Wines To Pair With Thanksgiving

The time for this annual meal is fast approaching – always a challenging event for wine pairing!

Here are Benson’s top picks for 2022.

Wines to pair with that Thanksgiving feast

First up, it’s all about Pinot:

Balletto Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir SRP $22 – The 2021 is fun and lively with a light, delicate texture and a refreshing acidity. Bonus from Balletto Vineyards in 2022 – they are now entirely solar powered! 

Balletto Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – SRP $34  The 2019 exhibits everything you would expect from a serious pinot, combining full and captivating aromatics with a delicate texture that defines the Balletto style of Pinot Noir. The wine itself is full of contradictory forces: it’s weighty with a luscious mid-palate, but also surrounded by notable tannins and acidity that keep it focused, balanced and taut. It has plenty of dark fruit, but it is also layered with savory earth and spices that offset it. The overall impact is complex, impressive and delicious.  

It’s not Pinot, but it’s great at Thanksgiving – check out Balletto’s Gewurztraminer! (SRP $24) 

Hahn Appellation Series Pinot Noir, Arroyo Seco SRP $25 – Located south of the Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco is one of the smallest AVAs in California, boasting one of the longest growing seasons in the state due to cool winds that blow in daily from Monterey Bay. As a result, this Pinot Noir is soft and delicate on the palate, with flavors of cherry and other red fruits, followed by a long finish. Hahn Appellation Series also includes a Chardonnay (SRP $20) and GSM – Grenache Syrah Mourvédre (SRP $25). 

Hahn SLH Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands SRP $35 Pioneers in the Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH), Nicolaus (Nicky) Hahn first purchased land in the 1970s and was keen to see its potential as a renowned wine region. He led efforts to officially establish Santa Lucia Highlands as an official AVA. Today, Hahn Family Wines owns one of the largest shares of planted vines in the SLH, farming 650 acres (10% of SLH). The vineyards used for Hahn’s SLH wines experience a long and dry growing season that results in wines with remarkable depth, complexity and ripe fruit flavors. Hahn SLH Chardonnay is also available as well (SRP $30). 

We’re also looking at some options from exciting wine areas overseas: 

Teliani Valley Saperavi SRP $15 – Made from 100% Saperavi (pronounced saw-pear-ah-vee) grapes. This wine is a great introduction to the Saperavi varietal of Georgia. A young version of Saperavi that shows all of the best characteristics of the grape. Fermented in stainless steel, this medium-full bodied Saperavi shows a classic profile with ripe sour cherry and pomegranate notes, vibrant acidity, and firm tannin. A perfect party wine since it will go with most things on the table. 

Xanadu Chardonnay, Margaret River – SRP $30 – From the heart of the ‘Golden Triangle of Chardonnay’ in Western Australia, this wine is made entirely from the Gingin clone, which is specific to this area and gives the wines their signature style. Each bunch develops a mix of small and large grapes which give lower yields and provide outstanding fruit concentration, elegance and persistent natural acidity. This wine is barrel fermented with wild yeasts and matured on lees for nine months but does not undergo malolactic fermentation. The resulting wine shows flavors of gala apples, pears and tangy yuzu citrus alongside a quartz-like minerality. 

Yering Station Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley – SRP $30 – This Pinot Noir from the cool climate of Yarra Valley, Australia is proof that Australia has exceptional cool climate terroir to offer. Complex and balanced, with bright strawberry and fragrant spice notes. It has an acidity that works nicely with most dishes and sides. Yering Station is the first vineyard in Victoria, Australia, with vines planted in 1838. 

Finally, we’ll finish off with some classic American pours: 

Smith & Hook Proprietary Red Wine – SRP $25 The Smith & Hook story begins 40 years ago in the hills of Monterey County where the Hahn family founded Smith & Hook, launching a decades-long exploration of Central Coast winemaking. Today Winemaker Megan McCollough produces excellent Cabernet Sauvignon wines, priced $25-45, as well as this classic Bordeaux blend of primarily Merlot, Petite Sirah, Malbec & Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit is sourced from three prestigious appellations of the Central Coast: Arroyo Seco, Santa Lucia Highlands and San Antonio Valley. This expressive blend features vibrant aromas of cranberry, dark cherry and plum, underscored by notes of mushroom and subtle hints of lavender.   

Biltmore Winery Thanksgiving Wine Trio SRP $109.00  When it comes to choosing wines for Thanksgiving, why choose just one? This trio includes the Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay, The Hunt Red Blend and Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs, all ideal for different parts of a Thanksgiving gathering. The best part is that it’s 20% off right now! Here’s more about each wine and why they were selected:  

  • Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay – SRP $25 – The best pairing for your feast or Biltmore’s modern take on the Vanderbilts’ archived Thanksgiving menu from 1904. This green beans recipe is perfect with a sip of the refreshing and smooth Chardonnay. 
  • The Hunt Red Blend SRP $45 This wine was made with 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 26% Cabernet Franc from Sonoma County making the perfect blend for a complex meal. It’s great to pair with roast turkey which was George Vanderbilt’s favorite – you can replicate the recipe here 
  • Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs – SRP $39 – Great as a pre-dinner sip with appetizers or with post-dinner dessert, this sparkling wine was made with chardonnay grapes and features tiny bubbles that give way to a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel along with flavors of Bosc pear and light yeasty ciabatta notes.  

For more information, assets, or samples of any of these wines, please don’t hesitate to let us know! 

Low(er) Alcohol ‘Sessionable’ Wines

As alcohol levels in wine continue to climb, it is refreshing to come across those which are now, effectively, “lower abv.”

By “lower,” we mean less than the 13.5% abv, less than we typically see in the market. Let’s call it, low-ish.

These ‘sessionable’ wines, like the ones we have listed below, allow for greater enjoyment for the duration of an event or meal.

We’ve listed wines in our client portfolio for your consideration, from least to most in ABV. If you’re interested in samples, please send along your shipping address to Lauren Liebler (liebler@bensonmarketing.com).

Bread & Butter Prosecco ($16) – Made in a small town, Fossalta di Piave, near Venice at a 90-year-old family-owned winery using best practices for producing good, honest and delicious Prosecco. The wine has citrus and floral aromas and notes of ripe apple, pear and white peach. The taste is balanced and refreshing which won’t overwhelm your palate. 11% abv.

Maddalena Riesling ($15) – This Riesling is made from 100% sustainable vineyards and comes only from Monterey County. The alcoholic fermentation is stopped before the yeast has converted all the natural grape sugar into alcohol. In doing so, this arrested fermentation allows the natural sweetness of the wine to be maintained. There are aromas of apricot, honey, and wildflowers. The rich mouth greets the palate with fresh fruit flavors of pear and green apple. 11.5 % abv.

