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Duckhorn Portfolio Wine Blog

Posts written by Neil Bernardi, Vice President of Winemaking  and many special guest bloggers. This collection of insights on winemaking, farming, entertaining and more is a great way to learn about the excitement of winery life and tips for enjoying the wines we produce.

The Marketing Team
 
November 28, 2022 | The Marketing Team

Wine Gifting Guide: How to Choose the Right Wine

Wine Gifting Guide: How to Choose the Right Wine

Wine Gifting Guide:
How to Choose the Right Wine

Wine makes the best gift. Wine is an experience; its complete sensory characteristics can remind us of beautiful memories and help to create new ones. Great wine is made to be shared, making it practically synonymous with celebration.

Why Give Wine as a Gift?

Giving wine is personal yet universally prized among wine lovers.

A bottle of wine can speak volumes to both the gift giver and the recipient. The wine’s defining factors tell a story that goes beyond the glass. Its varietal, region, vintage and presentation are all a part of the gift — each of these characteristics should be considered when choosing a wine for your gift recipient.

Plus, wine is always in style— timeless and classic yet relevant to the present time, moment and place.

How to Choose the Right Wine

Here are a few helpful tips to consider when gifting wine:

  1. Make it personal: who is receiving the gift?
    Take a moment to think about the recipient and who they are, their preferences, and what they enjoy. Think of this as an opportunity to share a gift you know they will love because you already know their likes or offer a moment of delight to help them discover something new. Either way, knowing their taste preferences will be helpful. For example: do they prefer reds over white or sweet wines over dry ones? If you’re unsure what they like, The Little Ducklings Half-Bottle Gift Set offers six half-bottles to help them explore and discover their favorites.
  2. Context matters: what’s the gift occasion and time of year?
    Let the season guide your decision. Warmer months lend themselves to lighter wines like White Wines and Rosé, while cooler months encourage heartier, full-bodied Red Wines like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Whether this is a client gift, a gift for a friend’s birthday, or a once-in-a-lifetime moment, the reason for the celebration and the seasonality of the occasion should also be part of the essential considerations.
  3. Size up the situation: is this a small or a large celebration?
    If you’re giving directly to the individual, the standard 750ml bottle is excellent and makes a beautiful gift. If you’re bringing the gift bottle to a larger party, consider a magnum bottle like The Discussion 1.5L Gift Set.
  4. The best gifts present well, so how should you gift wrap or send wine?
    Presentation is an added touchpoint that makes the gift sing. Our Wine Gift Boxes make a quick, impactful addition and create the perfect gift for every wine lover. When sending wine, contact our Customer Service Team, and we’ll help you navigate shipping details and best practices.

What is a Good Wine to Gift?

There’s a wine for every occasion. From wedding anniversaries and work milestones to hostess gifts and holidays, give gifts with meaning and gift luxury from The Duckhorn Portfolio.

Our Top Gift Picks

For a Birthday
Go with a classic Pinot, plus a pop of pink with bubbles for extra festivity.
The Goldeneye Celebration Set

For a Wedding, Anniversary or Engagement
For new unions and lasting traditions, a significant milestone calls for a major celebration with one of our best red wine gift sets.
Pinnacle of the Portfolio

For a Work Celebration
Set the stage for a well-deserved toast! The etched message on the bottle says it all: “Cheers!” This custom message makes this one of the best sparkling wine gifts!
Decoy Brut Cuvee Sparkling Wine

Holiday Wines
Make a lasting impression with a custom message. Just add an elegant gift box for instant presentation points!
2020 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot Etched Happy Holidays

Gift a holiday classic - Cabernet Sauvignon - with the versatility of this curated trio.
A Cabernet Christmas Gift Set

For Everyday Special Moments Worth Celebrating
A refined gift with two exceptional wines— one of the best red and white wine gift sets!
Migration Sonoma Coast Gift Set

Time Posted: Nov 28, 2022 at 12:00 PM Permalink to Wine Gifting Guide: How to Choose the Right Wine Permalink
The Marketing Team
 
November 4, 2022 | The Marketing Team

The Duckhorn Portfolio — Thanksgiving Wine Guide

Your Essential Companion to Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

Our Thanksgiving Wine Guide:
Your Essential Companion to Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

Let’s talk turkey— but more importantly, the wines that go well with turkey and your Thanksgiving menu.

We take an effortless yet elevated approach to wine pairings, especially during the holiday season. Each wine should complement your Thanksgiving meal to enhance the flavors of your feast without imposing limitations. There are no “right” or “wrong” decisions, only guidelines to help save time and encourage more shared moments of holiday joy.

