Friday, July 17, 2015

This Just in from Wine Spectator!

On July 6th, 2015 the Wine Spectator posted:
"10 Thrilling Napa Cabernets".  Brandlin Estate Cabernet had the highest 
rated score of the group.

92 points

" Exhibits a rich, tapered core of dark berry, anise, cedar and loamy earth, with firm yet round tannins that support the fruit mix, giving this traction and depth.  Drink now through 2028." - Wine Spectator, James Laube

 To read the entire article click here

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Brandlin Will Be at The The Art of Taste 2015 at The Resort at Pedrgal, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Jay Schuppert, President of Cuvaison Estate Wines, will be an honored guest speaker at The Resort at Pedgregals' Art of Taste Food & Wine Festival 2015 on July 15-19!

The Resort at Pedregal, Los Cabos’ premier luxury resort, is proud to announce its fourth annual Food & Wine Festival, debuting this year as The Art of Taste. On July 15-19, 2015, the resort will host a four-day epicurean adventure showcasing internationally renowned chefs and wine makers. The Resort at Pedregal’s Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz will be joined by award winning guest chefs including Tim Hollingsworth, Chef/Owner of Barrel and Ashes, and Former Chef de Cuisine of The French Laundry; Rory Herrmann. Culinary Director of Sprout LA and Co-Owner of Barrel and Ashes; Brian Malarkey, Executive Chef and Restaurateur of Searsucker and Herringbone; and Devin McDavid, the newly Appointed Executive Pastry Chef of The Resort at Pedregal, and formerly of Quince and Cotogna, The French Laundry and Blue Hill.

Other notable guests during this summer’s festivities will be a unique combination of international mixologists, spirits and wine experts, which include:  

Ulysses Vidal of Employee’s Only New York
Danielle della Pola of Un Lounge Bologna, Italy 
Bertha Gonzalez, Master Tequilier of Casa Dragones Tequila
Regine Sumeire of Sumeire Wines Proven├že, France
Antonio Escalante, Bodega Roganto, Baja California
Jay Schuppert of Cuvaison Estate Wines, Napa Valley
Pete Przybylinski , VP of Duckhorn Vineyards, Napa Valley
House of Ruinart Champagne, France

Offering four days of meaningful interaction with the select group of master chefs best known for their innovative and seasonal cuisine, tickets to this exclusive event are available to the public and limited to 120 participants, creating an intimate, hands on atmosphere for participants to flourish and learn. Tickets start at $1,290 USD per night plus 19% tax and 15% service fee for the Ocean View King room for the Food & Wine Festival Package. Guests may reserve their spots online at or by calling (844) 773-7342.

Friday, May 29, 2015

"The 25 Best Wines for this Summer"

Fortune Magazine, Daryna Tobey, May 22nd, 2015

When it’s warm outside and our focus turns to summers at the lake, grilling, and watching the kids water ski, we want different kinds of wines than we do when we’re indoors and have less to distract us. We want the carefree, vinous equivalents of “Summer of ’69” or “Empire State of Mind,” and with all of the entertaining that we do this time of year, we need a pretty versatile soundtrack of summer wines to carry us through. Here are the kinds of wine you’ll want over the next few months—the best wines for nearly every outdoor occasion.  A signature summer wine. This is your theme wine, the one that you buy cases and cases of and serve as your default house wine until the first week of September. It shouldn’t be too expensive a bottle—you’ll feel better about the pace at which your stash dwindles if you don’t spend too much. 

There’s nothing herbaceous about the Brandlin 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder ($60), but it does feel like a throwback Cabernet—and that’s a good thing. There are no amped-up, creamy vanilla notes here; instead the wine serves up classic, outdoorsy flavors of bramble, nut, and tangy, just-picked plum.

Friday, May 22, 2015

"What To Drink Now: Refined California Cabernet"

D Magazine, By Hayley Hamilton Cogill, May 18, 2015

Though summertime temperatures are here, we still love to drink big hearty Cabernets in Texas. Few do this luscious variety better than Napa Valley. The region has built a reputation on producing high quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet based red blends that create harmonious wines with a fruit forward flavor profile, many also reflecting the terroir of the surrounding, highlighting the flavor of the land.