Vanderbilt Reserve Viognier ($35) – The newly released wine from Biltmore Winery was crafted from grapes sourced from Virginia. With characteristics of pineapple, vanilla and ripe pear, it’s a refreshing sip great with citrus-based dishes. 12.5% abv.

KRIS Wines Pinot Grigio ($11.99) — When 9 of 10 bottles you make are Pinot Grigio, it better be good. Their crisp, fresh Pinot Grigio packs a lot of flavor into an affordable, available white wine weighing in at only 12.5% abv. The family-run winery – winemakers for 7 generations—source fruit from a handful of growers in the northern Italian regions of Alto Adige, Veneto, and Friuli who have been connected to the family for decades.

Teliani Saperavi ($15) – A red wine at 13% abv, it’s a great introduction to the Saperavi (pronounced saw-pear-ah-vee) varietal with vibrant acidity and firm tannin. Another great options is the Teliani Tsolikouri ($15) pronounced (tso-lee-ko-oo-ree) which is a vibrant wine with balanced acidity and a light body with aromas of yellow lemon and grapefruit. 12% abv.

Balletto Rosé of Pinot Noir ($25) – This wine is crafted from estate-grown Pinot Noir on 100% sustainable vineyards in the Russian River Valley. It’s delicate and acidic, making for a refreshing daytime sipper. 13.4% abv. Another great option is the Teresa’s Unoaked Chardonnay ($25) as it’s crisp and vibrant without heavy oak influence. 13.2% abv.

Discover California's Central Coast

Discovering California’s Central Coast

California’s Central Coast is garnering an increasing share of the spotlight, and deservedly so.

In 2022, the San Luis Obispo Coast AVA was recognized, joining previously recognized areas like Paso Robles, Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco. This addition is a new chapter in the region’s evolution as one of California’s top wine producing regions, and good reason to discover, or rediscover, California’s Central Coast.

Beyond the wine, the Central Coast also has people’s attention as home to fantastic aquatic activities, hiking trails, and relaxing spas. Located half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the region has an incredible amount to offer and can be more approachable than some wine regions to the north. Featuring unique takes on Bordeaux and Rhone blends, Central Coast wineries have something to whet everyone’s palate.

Here’s a look at a few key wineries and their wines:

Hahn Family Wines has tasting rooms in the towns of Carmel-by-the-Sea and Soledad. Pioneers in the Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH), Nicolaus (Nicky) Hahn first purchased land in the 1970s and was keen to see its potential as a renowned wine region. He led efforts to officially establish Santa Lucia Highlands as an official AVA. Today, Hahn Family Wines owns one of the largest shares of planted vines in the SLH, farming 650 acres (10% of SLH). They remain an independent, family-owned, and operated wine company focused on growing and producing luxury and ultra-premium wines from certified sustainable estate vineyards. Their wines include:

Hahn SLH Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands – SRP $35 – Hahn Family Wines was one of the first wineries in the region to have all its estate vineyards certified under the rigorous Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Program. The vineyards used for sourcing the Pinot Noir grapes for this wine experience a long and dry growing season that results in wines with remarkable depth, complexity and ripe fruit flavors.

Discover California's Central Coast

San Luis Obispo Coast AVA Vineyard

Hahn Appellation Series Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco – SRP $20 – Located south of the Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco is one of the smallest AVAs in California, boasting one of the longest growing seasons in the state due to cool winds that blow in daily from Monterey Bay. As a result, this Chardonnay is vibrant on the palate, with flavors of pineapple, lemon, apricot and gentle notes of honey, followed by nuanced toasty spice on the finish. Hahn Appellation Series includes Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Grenache Syrah Mourvédre (GSM) priced $20-25/750ml.

Smith & Hook Proprietary Red Blend, Central Coast – SRP $25 – The Smith & Hook story begins 40 years ago in the hills of Monterey County where the Hahn family founded Smith & Hook, launching a decades-long exploration of Central Coast winemaking. Today Winemaker Megan McCollough produces excellent Cabernet Sauvignon wines, priced $25-45, as well as this classic Bordeaux blend of primarily Merlot, Petite Sirah, Malbec & Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit is sourced from three prestigious appellations of the Central Coast: Arroyo Seco, Santa Lucia Highlands and San Antonio Valley. This expressive blend features vibrant aromas of cranberry, dark cherry and plum, underscored by notes of mushroom and subtle hints of lavender.

Chronic Cellars in Paso Robles is fully committed to making seriously good wine for people looking for a little dose of adventure. Their disruptive style is matched only by the killer quality of their wines, made with character to match the clever and playful labels.

Chronic Cellars Sir Real Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP $17 – Noble to the core and made with character in Paso Robles, Sir Real delivers striking but approachable layers of dark fruit, currants and dried cherry with cedar and tobacco flavors.

Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise – SRP $17 – Catch a lucky break with Purple Paradise. This Zinfandel-dominated blend rolls out blackberry fruit, cherry cola and touches of mocha and lavender. The alluring balanced acidity and mild tannins float towards a blissful finish as an ode to the perfect landscape where it originates.

Discover California's Central Coast

Morro Bay, California

Baileyana Winery in San Luis Obispo (SLO) has numerous accolades from Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator and is in SLO’s historic Independence Schoolhouse, built in 1909. The winery has award-winning wines that hail from lush vineyard vines set against the backdrop of the gorgeous Santa Lucia mountains in the Edna Valley. They also produce wines under the True Myth label from Paso Robles.

Baileyana Firepeak Chardonnay, Edna Valley – SRP $28 – A chardonnay as bright and complex as the central coast with upfront flavors of crisp pear, lemon zest, pineapple and a hint of vanilla. This wine has a smooth and relaxed finish.

True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP $24 – Coming from hand-selected vineyard sites, this wine showcases the power and lushness of Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles. Sourced from old vines, which bring the bold, powerful and opulent notes of black cherry, cassis and pepper associated with high-quality Cab. Rich yet smooth, this wine is very approachable now, and will continue to mature for years to come.

Riboli Family Wines was one of the first wineries to come out of Los Angeles (they still have a winery there along with a restaurant). The brand has recently expanded to Paso Robles and the central coast. It has been family owned since 1917. San Antonio Winery, the Los Angeles property, was opened by Anthony Riboli (4th generation winemaker’s) great great uncle, Santo Cambianica who came to the US from Lombardia, Italy. Anthony’s grandfather, Stefano Riboli, joined the family business and expanded it with his wife, Maddelena who is turning 100 this year. The third- and fourth generations of Ribolis consider themselves stewards of the 1,400 acres of estate vineyard now under their care. Since 2019, REG has maintained sustainability certifications from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance for all of its estate vineyards, as well as the Paso Robles winery facility – something fewer than 5% of all California wineries can claim.