Selected to pair with bold, traditional-with-a-twist flavors and curated from our portfolio of wines, these are our top picks for Thanksgiving Day Wines. From start to finish, we have compelling options for all your host and entertaining needs.

Red or White Wines with Turkey

To address the most frequently asked question: what wine goes with turkey? We have an answer. Both red and white are perfectly suitable; Pinot Noir and Chardonnay make excellent pairings.

From start to finish, light-bodied red wines make a lovely choice; Pinot Noir is a food-friendly wine that pairs well with a variety of dishes. Sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and roasted vegetables are menu highlights that enhance vibrant fruit flavors, enticing aromatics, and earthy notes.

We recommend: Goldeneye 2020 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir brings juicy raspberry, strawberry, and red plum alongside hints of bramble, black tea, anise, and sweet saddle leather with a touch of salinity that will elegantly complement the breadth of flavors in your Turkey Day feast.

Another excellent option: the 2020 Migration Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Running Creek Vineyard, a classically-styled, terroir-driven wine crafted at an exceptional growing site in the finest cool-weather region. Silky tannins and lush red fruit flavors give the wine a long, fresh finish.

For the white wine drinker, our Chardonnays extend well-balanced options with elegant details: lush texture, alluring aromas, and energetic acidity, and still a beautiful accompaniment to the main dish and traditional favorites like mashed potatoes, side salads, and irresistible buttered rolls.

We recommend: our mineral-driven 2020 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Carneros Chardonnay from the Huichica Hills Vineyard is an attractive option for those who prefer a lush, full-bodied experience to match the richness of the menu. A touch of fine French Oak with Anjou pear, white nectarines, and citrus blossoms will stand up nicely next to the spices of Thanksgiving.

For More Festivity

Count on Sparkling Whites and Rosé to bring fun and freshness. From pre to post-dinner, our breadth of options impress with every sip.

We recommend: crafted in the méthode champenoise tradition, our Decoy Brut Cuvée has an enticing palate with delicate sweetness, poise, and energy that sparkles for any occasion. The 2021 Paraduxx Napa Valley Rosé also makes a stunning starter to open with but also transitions well into the meal; this crisp and compelling bottle has a creamy mouth that carries a long, zesty finish.

A Bolder, Untraditional Approach

Depth, structure, and sophistication define our Cabernet Sauvignons. While typically seen as an intense pairing to Thanksgiving, we understand — sometimes you can’t help what you love. These will pair well with those seeking hearty side dishes like our Rye Bread and Italian Sausage Stuffing, cheese-based courses, or alternatives to turkey like steak or other red meats.

We recommend: the 2019 Canvasback Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, which expresses tantalizing aromas, and red fruit layers with supple hints of black plum, and baking spices. Perfection! 

For Exciting Versatility

The light, refreshing crispness of our Sauvignon Blanc bottlings make this varietal an easy white wine recommendation. It’s high-acidity and approachable palate pairs well with both poultry and herbaceous green vegetables like our Shaved Brussel Sprouts with Crispy Onions and Lemony Dill Vinaigrette.

We recommend: the 2021 Duckhorn Vineyards North Coast Sauvignon Blanc, harvested from our estate and elite vineyard sites; this bottle is rich with depth and complexity. Lush aromas, citrus, and tropical flavors with a Sémillon-driven silkiness that adds to its desirability.

A Tried and True Option

When in doubt, go with a red wine that covers your bases. Our Red Wine Blends will go well with rich, savory dishes across the board, like our Garlic and Parmesan Crimini Mushrooms with Pine Nuts and Oregano, a standout side dish that shows its latitude.

We recommend: the 2019 Paraduxx Proprietary Napa Valley Red Wine, a bold and expressive blend crafted to satisfy the modern palate. Voluptuous berry notes with hints of spices, supple tannins, and sophisticated layers provide a beautiful pairing during and after dinner. 

Wine with Pie

Last but never least, what to do for dessert? Our Bourbon-Maple Walnut and Pecan Pie takes a familiar classic up a notch for an unforgettable tasting experience. Yes, you can have your pie and drink with it too.

We recommend: pair your pie with our  2019 Decoy Zinfandel, an engaging bottle with a generous fruit palate, smooth tannins, and bright acidity with subtle hints of oak-inspired vanilla, nutmeg, and spice that linger on the finish.

If you’re skipping pie, our 2017 Calera Central Coast Viognier Doux is a sumptuous sweet wine that makes a beautiful alternative to dessert. With a bouquet of orange, apricot, and ginger. Lush, exotic layers balance sugar and acidity through a bright, lively finish.