As Napa Valley prepares for their upcoming Auction Napa Valley celebration, here are a few great Cabernet Sauvignon wines to consider from Napa. I included a few additional selections from around the state as well. I am sure they may surprise even those who only drink Napa. A few selections were sent for editorial consideration. Also on Mount Veeder sits Brandlin, a historic vineyard sitting at 1200 feet above sea level, overlooking Napa Valley.

Originally planted in 1926 in very steep, rocky terrain, the vineyard today produces highly concentrated fruit, predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties, but there are also 10 acres of very old vine Zinfandel that the current owners, Cuviason Estate Wines, are dedicated to maintaining. Sustainably farmed in the same manner as the original Brandlin family, wines are nurtured by hand to display true characteristics of the land. Brandlin Henry’s Keep Proprietary Red Wine pays tribute to the Brandlin family and their patriarch, Henry Brandlin.

Aged 22 months in 75% new French oak, the small production wine is filled with layers of mocha, wild sage, black cherry and tobacco. The tannins are bold, but nicely balanced with cedar spice accents. This a wine that has plenty of aging potential. $100, available via their website.
May 28, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Racking and Blending at Brandlin

It is springtime in the cellar and we are busy racking and blending our 2013 Brandlin wines. When wines age in thin staved French oak barrels, a small amount of sediment, or lees, will settle to the bottom of the barrels over time.  To remove the sediment, we siphon (called "racking”) the clear wine off the lees, dump the lees, wash the barrels and refill them with the racked wine.  Given the tannic nature of mountain grown grapes we will typically rack our Brandlin wines about four times a year.

When racking, it not only cleans up the wine, it also introduces a small amount of air that will help polymerize the grape tannins.  As tannins come out of the grapes at crush and fermentation time, they are small molecules that can readily fall into your taste buds and be perceived as astringent and bitter.  With the help of a little bit of air through the winemaking and cellaring, the tannins will start to bind together forming long chains (polymerizing), creating big molecules that are too large to fall into your taste buds, but rather glide over your tongue leaving an impression of silkiness or velvety feeling.

During the spring racking, we also blended the various blocks to create our 2013 Brandlin Estate Cabernet and Henry’s Keep blends.  Our 2013 vintage shows lush, forward wines that will drink well in their youth and be quite appealing. The vintage was slightly warmer with an earlier harvest than the past few years and the wines are a bit showier for it, making them great restaurant wines when released. 


"Wine Mic Monday: Cuvaison & Brandlin"

"Wine Mic Monday: Cuvaison & Brandlin"
Vault 29 | May 18, 2015

Cuvaison is an iconic brand in Napa Valley and producer of beautifully crafted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Lesser known about Cuvaison is its ties to Mt. Veeder's Brandlin family; its green initiatives and commitment to the environment; and state of the art tasting room in the heart of their Carneros vineyards. Discover two incredible wineries in one very cool story!

For many years, Cuvaison has been regarded as an iconic winery and brand in Napa Valley, consistently producing beautifully balanced Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  Located in the Carneros AVA (American Viticultural Area), the winery was originally founded in 1969 and purchased ten years later by the Schmidheiny family of Switzerland.  At the time of purchase, the Carneros region was little known for grape growing and the newly acquired 400 acres was pastureland. Today, Cuvaison’s 250 acres “under vine” produce a portfolio of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah – all world class wines thanks to Carneros’ cool bay breezes and fog unique to the growing area.  The majority of the winery’s staff has held long tenures; Jay Schuppert, the President and CEO of the winery, has been with Cuvaison for 17 years.  The family itself reinvests all profits back into the business for its long term success – both testaments to the Schmidheiny family and its values.

Two lesser known facts about Cuvaison are their ties to Napa Valley’s Brandlin family and commitment to sustaining the environment through various initiatives.