Maddalena Rosé – SRP $15 – Named after the matriarch and founder of Riboli Family Wines, this sustainably produced Rosé is a bright, luscious wine with ripe red plum and raspberry flavors.

San Simeon Sauvignon Blanc – SRP $19 – Located near the coastal town of San Simeon, the estate vineyards are located within the El Pomar district of the renowned Paso Robles appellation. Small lots are picked and fermented individually with minimal intervention to allow the true expression of the soil and climate. This is a bright, refreshing wine with intense flavors of citrus and pear. The nose reveals bright aromas of white peach and lime zest. Mineral notes express the rocky terroir of the vineyard.

San Simeon Stormwatch – SRP $70 –  Steep hillsides and rocky soils produce the intense flavors and aromas of this Bordeaux-style blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc). The wine is dark, rich, and mouth-filling complete with ripe flavors of blackberry and raspberry with touches of spice and vanilla.

Let us know if we can help you discover California’s Central Coast. Contact Nadea at mina@bensonmarketing.com to learn more.

Our Predictions for 2022

As we look ahead to 2022, here are a few of the trends and predictions we are keeping our eyes on. We’d love to hear your thoughts or connect you with any of our client spokespeople to talk in further detail.  

  • Climate Change/Sustainability – These two words are very broad terms, encompassing a lot of different things, but for sure some aspect will be on everyone’s minds in 2022; whether it is reducing packaging weight, making changes in the vineyards, or supporting outside initiatives. 
    • Barton & Guestier can talk with you about the ways in which they are ramping up their Corporate Responsibility Initiatives.  
    • Riboli Family Wines and Hahn Family Wines can tell you about enhancing sustainability in their vineyards and practices.  
    • The winemakers at Graham Beck in South Africa and Biltmore Winery in North Carolina can speak to experiments with new varieties to better withstand climate changes. 
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity – End consumers will continue to gravitate towards trailblazing themes/people/brands that authentically put women and minorities at the forefront.  
  • The Espresso Martini Craze – Surging back into popularity, this drink quickly became a bit of a pain for bar staff. While we anticipate people will still seek out this drink, we predict that mixologists will find new ways of making them and in the process perhaps unleash themselves from the espresso machine. Our friends at St. George Spirits offer their NOLA Coffee Liqueur as a key starting point.  
  • No/Low Alcohol Trend – Health and wellness driven choices like this will continue and Veuve du Vernay debuted its Sparkling Alcohol Removed wine earlier this year. 
  • Champagne Alternatives – While the greater wine industry is expected to suffer a decline this year, the sparkling wine segment will see its 13th consecutive year of gain. We see this continuing in 2022 with consumers looking for great quality for the price. The leading Cap Classique producer in the US market, Graham Beck, definitely has something to say about that!  
  • Seltzer Alternatives — Sales of hard seltzers have finally begun to decline, the question is – what will step in to take some of this market share? Lower alcohol, wine-based RTDs may see their moment.   
  • Integrated Marketing – Creating brand “share of attention” will be increasingly challenging, requiring more brands to fully integrate sales and marketing activations. That is, get ready for fewer, but bigger, promotions. 
  • Democratization of Wine – Yes, trading up is here to stay. But so are the basics: affordable, delicious, widely available wines are never off-trend. WX Brands’ Bread & Butter wines, one of the fastest growing brands, will continue to not “overthink it.”  
  • Logistical Issues – Supply chain issues will linger and continue to cause headaches in 2022. Brands will be challenged to find creative solutions, potentially in the form of more domestic suppliers. 
  • Expanded DTC Shipping – The push to continue expanding and streamlining legal winery DTC shipping will take the Free the Grapes! campaign to wine lovers in Utah, Mississippi, and Delaware, the only three states with bans.  
  • Craft Spirits is Turning 40 – Founded in 1982 and serving as a vanguard of the modern craft spirits movement, St. George Spirits will celebrate past milestones (Absinthe anyone?) and prognosticate on the next 40 years.  
  • Terroir Whiskey? – New “bottled in bond” releases reflect the where and when of whiskey distilling, and Redwood Empire Whiskey will launch a fall BiB from the 2017 “vintage.”   
Feeling Festive?

Feeling Festive? Holiday Cocktails that Stir the Soul

For a holiday celebration, or at any time of the year, sometimes it is a cocktail that is called for to fill your glass.

Benson has a number of suggestions on this front thanks to our creative spirits clients — and we’ve added ideas for wine cocktails, too!

Keep it Simple: Pour Over Ice & Serve – Veuve du Vernay Ice Rosé SRP: $14.99
A quick and easy cocktail, this wine was crafted to be enjoyed over ice so pour away and enjoy! The Ice Rosé is slightly sweet with red fruit aromas to match its pink hue. From the bottle to the glass, this wine epitomizes a fun, flirty Parisian lifestyle. Enjoy on its own or in a more complex cocktail like the High-Altitude Airmail and Sparkling Vodka Gimlet, created by Beautiful Booze.

Spiced Pear Old Fashioned. PC: Nicolas Paris

Spiced Pear Old Fashioned

Feeling Festive
St. George Spirits Pear Brandy SRP: $40 and St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur SRP: $35
Pear brandy has been St. George’s flagship spirit since 1982. It is made from the most aromatic dry-farmed, organic Bartlett pears to be found, and about 30 pounds of fruit are packed into every 750ml bottle! The pear liqueur is both elegant and earthy, with all of the complexity of perfectly ripe Bartlett pear. Cinnamon and clove add a warm touch of spice.

Try these in a cocktail for the holidays, find recipes here and here. Pro tip – give the Spiced Pear Old Fashioned a whirl, featuring the Spice Pear Liqueur and St. George Spirits Breaking & Entering American Whiskey.

Ballervadier

Whiskey cocktails to warm you up
The Ballervardier is equal parts Baller Single Malt Whiskey SRP: $50, Bruto Americano SRP: $30, and Dolin Sweet Vermouth. Baller is “a California take on the Japanese spin on Scotch whisky” and Bruto Americano brings a bracing dose of bitterness, a bright pop of citrus, and intriguing sylvan notes inspired by St. George’s master distiller Lance Winter’s formative experiences growing up in California in the 1970s.