Remember, the best wine pairings are those you enjoy drinking—cheers to a beautiful Thanksgiving and holiday season.

For more recommendations, contact our team directly (866) 367-9945, Monday- Friday from 8am-5pm (PST), or email at customerservice@duckhorn.com. We look forward to providing you with first-class, luxury service.  

Time Posted: Nov 4, 2022 at 3:00 PM Permalink to The Duckhorn Portfolio — Thanksgiving Wine Guide Permalink
The Marketing Team
 
February 14, 2022 | The Marketing Team

Date Night with The Duckhorn Portfolio

Date Night and Duckhorn Portfolio

Are you still looking for a thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift? Get inspired with date night ideas and wine to perfectly complement the experience. Here are our top picks.

Rooftop Romance

Capture the feeling that you're on top of the world with a rooftop rendezvous. Whether you're eyeing cascading views or the city skyline, this date is all about elevation. Effortlessly, transition sunset drinks to a romantic starlit dinner with this bottle. We recommend:

  • 2019 Calera Mt. Harlan Chardonnay
    Reach new heights with this elegant, age-worthy white with lovely underlying power. Lush and lively layers of white peach, vanilla bean and lemon zest balanced by bright acidity and a supple mouthfeel. Grown high on the limestone-rich soils of Mt. Harlan– at around 2,200 feet, it’s among the highest and coolest vineyard sites in California.

Karaoke Night

Love it or leave it, there’s no room for shyness or inhibition on Karaoke Night. Bring the boldness to match your inner Mariah (Carey). There are two choices– we recommend:

Play Tourist in Your Own Town

Take this moment to explore tried and true landmarks in a new way – from the perspective of a tourist. What is the one thing your hometown is known for? Do that. Pair it with this, we recommend:

Game Night

Throw a healthy dose of competitive spirit into your date night itinerary with game night. Board games, word games, cards, charades or trivia – all call for a playful, fun yet deeply romantic bottle. We recommend:

Do a Virtual Wine Tasting

Take a moment – close your eyes and envision the rolling hills, picturesque vineyards, exceptional landscapes and unfiltered light of Napa Valley. Transport yourself to the wine capital of California for a fun, engaging virtual wine tasting date.

Make Dinner Together + Dessert

Unless you have it down to a science, cooking together could be unpredictable. Stick to a classic, reliable bottle because if all else fails, you will still have an exquisite bottle to drink. We recommend:

  • 2018 Duckhorn Vineyards Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
    Classic notes of dusty Rutherford minerality and beautiful balanced French oak frame both red and dark berry flavors, with notes of graphite, cracked pepper, caramel and black tea adding depth to a long-fruit-filled finish. Lovely layers of blackberry cassis and tobacco combine with the dusty minerality that comes to define this legendary wine.
  • 2017 Calera Central Coast Viognier Doux
    This sumptuous dessert wine offers a heady bouquet of orange marmalade, apricot jam and ginger. On the palate, it’s lush and exotic with succulent layers of peach, ripe pear and honeysuckle framed by impeccably balanced sugar and acidity that carry this wine to a bright, lively finish.

Movie Night

Consider it the bread and butter of dates: often repeatable but never boring. Choose a classic flick or one you’ve held off for the right occasion. Only conundrum is that the references are limitless, so let’s narrow your pairing selection down by genre. We recommend:

Rom-Com:

Horror:

  • 2019 Decoy California Merlot
    Tempting aromas of ripe cherry and black raspberry with sweet, dusty tannins and supple texture create a lush, expansive Merlot – would be frightening not to try this one!

Outdoor Adventure

You both love the outdoors and venturing new places so hiking is your go-to day date. Be sure to pack light and leave room for this wine pairing that will be the most complex thing you encounter along the way. We recommend:

  • 2018 Canvasback Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Longwinds Vineyard
    Explore the effusive nose of Kirsch, cherry compote, orange marmalade and cinnamon gliding across rich, velvety tannins. On the palate, flavors of wild strawberry and ripe red fruit dominate, gliding across rich, velvety tannins. Though plush and concentrated, the finish offers lovely grip and energy. This wine represents our first bottling of Longwinds Estate Vineyard on Red Mountain – so inherently brings that adventurous spirit!

