

I took the opportunity to gift some good friends with this wine at our annual get together at a wonderful Dogpatch spot, Piccino, (1001 Minnesota, SF) A wine like this marks an occasion not for the scores it gets it or the awards it garners or not, but rather for the elegant companionship and taste of quality and place.  

For Soulful Napa, it makes a great gift.  If you are not in Northern CA, Flemings also carries this. Carve the time out to spend with good friends and celebrate with a soulful wine of quality 

Buy here

12 December, 2014

BrixChick Liza's Gift Guide: Artful Napa: Visit Hall Wines

Where's Bunny Foo Foo?
Caught up in a sharknado of year end work?  Did Stormageddon set your schedule back a week? Are you shopping for a regifter?

Try gifting an experience.

Whether you are biking distance or need to go transoceanic, Napa is a great spot to visit with a friend.  The act of setting aside time to make memories is something you will never sell at a garage sale. 

But what to do when there is just so much? Let me suggest three things I did this summer, that loosely fall into Artful Napa, Soulful Napa and Rockstar Napa.

First on my list is Artful Napa:

Hall Wines was started by two overachievers who worked toward a winery dream.  Craig and Kathryn,  serial entrepreneur and lawyer-ambassador and both art lovers, had a vision
for a State of the art winery. Their vision included excellence, sustainability and sharing beautiful art with their guests.  Hall Wines became one of the first wineries to achieve Gold LEEDS status,  literally the gold standard for sustainability and for doing well by doing good.  Part of that included saving the beautiful old stone 1881 winery.  Saving the old stones with their patina of longevity dresses the space with a unique elegance. Though, for full disclosure, the barn may be haunted.   

The Halls' love of art is something they share with all their visitors.  Even if modern art is not your thing, these pieces have been selected and placed in a way that enriches any visit.  Just remember look but don't touch, though the art will beguile and tempt you.  However, that art has nothing on the wine

A wonderful thing about Hall Wines is that they offer delicious wines at many price points.  Not just the  $200 perfect score 100 point Exzellenz, but affordable Napa Sauvignon Blanc. Crisply acidic, balanced and  a bargain at $24. 

My favorite was the 2011 HALL "Eighteen Seventy-Three" Cabernet Sauvignon ($80)  Our wonderful tour guide , Jeff described it as "a French school girl ditching school in her mom's perfume and her dad's old bomber jacket while learning to smoke."  Violets on finish with 3% Merlot blended in.

Click here to see the fun activities you can reserve at the St. Helena facility. Wine 101 is a great place to start as it  opens a little earlier than most winery experiences and also helps get your group on the same page. 
Sunset Cruise colors

The "Sunset Cruise" is  a great way to wind down your day in Napa.  Art gets woven into your experience in a really cool way here.  These colors on the bar wall were pulled from a summary color gamut of colors found in the estate vista.

But if you are looking for the perfect gift., the Rutherford location just released an amazing opportunity that will put Santa to shame.

HALL Rutherford’s Appellation Exploration is an exclusive tasting experience that includes a tour of the modern wine production facility, an overview of the art and best of all,  a tasting of three ultra premium wines from special appellations. 

It takes place in the Chandelier Cave, under a dazzling light fixture made from 1500 Swarovski crystals.  Think luxurious first class window seat to examine how place affects wine.  Only the appellation is different as the same team vinifies from select and sought after vineyards.  100 point winners can't be wrong

HALL Rutherford’s Appellation Exploration experience is $125pp / $100 for Club Members/GEMS.
To reserve this experience, please call (707) 967-2626. This is an extremely limited offering and available by appointment only. 

Photo credit Hall Wines