Sage Advice

Our friends at Redwood Empire offer some Sage Advice by way of this cocktail featuring their Emerald Giant Rye SRP: $45, black walnut bitters, and muddled sage leaves.

Affogato

Affogato

 

How to Enjoy Your Coffee, Any Time of the Day or Night
St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur SRP: $30 was inspired by a love of New Orleans-style coffee, Yirgacheffe coffee beans provide bright berry and chocolate qualities complemented by chicory root.

One of the most delicious ways to enjoy it is in an Affogato. Other cocktail ideas for the liqueur here.

Morning Fog

For something with a little more caffeine kick, the team at Redwood Empire suggest Morning Fog, a delicious blend of their Pipe Dream Bourbon SRP: $45 and cold brew coffee. The salted maple whipped cream doesn’t hurt either! See this recipe and others on the product webpage.

Wallet and Crowd Pleasers

We’ve got wines to pair with Thanksgiving.  We’ve got the perfect wines and spirits to give as gifts.  And now, we have wine recommendations that please both the wallet and the crowd! 

As always, keep Benson in mind for your holiday story needs! 

What to pour for a crowd, if it is safe to gather 

Barton & Guestier Alcohol Removed Sparkling Wine  SRP: $14.99
Perfect for all ages or any designated drivers, give everyone a chance to celebrate in style. A reverse osmosis process is utilized to remove alcohol from the finished wine, made from Muscat grapes. This special process preserves aromatic and flavor components, keeping the wines’ integrity and character intact. No additional sugars or juice are added and the effervescence is adjusted before bottling for maximum pleasure. Low calorie and vegan friendly.

True Myth Chardonnay Edna Valley  SRP: $18
True Myth presents an authentic experience, which only Mother Nature can express: one of depth, wonder, and a little bit of magic. Taste and Believe. Displaying aromas of ripe pear, pineapple, tangerine and caramel, this is a classic Chardonnay from the Edna Valley in California. It is rich and creamy and bursting with tropical fruit flavors. 

Our Daily Red Blend 1.5L Bag in a Box  SRP: $17.99
This wine is certified USDA Organic, vegan, and with no detectable sulfites, making it your go-to travel companion for all occasions this year. Easy to bring to the Friendsgiving feast and will cover a lot of bases while filling a lot of glasses. 

Smith & Hook Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon  SRP: $25 

To craft this classic Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon, fruit from small family owned vineyards in 5 unique sub-appellations is combined. The result is a lush, rich and expressive Cabernet Sauvignon that is full-bodied with notes of dark berry, vanilla, mocha and spice. A perfect combination for the holiday season and a big crowd pleaser!

A few wallet friendly (<$20) selections:  Buy by the bottle or the case! 

Biltmore Estate Pinot Grigio American  SRP: $15
Bearing the American Appellation designation, this Biltmore Estate Pinot Grigio was sourced from growing partners on the west coast and vinified at Biltmore Winery in Asheville, NC. Classic, refreshing, Pinot Grigio is always at home at a party. 

Tangent Sauvignon Blanc  Edna Valley  SRP: $17
Hailing from California’s Edna Valley, near San Luis Obispo, this Sauvignon Blanc explodes with notes of grapefruit and gooseberry. Made with coastal fruit grown just a few miles from the ocean along the Central Coast of California. Life is distinctly vibrant when you take a Tangent. 

Bread & Butter Pinot Noir  California   SRP: $14.99
Hard to wrap, but easy to give.  Based in Napa, Bread & Butter produces classically styled California wines made to be easy-going and approachable. Winemaker Linda Trotta believes good things shouldn’t be complicated. This is an undeniably juicy Pinot Noir that bursts with cherries, raspberries and a touch of cassis.  Sure to be a crowd pleaser.  Look for a new Merlot coming from Bread & Butter soon!

Hahn Appellation Series  SRP: $17.99-19.99  

The Hahn Appellation Series line-up includes Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and GSM wines, sourced from Arroyo Seco vineyards. While we recommend them ALL, bring a little Rhone-style to your table this holiday. The 2019 Hahn Appellation Series GSM is a red blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. Ruby red in color and boasting aromas of fresh strawberries, red cherry, a touch of white pepper, it leaves a lovely, lingering long finish. 

Sparkling Wines for Anytime

Sparkling Wines for Anytime

Sparkling wines are great for any occasion — holidays, weddings, or even on a Tuesday night in! 

Here are some sparkling wines your readers will want to have on hand to add something to any moment. They transform the mundane into the celebratory, and they also make ideal gifts.  

Veuve du Vernay Ice Rosé NV SRP $14.99
Ranked #1 by IMPACT Hot Prospect Brand Award for Imported Wines from 2017-2019, Veuve du Vernay is the leading French sparkling wine brand in the U.S. and shows no sign of slowing down. Crafted to be enjoyed over ice, Ice Rosé is slightly sweet with red fruit aromas to match its sparkling pink hue. It’s an ideal and unexpected cocktail for celebrating the New Year. From the bottle to the glass this wine epitomizes a fun, flirty Parisian lifestyle.

Bread & Butter Extra Dry DOC Prosecco SRP: $15.99
Made to be simply enjoyed, this graceful, everyday Prosecco was created by winemaker Linda Trotta who worked with a 90-year-old, family-owned winery near Venice, Italy. The result is a delicately perfumed wine with notes of floral and ripe fruit, bright acidity, and a complement of creamy mouthfeel and layers of soft bubbles that persist through to the long, elegant finish. Packaged in an elegant gold and black label, this beauty is ready to party.

Steenberg Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc NV SRP $18
Created from grapes from the oldest registered farm in South Africa, the Steenberg Vineyards Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc is a testament to the strengths of the storied Constantia wine region. Traditional method fermentation adds another fun and fresh level to this wine; aromas of passion fruit and lime give it a fruity nose while the palate is light and smooth.

Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2015 SRP: $30
An exceptional example of Cap Classique wine, the fruit was hand selected, and hand harvested from Graham Beck’s specific Chardonnay Clonal block on their Robertson Estate. This wine is elegant and impressive, a real treat for any meal and a total steal at this price for this quality of traditional method sparkler!  Another great option is the Graham Beck Brut NV for just $20.

Biltmore Blanc de Blancs SRP $35
Crafted with Chardonnay grapes sourced from the west coast and using the traditional methode champenoise, the Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs is a classic bottle of bubbly for any occasion. It can stand alone as a wine to toast or to pair with lightly dressed seafood and greens. Up your hospitality game to Vanderbilt level by sharing this with your close circle.