In 1998, Cuvaison purchased a historic Mount Veeder property owned by Chester Brandlin. Located on a 1,200 foot ridgeline – this is one of Napa Valley’s most difficult but acclaimed mountain regions for grape growing. Dating back 140 years when the immigrant Swiss family first moved to Napa, they purchased various mountain properties instead of land on the Napa Valley floor; they began growing grapes as early as the 1870s.  In the 1920s, Henry Brandlin purchased this estate and started planting zinfandel which are still producing great wines almost 90 years later.  Cuvaison purchased the property from Henry’s son, Chester, who was very involved in grape growing until the age of 89 when he passed.  It’s hard to believe, but after so many years of growing grapes on Mt. Veeder, the Brandlin family never produced a bottle of wine with their family name on a label.  As a tribute and to pay homage to the family, the Mount Veeder wines – a Cabernet Sauvignon, a proprietary red Bordeaux style blend and two zinfandels – are marketed as an independent label called Brandlin Vineyards. 

Napa Green
Both estate vineyards, Carneros and Brandlin, are certified Napa Green, meaning the company has been recognized for their work in reducing the impact on the environment.  Both estates are certified sustainable, practice Fish Friendly Farming and the winery/tasting room have Bay Area Green Business certification. The winery is solar powered producing 85% of their power use; they have invested in a very sophisticated water recirculation/conservation program; and they spearhead a cork recycling program where wine club members and neighboring wineries bring their popped corks to be grinded for repurposing.  

Winery Visits & Tasting Experiences
The staff at Cuvaison is dedicated to providing winelovers with a unique tasting experience at their recently built tasting room in the heart of their estate. Their original vision for the structure was to place their guests where they could get a true sense and appreciation for the vineyards and the picturesque, rolling hills of Carneros.  All visitors enjoy sweeping, 270 degree views with 22 feet floor to ceiling windows all while enjoying a 2-in-1 tasting experience with both Cuvaison and Brandlin wines.  Together, Cuvaison’s emphasis on lifestyle and celebration and Brandlin’s focus on exploration and discovery make for one unforgettable Napa Valley experience! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fantastic Recognition by Jancis Robinson!

We are pleased to share recent comments from Jancis Robinson, a British wine critic, weekly wine writer for The Financial Times, and editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine, who recently reviewed Napa Cabernets. Needless to say, we were excited about her take on our Brandlin Estate Cabernet, in comparison to these other much higher priced producers.

Jancis Robinson – April 2015 
Napa Cab lightens up

At February’s 2015 Premiere Napa Valley Auction, Jancis Robinson tasted verticals from 12 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon producers organized by the Napa Valley Vintners. The wines were from the 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages.

She was struck that exaggerated fruit bombs are becoming the exception rather than the rule and there really does seem to be a move towards more finesse and geographical expression. “Most of these wines were, admirably, single-vineyard Cabernets.”

Brandlin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($60) was one of only 12 Napa Cabernet producers selected by the NVV for this prestigious tasting. Others included Paul Hobbs ($175), J Davies ($90), Shafer Hillside Select ($250), Realm ($165) and Spottswoode ($175) among others.

Following are her notes from that tasting that used a 20 point scoring scale:
Brandlin, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Mount Veeder
Well balanced and complete on the nose. Sweet start and spicy with lovely high-quality oak in evidence. Very pure and confident. But definitely new Napa.
17.5 pts (highest score for the vintage) 

Brandlin, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Mount Veeder
Bright crimson. Red cherry fruit. Sappy and sinewy. Much less sweet than most Napa Cabs. A little dry on the end but a sincere honest wine that is not fighting the vintage. 16.5 pts (highest score for the vintage)

Brandlin, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Mount Veeder
Bright ruby. Minty-sweet Napa but not overripe. Nicely balanced and fresh. Maybe a hint of green on the end? But attractive and appetizing. 17 pts (2nd highest score for the vintage)
Needless to say we were excited about her take on our Brandlin Estate
Cabernet in comparison to these other much higher priced producers.