Plan Your Next Vacation

Dreaming of your next getaway together– sounds like the perfect date! Put pencil to paper and build your ideal itinerary. Luxurious views, food, wine and relaxation – hint, hint: Napa Valley has it all. Drink well and plan accordingly. We recommend

  • 2020 Migration Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir
    A dazzling cool-climate rosé, this wine invites a first sip with its lovely aromas of fresh picked wild strawberries, summer melon and Meyer lemon. The red berry and melon layers are echoed on the bright, silky palate where they mingle with juicy stone fruit flavors that linger on the long, lush finish

Go to an Art Museum

Ready your senses with a feast for your eyes. Abstract, contemporary, realism – stroll the halls of a modern museum and admire the visionary works of art. Like our winemakers, each piece tells a story to activate emotions and a sensory experience. For this, we recommend:

  • 2019 Parduxx Napa Valley Red Wine Rector Creek Vineyard – Block 5
    A limited-production wine that offers its own inspired variations on the contemporary and innovative style of our Paraduxx red blends. A beautiful blend of Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel showcase aromas of black cherry, cranberry, cinnamon, clove, and herbs de Provence that leads to an energetic, lush and dynamic finish.
Time Posted: Feb 14, 2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Date Night with The Duckhorn Portfolio Permalink
Customer Service
 
January 13, 2022 | Customer Service

Meet Mylene at Calera

Mylene from Calera

1. Tell us a little bit about where you are from and how you got started in wine.
I grew up on a grain farm in Chablis, France. Wine and vineyards have always been very present at home but I didn’t grasp how much wine was a part of my culture, until I started working in the industry. People would asked me where I was from: “Burgundy! Yes, like the wine!” But also with how much ease I knew how to talk about it. I am an avid reader and I like to think that opening a bottle of wine is like opening a book, it tells a story.

I went to college to study foreign languages and international business and eventually did an internship with a wine importer in Montreal, Canada. They had an incredible team of passionate wine people who made me realize all of the things that make every wine unique. Having grown up in Ag, I was really missing that connection to the land and what surrounds us, but I could find it again in wine. As I was finishing my undergraduate, my brother was starting his to be a farmer and I was envious that he was that he was going to spend the rest of his life outside walking his fields and growing food. How cool is that? He convinced me that I could do it too. So I pursued a Master's in Agronomy, with a focus on viticulture and winemaking and found my happy place in vineyards!

2. How long have you been with The Duckhorn Portfolio?
After I graduated, I worked at home in Burgundy for a bit, then decided to come to California and did a harvest internship with Calera in 2016. I came back full time to work at Mt. Harlan with legendary Vineyard Manager Jim Ryan in June 2017. I have been with Duckhorn since they acquired Calera in August 2017. It has been amazing to work along and learn from Jim, who planted this incredible vineyard and cared for it for 40 years. He passed away last September, but I am very grateful for our time together at Mt Harlan.

3. What is a day in the life like for you at work?
My Border Collie Nina and I jump in the truck around 5ish in the morning and every day we drive to a different region in the Central Coast: Mt. Harlan, Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez and Santa Rita Hills. When we are not at Mt. Harlan, we visit all our Central Coast grower vineyards. We also like to find the most scenic back roads in the region! We spend time in the vineyards until early afternoon and finish the day in the office.

4. What do you wish people knew about wine/vineyards?
I wish people knew all the blood, sweat and tears that goes into a bottle! All the passion and dedication it takes to grow these grapes. Every year is different and we are constantly adapting, fine-tuning. I think farmers in general are like vineyards: they are resilient and resourceful!

5. What is your favorite food to pair with Pinot Noir? Chenin Blanc?
I love lamb with Pinot Noir. I enjoy Chenin Blanc with Pork Chops cooked with apple, onions and wine!

Time Posted: Jan 13, 2022 at 1:06 PM Permalink to Meet Mylene at Calera Permalink
The Marketing Team
 
November 18, 2021 | The Marketing Team

How To: Set a Table Like a Pro

Whether your Holidays calls for a casual family dinner or a more formal feast, we’re sharing a few instructions and, of course, wine pairings, to ensure your joy-filled holiday gathering goes off without a hitch.

Getting Started

You’ll need a few essentials. Your table setting will include plates, cutlery: knife, forks and spoons, glassware, and napkins. Some extra items to consider are linens, place cards, and centerpieces.

How to set a table

How to Set the Basic Table

We’re going to start with a basic table setting and will use a popular acronym to easily remember where everything goes: FORKS.