Balletto Brut Rosé 2014 SRP $42
This sparkling Brut Rosé comes from Balletto Vineyards, one of the few family-owned estate wineries in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. It’s delicate, pretty and delicious. The soft, coral-hued color sets the stage, and the tiny, persistent bubbles confirm that this is a serious sparkler.

Let us know how we can help you identify the best sparkling wine option for your stories.
Contact liebler@bensonmarketing.com to hear more about what we have in our portfolio.

Around the World Harvest Updates: August 2021

We’ve contacted our portfolio of clients to bring you updates from around the globe as to how 2021 is going in the fields and vines. We cover a lot of ground (pun intended) so please be sure to read through to the end.

We’ll kick it off with something a bit different, our friends at St. George Spirits gave us an update on some crops other than grapes. Here is what Dave Smith, head distiller/blender has to say:

Dave Smith, St. George Spirits. PC: AdriaLo “Drought conditions have been a persistent concern in many parts of the west for years now. While it varies from year to year, it’s always a concern. This year we’re seeing some real challenges in the northwest with regards to raspberries and even cereal grains, which is deeply troubling. As a producer who works with real agriculture but is also responsible for our expectations of truly consistent excellence, these shortages have a real impact and force us to evaluate what sustainable agriculture may look like in the future. What we could count on ten years ago won’t necessarily be there in the same way for any of us a decade or two down the road.

Every harvest we endeavor to produce more spirit from seasonal ingredients than we project a need for in a given year so that we’re able to blend harvests together and ensure greater continuity in our bottlings. We’re working with real ingredients and while consumers expect the 2019 vintage from their favorite wine producer to be a bit different from 2018 vintage, spirits consumers aren’t necessarily thinking in those terms. Blending together different harvests helps to ensure that every time our customers open a bottle of Green Chile Vodka that they’re greeted by a familiar friend. In past years we had created larger inventories, so that this year we were in a position to bring in a smaller load of peppers. We have always enjoyed a warm relationship with our pepper grower; they’re a real strategic partner to us as we work together every harvest. Given the smaller load this year, I suspect that we’ll be bringing in a larger load of peppers next harvest.

Realistically, every harvest has unique challenges that unfold over time. Whether we’re importing the most recent harvest of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans from our favorite grower, or we’re talking to one of our produce contacts about raspberry shortages in the northeast, it’s always going to be something. This year raspberries are a real concern. The significant question then becomes whether or not raspberries continue to have a shortage next year or the year after. As we overproduce some years, we can mitigate those challenges to a certain degree, but those strategies are only effective for so long…Some years there are Colorado pears available, other years absolutely zero. This year, Colorado pears are available. We’re hopeful that both our California and Colorado pears will begin to land over the coming weeks which is always a wonderful time of year. We’re expecting both Colorado as well as California organic Bartlett’s this year, somewhere in the range of half a million pounds or so. It’s going to be a good harvest.

And now for the grapes – let’s start in the Northern Hemisphere where things are gearing up for harvest. In fact, our friends at Barton & Guestier in France have let us know that they already have a date identified for their Merlot harvest at Chateauâ Magnol, in Bordeaux. Mark your calendars, the entire team will be on hand to pick these grapes on September 21!

Moving west, we come to North Carolina where the Biltmore Winery team gives us an update on east coast vineyards. Vice President and Head Winemaker Sharon Fenchak tells us:

The summer has been relatively uneventful so far for the growing season. The vineyard team is doing a good job keeping up with any pests. The next month will be critical in how the grapes ripen for this harvest. Hopefully we will have limited rainfall from hurricanes that often come up from the east coast and gulf shores. Normally, we start to harvest our Chardonnay in the first week in September.

In 2020, our vineyard was hit really hard with frost and freeze events so our harvest was greatly reduced. In 2021, we have already experienced several frost and freeze events but not as severe as the previous year,so we should have a decent harvest. We are looking forward to some good acidity and hopefully higher brix due to smaller yields. We should also be getting our first significant harvest of Petite Manseng this year! It will be fun to see how it’s coming along and see the potential of the grapes.”

Vineyard Manager Philip Oglesby chimes in to say:

Though not particularly a new practice, we did prune some of the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon plants in a different manner this year by cane pruning rather than our normal cane-and-spur method. The idea was to revive and restore some of the wood along the cordon area in hopes that we achieve more evenly ripened and higher quality fruit in certain areas that have suffered freeze damage in the past. The spring frost/freeze cycles may have negated some of those efforts, though. Such is farming!

As we continue across the U.S., we caught up with Anthony Beckman, Vice President and Winemaker of Balletto Vineyards the Russian River Valley of California:

The weather these last five weeks has been picture-perfect, cool fog in morning, 80s in the hot part of the day and then back to very cool nights around 55F. If this keeps up, it will be a stunning harvest, but there’s a long way to go. Last year had rather nice weather, too, until lightning storms sparked fires/smoke and then we had a heat spike over Labor Day.

That being said, we anticipate that we’ll be beginning to pick the Pinot Noir for our sparkling wines by about the 13th of August. The fruit for our Rosé of Pinot will follow (about six to ten days later). The grapes for our other Pinot Noir wines will begin in some select spots around Aug. 20 and get really busy at the end of the month and/or beginning of September. The vineyards in the Sebastopol Hills are at least two weeks behind the other vineyards in the Santa Rosa Plains and Laguna Ridge. It’s always nice when they are separated as it gives us a chance to get in with some of the earlier picked fruit and then out of the red open top fermenters before the Hillside fruit starts to come in. One of the challenges of 2021 is that we’re having the most difficult year ever in terms of hiring people to work the harvest. It’s never been easy to fill these spots, but this year is on a whole new level of difficulty!

Heading south into the Santa Lucia Highlands, we caught up with Paul Clifton, Director of Winemaking at Hahn Family Wines:

The 2021 growing season started out extremely dry and warm in December-January, so irrigating in January was initiated to help fill the soil profile prior to bud break, which we have seen happen as early as February. However, the end of January, we had atmospheric flooding. Being born and raised in this area, I have never seen that much rain fall all at once. Over the course of 48 hours, we received 6.5 inches of rain, half our annual rainfall, and in this particular winter, it was pretty much the only rain we saw. Bud break started the first week of March. In May we had bloom, which was very drawn out because of variable weather in terms of cool to hot conditions. The remainder of the growing season was on par with 2020 and most other years, consistent fog in mornings, sun by late morning, then the wind kicking in.As of the first week of August, veraison was near 90% in some clones, so we are anticipating a typical start to harvest, the first or second week of September. In looking at all the different blocks over the last week, we are looking forward to an evenly spread and steady paced harvest based on what we are seeing with the variability of veraison between clones.We are also praying for no heat spikes, no smoke, and plentiful rain come November.