Follow along from left to right:
F: Fork (main and salad fork, too)
O: Plate (“O” looks like your plate, right? If needed, stacking a salad plate directly on a dinner plate is appropriate)
R: We’ve made it to the right side of the plate
K: Knife goes here (edges in!)
S: Spoon, lastly (include a soup spoon, if needed)

How to set a formal table

Extras: More to Know

Here’s another perspective: place your plate in the center of the placemat. Your fork(s) will go on the left side; then your knife to the right of the plate and your spoon(s) to the right of your knife.

You can place your napkin directly on top of the plate and drinkware above the plate on the right side of your place setting. We recommend wine glasses are tiered above the main water glass.

Additional plating for salad and bread plate will go to the left of the main plate with the bread plate above and salad plate aligned, as it would be comfortably used.

For dessert, place an additional spoon and fork above the plate. The spoon handle should be facing right, while the fork handle should present to the left. Name card will go above or in front of the complete setting.

Have some fun with it! Dress up your table setting with festive but thoughtful placemats, thematic napkin rings, and centerpieces like floral arrangements and candles.

Which Wine Will Go Best with the Meal?

Rather than trying to match wines to specific dishes include wines that complement a range of food. The name of the game is versatility. Lighter, fruity reds pair well with turkey, while compelling, acidic whites can hold up next to rich side dishes. Across the board, the wine-country-cultivated, new American classics from The Duckhorn Portfolio make sense this Thanksgiving season.

Wine Recommendations:

2018 Goldeneye Anderson Value Pinot Noir Confluence Vineyard
With its ripe strawberry and red plum aromas and its fetching hints of mint and wildflowers, this is a fresh and radiant expression of Pinot Noir that pairs well with any dish.
Buy on DuckhornWineShop.com

2019 Migration Russian River Valley Chardonnay Running Creek Vineyard
Displaying the graceful energy that has become a trademark of Running Creek Vineyard, this lovely Chardonnay unfurls in supple layers of Fuji apple, Meyer lemon and delicate white flower notes.
Buy on DuckhornWineShop.com

2019 Canvasback Columbia Valley Riesling
The flavors of this white wine are bright and complex, with juicy citrus flavors and notes of candied ginger, fennel and mango all underscored by a beam of racy acidity that draws the wine to a crisp, dry finish.
Buy on DuckhornWineShop.com

Decoy Brut Cuvee Sparkling Wine
This enticing sparkling wine has a delicate sweetness that is perfectly balanced by bright acidity, which adds poise and energy to the lush, pure fruit flavors.
Buy on DuckhornWineShop.com

2018 Calera Mt. Harlan Viognier
The first sip of this wine is supple and viscous, and as it unfurls a current of bright acid emerges, framing the flavors and driving the wine to a tantalizing peaches and cream finish.
Buy on DuckhornWineShop.com

We hope you enjoy entertaining as much as your guests will enjoy their experience this holiday season. Cheers!

Time Posted: Nov 18, 2021 at 5:10 PM Permalink to How To: Set a Table Like a Pro Permalink
Kay Malaske - Trade Relations and Education Manager
 

What is Méthode Champenoise?

Duckhorn Portfolio Sparkling wine

All that glitters is not gold and all wines that sparkle did not attain their bubbles in the same way! Three of our Duckhorn Portfolio wineries (Goldeneye, Migration and Decoy) all make excellent sparkling wines. With that achievement in mind let’s take a moment to learn about the venerable method used to create these lovely bottlings.

All three of these wines sparkle because they were made following a labor-intensive process called the Méthode Champenoise. Méthode Champenoise translates roughly to “the Champagne Method.” Wines have been made following this method since the late 17th century. Very appropriate terminology when you consider this pathway was devised in Champagne, France. Once the process was established the methodology traveled from France to Spain and on to Italy. Eventually this process was adapted by wineries in the New World including here in California. In the most precise terms Champagne wines hail only from the Champagne Region of France. When bubbly wines come from outside Champagne, France we call them sparkling wines. There are three main grapes that have been the stars in these kind of wines for centuries: Pinot Nor, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. All the sparkling wines made by The Duckhorn Portfolio feature unique combinations of these three traditional grapes.

Whether it is called Champagne or sparkling wine, what is important is how the wine is made. It is universally agreed upon that the best Champagnes and sparkling wines in the world are made following the Méthode Champenoise. The key element to this process is a secondary fermentation in the bottle.

This secondary fermentation is accomplished by adding the liqueur de tirage to the still base wine. The liqueur de tirage is a liquid solution of yeast, wine and sugar that is added to the still base wine resulting in a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The extra heft you feel on sparkling wine bottles is due to the thickness of the glass. This extra heft is necessary to contain the trapped carbonation safely inside and to prevent the bottle from exploding.

Once this base wine is seeded with the liqueur de tirage it is then bottled and closed with a crown cap like a cap on a bottle of beer – not a cork. The yeast consumes the sugar causing a second fermentation in the bottle. The resulting carbon dioxide from this fermentation remains trapped in the bottle. Fun fact, the PSI (pound force per sq inch) in a bottle of sparkling wine is typically between 70 and 90 pounds per square inch. That is two to three times the pressure in your car's tires and why you should always open these bottles carefully.

Quality sparkling wines are aged in contact with their yeast cells for several months, even up to six years. At the end of this process the cap is removed along with the expired yeast cells in a step called disgorgement. A finishing wine called the dosage is added that enhances complexity and establishes the sweetness level for the finished wine. Finally, the crown cap is replaced with the traditional cork held securely in place with a wire cage.

There are cheaper less artistic ways to get fizz into a bottle of wine. The important thing to remember is that the secondary fermentation happens in the bottle in high quality sparkling wines. Only wineries that follow the practice describe here are legally able to use the phrase Méthode Champenoise or champagne method on their bottles. If you see the word “charmat” it means the secondary fermentation happened in a large tank, usually an indicator of a lesser quality wine.

Here’s to celebrating life on a daily basis with flutes lifted high! Cheers!

Time Posted: Oct 21, 2021 at 2:52 PM Permalink to What is Méthode Champenoise? Permalink
Katey Larwood
 
October 12, 2021 | Katey Larwood

The 2018 Vintage in Anderson Valley “The Goldilocks Vintage”

Grapes arriving

2018 in Anderson Valley was one of those years where everything just worked out. It was neither too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, or the crop neither too big nor too small. It was, for all intents and purposes, “just right.”

After a very rainy winter providing a bounty of water reserves, the season gave way to lush and healthy canopies with a well-balanced crop in our vineyards. From the wet spring, budbreak and bloom were delayed, and we sailed through frost season without any sleepless nights. The summer months were very temperate with no heat spikes, so the grapes matured at an even, steady pace. Once it came time to harvest our first Pinot Noir fruit, we were well into September, which harked to the good ol’ days of the official unofficial start of harvest in Anderson Valley on the Monday after the County Fair, always mid-month. This tradition had fizzled away in recent years in part from compounded years of drought inching our start dates further into August. Once we got going, Goldeneye had a steady flow of Pinot fruit until October 31st, our latest vintage in many years.

Interns punching down

There’s something about harvesting grapes when it’s near freezing every morning with your sticky, cold fingers sorting through clusters as you chat and laugh with your team, dancing to Cumbia as you try to keep warm. These are the fleeting moments that turn the mysteries of winemaking into a real, livable feeling. It’s the fermented grapes squeezing between your toes with sweat streaming down your face as you shovel out fruit destined to be pressed. It’s the pre-dawn walkaround, tasting each bin as you mentally picture where to put everything and surprise – you’ve got 2 extra tons of your favorite block! It’s walking into the winery where the smells hit you like a train - red currant, plum and cranberry, sweet confectionary spices and dried herbs. Meanwhile your sleepy interns are enthusiastically punching each tank down as you blast music through the speakers to wake everyone up. You see the beauty in the madness of hoses pumping wine, presses rotating and hissing, forklifts beeping, barrels being unstacked, filled, then restacked – it is organized chaos that keeps your heart pumping and your feet moving. And finally, it’s the quiet, twilight-filled winery when everyone has gone home, and I am left with just a glass and a pair of headphones as I taste through every tank and trace the various stages of each fermentation. These are the moments I wait for all year, and in 2018 those moments were filled with intense happiness and pride in my team.

Goldeneye Team

I cannot talk about the 2018 season without mentioning the incredible people that are the unsung heroes of every Goldeneye wine. Our vineyard management company, spearheaded by Paul Ardzrooni and Tony Sanchez, these guys in addition to the countless other pickers, tractor drivers, and foremen that deliver us in the wee hours of the morning the literal fruits of their labor. Our own vineyard team of Rob Sorenson and Orlando Espinoza, who’s dedication is most seen in their sleepless, reddened eyes as they patiently wait for you to schedule the next day’s fruit. And of course, the Goldeneye cellar crew, fearlessly led by Pancho Ibarra, Goldeneye’s first and only cellar master of 25-years. His focus, dedication, adeptness, and humor are what keep the machine oiled and moving. Alongside Pancho is Jose Luis Mendoza, who’s laugh is infectious and eager-beaver attitude gets everyone moving, and Remy Martin, who’s energy has kept everyone lifted and hyped every day. Our three interns who’s love for winemaking inspired all of us every day, Sam Buckingham, Tomas Vietti, and Miriam Olivera. We have since added a few new team members who worked tirelessly to help finish the 2018 wines - Kristen McMahan, our wonderful Assistant Winemaker, who has an eye and taste for making truly great wines, and Julian Vasquez, our newest cellar crew member.