Over the years, we have been wanting to trial with organic grape growing. So, for the 2021 vintage, we picked out 60 acres of Pinot Noir in Doctor’s Vineyard to farm organically. This trial will be both for quality differences and cost differentials between sustainably certified grape growing and organic grape growing.

Further south, in Paso Robles, we heard from Winemaker Megan McCollough at Smith & Hook:

Megan McCullough, Smith & Hook WineryWe’ve seen a lot more cool and foggy mornings this year overall. The month of June was overcast in the morning every single day. We still continue to see days with fog lingering longer in the SLH. In Paso, the amount of heat spikes have been considerably less, and much more consistent temperature days. Summer isn’t over yet though and we are expecting some elevated temperatures. The vineyards are about 50%-75% through verasion and looking healthy. In terms of picking, for Cabernet Sauvignon it’s most likely early to mid-October. Harvest is always a celebration and I’m personally looking forward to it as last year was not as hands on.

In California’s Edna Valley, we hear from Rob Takigawa, Director of Winemaking for Baileyana Winery and Tangent and True Myth brands:

The summer of 2021 has not seen the extreme heat and smoke that we experienced in 2020, yet.

Veraison has started on all the properties so we are looking to harvest around the week of Labor Day. Some aromatic whites on our coastal properties will most likely be harvested earlier. We experienced a cool spell during bloom which led to a small production in the vineyards and uneven set. Management of the canopy to help promote balance to the clusters for an even ripening has been implemented, with sun exposure and mindful irrigation practices. We’re looking forward to a smoke-free harvest and blessing every day that I can walk the vineyards and observe the development of the fruit that will soon be coming into the winery.

And now to the Southern Hemisphere, where it is winter and things are understandably a little quieter.

First, we checked in with Aurelio Montes, Chief Winemaker of Montes Wines in Chile:

Aurelio Montes Montes WinesAfter finishing harvest 2021 earlier this year, everything has been quite normal except for rainfall. It has been quite a mild winter otherwise. Evolution of the vines is perfect and on schedule, we are currently waiting for budbreak which we expect in 2-3 weeks. We are currently getting some rain now, and there is more predicted in the next week as the winter closes out, which we are looking forward to. 2020 was an exact opposite year in terms of rain; it was very rainy and it was generally cooler all the way through the year, especially in Spring and Summer. However, the Southern Hemisphere generally mirrors what happens in the North so we are expecting it to be very warm this summer. Overall, if the rainfall situation improves, I anticipate lower yields and higher concentration from this vintage.

While we have this time, we are re-planting about 100 acres worth of vines. Some of these are vines we were having problems with as it was not the right variety for the area. For example, we had some Cabernet in soils which were too rich and we’re looking to replace these with Merlot. In other instances, these are new plantings on untouched soil, some are even grapes that are new to Chile. Anything new that we plant is inherently risky simply because Chile doesn’t have as much established viticultural history to draw from. We just try to learn as fast as possible (4-5 years at a time), to see if the vine is going to work in that area.

An exciting example is our Patagonia vineyard, which produced its first bottles of wine with the 2021 harvest, mostly Sauvignon Blanc and some Chardonnay. This is still a very experimental project for now. And it has been a fight with the wildlife! Beavers and some small birds are discovering grapes for the first time and loving it. It has taken a lot of management with some fencing to get ahead of that.

This vineyard is located in a unique place where it rains quite a lot, but it does drain well. Many of the minerals are lost in natural drainage to the ocean though, so it’s quite poor soil. Another challenge was finding workers in that area who had any experience with wines and vines. When you go to the real limit, like this place is, you need to be patient, because it will take 5, 10, even 15 years to really learn the place and see results.

Moving across the globe again, we arrive in South Africa to check-in with the properties of Beck Family Estates.

At Graham Beck, Cellarmaster Pieter Ferreira let us know:

“For our 2021 harvest there was a lovely synchronicity with that first vintage for our Graham Beck Cap Classique wines, and this was that harvest was conducted under the night sky. In 1991 this was because our cellar roof was not yet completed and in 2021 it was because we chose to do a 100% night harvest at our estate in Robertson. Harvest kicked off on January 11 at precisely midnight and the vineyards sparkled like fireflies on the move thanks to hundreds of flickering headlamps.

Comparing to the last couple of years…this year looks excellent! We are currently right in the middle of our winter season. We have had really very good rainfall in the important catchment areas in our area of Robertson, and good snow falls have occurred in the high mountain peaks. The vines are in full resting mode and pruning will commence this week. The importance of consistency and continuity are the main drivers for our vineyard practices. Though always sustainability and conservation-minded, we continue to look for ways to be even “greener” in all of our practices.

We are planning to plant 6 acres of the latest available Chardonnay and Pinot Noir clones that we don’t have in the mix. Also, for the first time we will plant Pinot Meunier. This is the third varietal widely planted in Champagne and we are looking forward to working with these grapes in the next couple of years. So watch this space!

Finally, in July, we had yet another total ban of the sale of alcohol in South Africa. This is no fun for us here back home and we are only just so thankful that we could export our beautiful bubbles. The whole Graham Beck team says thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for the tremendous support we have experienced during these challenging times.”

Elunda Basson, Cellarmaster at Steenberg Vineyards chimes in with:

Elunda Basson, Steenberg Vineyards

“I’m pleased to report that our 2021 harvest proceeded well. In 2020 we encountered an issue where we had to leave some fruit on the vines as our cellars were full. This was a ‘speed bump’ produced by the first alcohol ban that South Africa instituted; it prevented us from processing the fruit as quickly as we would have liked. This year we did not have to leave any grapes on the vines! Nevertheless, the pandemic still keeps us on our toes. As an example, this year we harvested everything by hand as a result of some Covid supply chain issues. A wonderful change to make though it did require lots of improvising and thinking on the spot!

Looking into the vines this August, this winter is much colder than what we have experienced the past few years, but fortunately not abnormally cold. Rainfall has been above average (about 100mm more than usual) with much more of it falling in June/July than normal (normally spread more evenly). The colder winter currently experienced should give us better budding in Aug/Sept this year. We are also busy replanting about 4 hectares of our historically most famous block, this is one that has given us some of our best Sauvignon Blanc over the years. We are extremely excited for what these news vines will be able to contribute in the future.”

St. George Spirits. PC Alex Zyuzikov

Leaders in their Field: Spotlighting Notable Stories

In this installment we highlight a few of our clients who are leading the way in their areas of the wine and spirits industry. Deserving of the spotlight, these champions are leaders in their respective regions and categories, for their innovative methods, and for their long history in excelling at what they do. Let’s raise a glass to these inspiring stories!

Barton & Guestier – A fixture in French winemaking for three centuries

Leaders not only in Bordeaux, but across France, the Barton & Guestier name is known to millions worldwide. With almost three centuries of experience in winemaking, it is the oldest winehouse of Bordeaux and producer of the first French wines that reached American soil. The brand’s comprehensive portfolio includes a variety of wines from the main French winegrowing regions of Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, Burgundy, Beaujolais, the Rhone Valley, Languedoc, Gascony, and Corsica. Thomas Barton left his native Ireland and emigrated to Bordeaux when he was 30 years old and founded his shipping company in 1725. In 1802, his grandson, Hugh Barton, teamed up with his friend Daniel Guestier, a French shipowner, and Barton & Guestier was born. American president Thomas Jefferson was one of the customers of the company.

Today, the B&G winemaking team works hand in hand with almost 200 wine grower partners to produce the most authentic wines. This close collaboration allows the growers to take advantage of the team’s expertise while nurturing mutual respect and a partnership mentality. Laurent Prada, Chief Winemaker, notes that it is “this strong relationship with our partners [that] greatly helps us create a range of true-to-type French wines which also offer the “cachet” of appealing to the US palate.

Taste this history through the Barton & Guestier AOC Bordeaux Rouge Cuvee Rambaud and AOC Bordeaux Blanc Petite Nancy, SRP $14.99 for each.

Hear Laurent Prada talk about another B&G wine, the Bistro Sauvignon Blanc.

Biltmore Winery – Pioneering North Carolina winemaking and across America

Biltmore Winery is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, N.C. on the grounds of an 8,000-acre estate owned by the descendants of Biltmore’s original founder, George W. Vanderbilt. The ~50 acres of vineyards sit at an altitude between 2,100 and 2,500 feet and are planted to grapes that have proven to do well in the state’s sometimes unpredictable climate. These are Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and some Viognier and Petit Manseng.

Biltmore Winery opened in 1985 and Current Vice President and Head Winemaker Sharon Fenchak joined the Biltmore Wine team in 1999. Today she leads this storied portfolio into the future, maintaining strong partnerships with growers around the U.S. Recognizing that North Carolina is best suited to certain styles, Biltmore has established relationships with growers in other areas of the country to be able to offer a wider selection of the finest varietals and vintages. Regardless of where the grapes are grown, Sharon oversees every step of the winemaking process. In some cases. these wines bear the American Appellation, indicating that the fruit is grown on the west coast but the wine is finished and bottled at Biltmore Winery in Asheville, North Carolina.

Taste Biltmore’s expertise in North Carolina through the Biltmore Reserve Rosé, SRP $25

Here more from Sharon about Biltmore Winery and their sourcing program.

Graham Beck – Cap Classique Champions

Graham Beck is THE leader in Cap Classique wines in the United States, representing 95% of the category. This iconic brand of bottle fermented sparkling wines from South Africa is lauded among the world’s best values. It has been affectionately dubbed the “President’s Choice” — the Brut Non-Vintage was served at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994 as well as President Barack Obama’s election night victory party in Chicago in 2008. The internal slogan, “the Graham Beck Way” refers not only to a meticulous attention to the details of grape growing and winemaking, but also to the value it places in putting people and the planet first.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of these beautiful wines, first produced in South Africa in 1971. Graham Beck has been on the forefront of Cap Classique production, leading a pioneering journey to innovate and constantly elevate the craft, consistently producing bottle fermented sparkling wines which rank among the best in the world. Join Cellarmaster Pieter Ferreira and Winemaker Pierre de Klerk as they celebrate 50 golden years of Cap Classique on August 31, 2021 with conversation and tasting. (Watch the YouTube recording of this tasting.)

Taste “the Graham Beck Way” through the Blanc de Blancs 2015, SRP $30

Listen to Pieter Ferreira give a master class on Graham Beck.

Hahn Family Wines — Defining the SLH for 40 years

A quarter century ago, Nicky Hahn had the foresight to rally his neighbors and spearhead the process of creating a defined appellation that could gain recognition from wine lovers and wine professionals alike. In 1991, Santa Lucia Highlands was granted AVA status. Today, Hahn Family Wines vineyards equal more than 650 acres in the SLH, one of the largest shares of planted vines in the region. Hahn Family Wines’ SLH vineyards — Lone Oak, Smith, Doctor’s, and Hook — are planted on a narrow bench at elevations ranging from 200 to 1,200 feet above sea level. Plentiful sun and well-drained soils along with a long and dry growing season result in wines with remarkable depth, complexity and lush fruit flavors.

Santa Lucia Highlands AVAFor Hahn Family Wines, sustainability isn’t a trend or a passing fad. It’s a way of life. Everyone at Hahn Family Wines is committed to the idea that quality winemaking and sustainability go hand-on-hand. In 2008, Hahn Family Wines was one of the first wineries in the area to become certified sustainable under the Sustainability in Practice (or SIP) certification program. SIP’s pilot program required a rigorous three-year process that evaluated sustainability beyond the vineyards. It also ensures certified wineries care for their employees and community by holistically gauging three factors: Environmental Health, Social Equality and Economic Viability. Today, Hahn Estate operates as a 100% solar-powered winery.

Taste Hahn’s leadership in the Santa Lucia Highlands through their coveted Lucienne, small lot, single vineyard expressions of Chardonnay (SRP $40) and Pinot Noir (SRP $50)

 

Steenberg Vineyards – History of strong, female leadership in Constantia

Recognized as the oldest registered farm in South Africa, and situated in the historic Constantia Valley, Steenberg Vineyards produces some of the best Sauvignon Blanc wines in the country. It is also one of the top South African wine tourism destinations. The Steenberg story starts with its founder, Catharina Ras, who is among the most remarkable figures ever to settle in the western cape. Her personal history includes 5 husbands, most of whom met unfortunate ends; one was trampled by an elephant, one was mauled by a lion, and so forth. Despite these seemingly insurmountable challenges, this brave young woman persevered and became a landowner, receiving the title deed to the farm in 1682 and turning it into a thriving venture.

Elunda BassonThis history of strong female leadership at Steenberg continues under Cellarmaster Elunda Basson. She joined the team in June 2019 at the pinnacle of a long career, which includes crafting both still and sparkling wines. To complete the triumvirate, both the General Manager and Executive Chef are also women! Tying each woman’s contributions into one experience, Tryn, Steenberg’s signature restaurant brings Catharina’s narrative into the dining experience connecting the founder’s free spirit with fabulous food by Chef Kerry Kilpin, as well as GM Catherine Shulze’s design and management touches and, of course, Elunda Basson’s wines.