These people were and are 2018 Goldeneye and from one of the best season’s in recent memory - the Goldilocks Vintage - we can finally share these special wines with you all and truly hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them.

Time Posted: Oct 12, 2021 at 2:22 PM Permalink to The 2018 Vintage in Anderson Valley “The Goldilocks Vintage” Permalink
Julissa Munoz - Marketing Coordinator
 

The Dog Days of Summer

Cardiff with his dog Lando in the vineyard

The dog days of summer are here, and we are excited to be accompanied by our four-legged friends for one of our favorite seasons. We sat down with our Paraduxx Winemaker, Cardiff Scott-Robinson, who embraces days in the vineyard with his pup, Lando, every day of the year.

Lando, Cardiff’s 12-year-old Border Collie-Shepherd Mix, can be found roaming the vineyards at our Paraduxx Visitor Center, greeting and enjoying the company of our guests almost any day of the week.

We asked Cardiff what he felt makes Lando so unique, aside from the fact that he is named after a Star Wars character, Cardiff replied that it is Lando’s spunky personality! He can run through the vineyards, or kick back with his family, arm over the couch and just hang out like a human would. The way he switches from work mode to family mode is unmatched.

Cardiff explained to us that the vineyards were not the only paths traveled for Lando. The adventure-packed duo has a history of visiting the backcountry, where they frequently rock climb and hike.

One of Cardiff’s favorite memories with Lando is rock climbing through the Buttermilks in Bishop, California. “Seeing him run side to side and from group to group was great. He was in his happy place. He would even try to rock climb all by himself!”

The California backcountry is the duo’s favorite place. With endless amounts of hiking trails, smells and adventures, the two have created countless memories there. Lando even carries around his own backpack with his favorite treats!

Because Lando is slowing down, their adventures are not so daring anymore. Getting out and into the vineyards early and letting Lando run free, and family cruises where he trots alongside of his favorite 6-year-old human sister are what they can be found doing these days.

If you happen to visit our Paraduxx property and see Lando roaming around, stop by and say hello!

Time Posted: Jul 29, 2021 at 8:26 AM Permalink to The Dog Days of Summer Permalink
Anna Gsell - Marketing Intern
 

What is Rosé?

Duckhorn Portfolio Rose's

Introduction:

Many of us know of it as summer water! But Rosé isn’t just for summer; it is perfect all year long! The drink pink movement is here to stay and here at Duckhorn Portfolio we craft an array of Rosé Wines using different varieties which results in a range of delicious wines. Let’s dive into the concept of what is Rosé Wine and why we should all be drinking it!

Winemaking Methods:

  • Maceration method:
    This is when the red wine fruit in sitting in contact with the skins, seeds and stems to extract color and flavor in the juice. This is highly popular in locations like Provence, France. Provence is a highly regarded wine region that produces a benchmark style and in fact 88% of Provence wine production is dedicated to Rosé.
  • Saignee or “bled” method :
    This method is when only some of the juice is “bled off” and placed into a new vat during the first couple hours of making red wine. The purpose of this is to concentrate the red wines’ intensity. This is common in the Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley because of the specialization of producing fine red wines there.
  • Blending method:
    This method requires simply blending red and white wines together to create pink Rosé. This is incredibly uncommon in still Rosé wines production.

Flavor Profiles:

Rosé is fun in that it ranges in style and flavor profiles depending on the grapes used and the winemaking method. Our Rosé Wines are crafted in either the maceration method or the Saignee Method aiming for a bright, crisp and refreshing expression of Rosé.