Taste Steenberg’s innovation through the Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, a bottle fermented version of this classic variety, SRP $18.

Learn more about the property today and hear Elunda talk about the Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc here.

St. George Spirits – Independent in spirit and in fact

St. George Spirits is a true American original, defining and propelling the art of distillation in the U.S. for the last 40 years. Today, the extensive St. George Spirits portfolio of gins, vodkas, whiskeys, liqueurs, brandies and eaux de vie stands apart for not only its excellence in every category but also its expression of creativity and an uncompromising point of view. The exacting standards and commitment to raw, fresh ingredients established by founder Jörg Rupf in 1982 form the foundations by which the distillery still operates. St. George’s family of spirits has grown over the decades, and the American craft distillation movement has grown with it. The more that the landscape has changed, the more important St. George’s philosophy has become: make amazing spirits, unlike anything else available on the market, with innovation, quality, and integrity.

Passionate about the art of distillation, master distiller Lance Winters and head distiller Dave Smith are dedicated to making the absolute best spirits they can through a process of experimentation, exploration, and discovery. Some experiments become part of the esteemed St. George Spirits portfolio, some find their way onto the shelves of St. George laboratory to inspire the next extraordinary expression, but through it all, Lance and Dave create spirits that are truly unique, unlike anything you will find on the market. “We think of distillation as a conversation. Those before us had something to say, and we want to add something to that conversation, never replicating, always innovating,” says Lance.

Discover St. George’s uncompromising standards in their flagship St. George Pear Brandy (SRP $40) and St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur (SRP $35)

Taste their innovation in Baller Single Malt Whiskey (SRP $50)

Hear more from the distilling team here.

We’ve Made the Holidays Easy With This Gift Guide

Perfect Holiday Gifts

The holiday season is quickly approaching and we’re quite familiar with the struggle to find the perfect gift for everyone. Looking for gifts for the host? We’ve got it. Crowd pleasers and absolute standouts? Of course! Finding gifts for every occasion can be hard, but we’ve made things easier for you.

As you begin looking ahead to the upcoming holiday season, be sure to keep Benson Marketing Group’s portfolio in mind.

Gifts To Bring the Host:

Baileyana Firepeak Chardonnay Edna Valley  SRP: $28  Leaders in the Edna Valley since before the AVA’s recognition, today’s Baileyana wines represent the best of truly cool climate viticulture, a rarity in California. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay shine under the careful attention of winemaker Rob Takigawa, who has been making these wines for 20 years. The Acacia Baileyana flower graces the labels and hints at the elegant style of these wines

Chateau Magnol AOC Haut-Medoc Bordeaux SRP $29.99  With almost three centuries of experience in winemaking, Barton & Guestier is the oldest winehouse of Bordeaux and producer of the first French wines that reached American soil. In fact, American president Thomas Jefferson was one of the customers of the company. Its long-standing reputation for making great wines shows in this traditional Bordeaux blend from Chateau Magnol. Will age beautifully with some cellaring as well! 

Sir Real Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles  SRP: $16  Founded in 2004, Chronic Cellars uses the best or “chronic” grapes to make seriously good wine for people who don’t take themselves too seriously. The Sir Real is the most gallant Cabernet Sauvignon of all the land, delivering striking layers of black fruit with a sliver of toasted spice. Unflinching notes of ripe plum and bright cassis lead the way to a rich backbone of harmonious tannin. This wine will make a statement with its beautifully etched label that will stands out amongst the crowd.

True Myth Ryder Cup Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles SRP: $24.99  For all the golf lovers out there, whether active players or spectators, the True Myth Ryder Cup Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon is a partnership between the Professional Golf Association of America (PGA) and Baileyana Winery. Created in Paso Robles, the wine is rich yet smooth and will make everyone feel like a champ. There is also an Edna Valley Chardonnay available for the white wine loving golfer in your life! (SRP $18.99) 

St. George Spirits Gin Collection  SRP: $30   Perfect for stocking stuffers! This collection features the St. George Botanivore, Terroir, and Dry Rye Gins packaged together in 200ml bottles. Perfect for the spirits enthusiast in your life, and as an approachable way to sample three new spirits. These three provide a perfect glimpse of the artistry and expression of the St. George distilling team. 

Bottles That Make a Statement:

Hahn SLH Pinot Noir Orchestral SRP: $90 Celebrating 40 years of winemaking, Hahn Family Wines raises the bar with their coveted SLH Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Carefully crafted in small lots, Hahn SLH wines feature bright aromatics, a rich mouthfeel, intriguing minerality, and balanced acidity. Orchestral is a small production Pinot Noir that reflects the cool climate and well-drained soils of Lone Oak Vineyard. On the nose aromas of spice and earthiness, vibrant red fruit, hints of cherry and cracked black pepper attest to the multi-layered nature of the wine. The structured palate provides a full, round mouthfeel, bright balanced acidity, red cherry flavor and soft tannins on the finish.

Bread & Butter Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  SRP: $100  Bread & Butter introduces a line of wines from small, beloved micro-regions within the Napa Valley affectionally known as their “Go-To” wines made by veteran winemaker Linda Trotta. Meant to impress, these wines are heavy-hitters that don’t just make a night better, they make the entire night. This collection is available only on the winery’s website or at their new Napa Valley Tasting Room located in the heart of Napa Valley on the famed Silverado Trail. 

Redwood Empire Whiskey SRP $45  Redwood Empire Whiskey has the largest inventory of ageing whiskey in California. For whiskey consumers who are looking for new brands, Redwood Empire stands out from traditional whiskies. Their “forest” includes Pipe Dream, Emerald Giant, and Lost Monarch. Three different and unique takes on bourbon and rye whiskey. If you’re looking for gift for that special someone, look for their Bottled-in-Bond whiskies, Rocket Top and Grizzly Beast that will be released in Fall 2021.

St. George Single Malt Whiskey Lot 21   SRP: $100  For 21 years, St. George Single Malt Whiskey has been an American original, distilled, aged, blended, and bottled out of love for what a handcrafted single malt can be. Various roast levels of two-row barley elicit rich aromas of hazelnut and cocoa. A portion of the unroasted barley is smoked over beech and alder wood to add base notes and additional complexity. A variety of cooperage types contribute an even greater depth of flavor. This is a very limited annual release and is truly unique gift for the whiskey connoisseur.