Check out each of our Rosé wines tasting notes to get an idea of their flavor profiles:

  1. Goldeneye Anderson Valley Vin Gris of Pinot Noir:
    This Vin Gris is crafted with 100% Pinot Noir. It is fun and ebullient with its candied strawberry, pink grapefruit zest, guava, and bubble gum flavors. A light salmon hue also joins this array of fruit.
  2. Calera Central Coast Vin Gris of Pinot Noir:
    Cranberry and wild strawberry mingle with grapefruit and kumquat as the juice sits on 100% Pinot Noir to extract these gorgeous flavors. A juicy finish of smooth mango and marmalade round out the palate.
  3. Migration Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir:
    This wine captures the Sonoma Coast in a glass! Hints of jasmine, candied orange peel, white peach, and strawberry create the perfect sipper for a hot summer afternoon. This wine is also 100% Pinot Noir.
  4. Decoy California Rosé:
    This wine presents bright fruity flavors like pink grapefruit and strawberries. Tropical fruits like honeydew melon and guava liven up this Rosé. And subtle notes of minerals and spice bring this to a crisp finish. Our Decoy Rosé is a blend of Syrah, Vermentino, Carignan and Grenache.
  5. Paraduxx Napa Valley Rosé:
    Our Paraduxx Napa Valley Rosé is inspired by Provance, France and is a blend of Syrah and Grenache. This wine opens with enticing citrus notes of orange and lemon zest along with strawberry and apples flavors. Dynamic and dry, there is a lovely acidity making this a refreshingly crisp and elegant wine.
  6. Canvasback Walla Walla Valley Rosé:
    This Rosé is 100% Syrah from the high-elevation site of Resurgent Vineyard, along south fork of the Walla Walla River. On the nose, hints of peach, honeydew melon, cantaloupe and elderflower burst from the glass. And on the palate, a silky acidity reveals red fruit flavors as well as grapefruit, apricot and wet stones. This wine will awaken your palate and it perfect for a peaceful weekend in the backyard!

Join us in uncorking a splash of summer water all year long! And let us know which your favorite Rosé Wine is.

Time Posted: May 11, 2021 at 3:19 PM Permalink to What is Rosé? Permalink
Alex Gerberick - Sr. Marketing Coordinator
 

Out & About in Napa Valley

Corktree Vineyard and Hot Air Balloons at Sunrise

Sheltered between the Mayacamas Mountains and Vaca Range, the Napa Valley is an agricultural preserve with over 53,000 acres of ready to explore open space. While you may come for the wine, it’s hard to not be captivated by the beauty that is wine country, and the fertile land which makes it all possible. These are three great ways to get outside and experience the beauty that is the Napa Valley.

By Foot

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or up for a stroll, there are miles upon miles of trails perfect for any level. 

Close to our Migration Visitor Center is The Stanly Ranch Area Public Trailhead. This paved path meanders 1.5 miles out and back through Carneros, with breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards. During the spring, bright yellow mustard flowers will pop up between the rows of vines, soon to be followed by bright green vineyard leaves, and of course, plentiful clusters of plump grapes come fall. This is a fantastic spot to visit any time of the growing season, as it gives you an up close look at the cycle in the vineyard.

Skyline Regional Park is a favorite of locals. Located in Coombsville, this park features some more strenuous hikes, giving you breathtaking views. On a clear day, you can see the San Francisco skyline from atop the Buckeye Trail. This park does require a $5 entrance fee. For trailhead specifics, visit SkylinePark.org

By Bike

There are a number of places to rent bicycles in Napa Valley; both in Yountville and Napa proper, as well as Calistoga, making traveling by bike not only a fun but easy way to explore wine country. It is not uncommon to see a group of weekend cyclists take a pit stop at our Paraduxx winery just outside of Yountville. Many rental locations offer both traditional bikes as well as e-bikes, giving you a bit more range for a little less work! 

There is currently a 12.5 mile paved path, The Napa Valley Vine Trail, stretching from Napa’s Kennedy Park north to Calistoga, which gives you great vineyard views, and a look at the famous Napa Valley welcome sign. 

This trail will eventually span 47 miles, connecting the Vallejo Ferry up to Calistoga, and will be lined with hundreds of trees to provide shade! Learn more about this ambitious project, at VineTrail.org.

Hot Air Balloon

Traveling by hot air balloon is such a unique experience, and a real treat for the adventurous! These excursions typically start in the wee hours of the morning, but are well worth it, as you get a bird’s eye view of daybreak across the valley. Flights launch from various points, including Yountville, and last 3-4 hours. Reservations are required, and flights are weather dependent, so this activity is best if you are flexible in your itinerary.

Pairs Well on the Go

Assorted Mixed Nuts

While you’re out finding must do’s in Napa it’s normal to work up an appetite. This simple Seasoned Mixed Nuts recipe  is the perfect option for when you’re on the go. Not to mention, they go great with wine too!

No matter how you choose to visit Napa Valley, we know you will have a wonderful time taking in the sights and sounds of one of the most exquisite wine regions in the world.

Time Posted: Apr 21, 2021 at 10:49 PM Permalink to Out & About in Napa Valley Permalink
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