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Kevin & Barbara Brown
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East Bay

R&B Cellars

Hours:

Wednesday - Sunday

12:00 pm - 6.00 pm

2301 Monarch Street
Alameda, CA 95401
United States

(510) 749-8477

www.rbcellars.com

R&B Cellars is Alameda’s largest family-owned winery. It is part of the burgeoning East Bay urban wine scene and is a member of the illustrious East Bay Vintners Alliance, a group of 22 outstanding urban wineries in the East Bay. R&B’s core mission has been to create high quality wines that deliver tremendous value to the consumer. Since 1997, winemaker Kevin Brown has taken a detail-oriented and labor-intensive approach to crafting the highest quality wines. Each of the winery’s varietals, having earned 90+ point scores and numerous accolades across the country, has helped to set R&B Cellars apart from the traditional players in the marketplace.

Award Winning Wines:

R&B Cellars originally started in 1997 as a side project for Kevin. His goal was to create some of California’s finest Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, producing only 230 cases that first year. The first vintage, the 1997 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, was critically acclaimed, winning the Vinalies D’Argent in Paris in the year 2000. Fast forward 10 years and the Napa Valley Reserve Cabernets are consistently winning Double Gold Medals from major international wine competitions. The legacy of R&B’s Napa Valley Cabernets continue! We think our best is yet to come!

High-Quality Wines That Are Value Oriented:

Today, R&B Cellars has expanded to include many new varietals. Seeing a need in the marketplace for high quality wines that are value-oriented, R&B Cellars is now also known for producing finely crafted, beautifully balanced wines, several of them under $15, and all of them garnering great critical acclaim, awards and accolades. We now produce 12,000 cases annually. We are twelve wines strong across ten varietals.

 

Kevin & Barbara Brown

Kevin and Barbara Brown, the owners and winemakers, believe that wine & jazz is an ideal pairing. They both are jazz musicians, performing at winery events, winemaker dinners and wine tastings across the country. Their passion for jazz is evident by the beautiful musical wine labels and the fun, jazzy names. It is a natural blending of passions: music making and creating fantastic wines. Their motto: Wine That Swings! And so it does.

 

 

2010 Swingsville Zinfandel

~Florida State Fair Int'l Wine Comp. - Gold Medal Award

~Int'l Women's Wine Competition - Silver Medal Award

~San Francisco Chronicle Wine Comp. - Silver Medal Award

~Winemakers Challenge Int'l Wine Comp. - Silver Medal Award

2010 Serenade in Blanc Sauvignon Blanc

~Beverage Testing Institute - Silver Medal Award - 88 points

2007 Serenade in Blanc Sauvignon Blanc

~FL State Fair Wine Comp - DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL

CA State Fair - Best of the North Coast Region,

Best of Class - Gold Medal Award


"One of the top 11 White Wines in California!"

~BTI World Wine Championships - Gold Medal Award

~San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition - 
Gold Medal

~Orange County Int'l Wine Competition - Gold Medal

~Denver Int'l Wine Comp. - Top Honors Gold Medal

~Dallas Morning News Wine Competition - 
Gold Medal

~AlaWines.com - 
"Super Award Winning Wine!" 92 Points

~Just Wines Points - 94 Points

The Improviser (Red Blend)

~Florida State Fair Int'l Wine Comp. - Silver Medal Award

2009 Zydeco Zinfandel

~San Francisco Chronicle Wine Comp. - Silver Medal Award

~Winemakers Challenge Int'l Wine Comp. - Silver Medal Award

~Florida State Fair Int'l Wine Comp. - Silver Medal Award

2009 Minuet in Merlot Merlot

~San Francisco Chronicle Wine Comp. - Silver Medal Award

~San Antonio Int'l Wine Competition - Siler Medal Award

~Florida State Fair Int'l Wine Comp. - Silver Medal Award

2009 Saxy Syrah

~Winemakers Challenge Int'l Wine Comp. - Platinum Medal

~San Francisco Chronicle Wine Comp. - Silver Medal Award

~LA International Wine Competition - Silver Medal Award

2009 Pizzicato Petite Sirah

~Winemakers Challenge Int'l Wine Comp. - Gold Medal Award

~Florida State Fair Int'l Wine Comp. - Gold Medal Award

~San Antonio Int'l Wine Competition - Silver Medal Award

2008 Pizzicato Petite Sirah

~2011 SF Chronicle Wine Comp - DOUBLE GOLD Medal 

~Beverage Testing Institute 2011 - 
Gold Medal Award , 92 Points "Exceptional" "Elegant, polished and stylish....."

~BevX - 4 Stars - "Exceptional" Click for great review!

~Consumer Wine Awards at Lodi - Gold Medal Award~Winemaker Challenge Int'l Wine Comp. - Silver Medal~Tasters Guild Int'l Wine Competition - Gold Medal Award~Los Angeles Int'l Wine Competition - Gold Medal Award - 93 Points

2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - "Lyric of the Vine"

~Tasters Guild Int'l Consumer Comp. - Gold Medal Award

~San Francisco Chronicle Wine Comp. - Gold Medal Award

~Winemakers Challenge Int'l Wine Comp. - Silver Medal Award

~Florida State Fair Int'l Wine Comp. - Silver Medal Award

2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - "Lyric of the Vine"

2012 Taste TV's People's Choice Award

~2011 SF Chronicle Wine Competition - Gold Medal Award

~Tasters Guild Int'l Wine Competition - Gold Medal Award

~Critics Challenge Int'l Wine Comp. - Critics Gold Medal

~Florida State Fair Int'l Wine Comp. - Gold Medal Award

~Consumer Wine Awards at Lodi - Silver Medal Award

~Winemaker Challenge Int'l Wine Comp. - Silver Medal

~SF International Wine Competition - Silver Medal

~Los Angeles Int'l Wine Competition - Silver Medal Award

Fortissimo "Port" Dessert Wine

~Tasters Guild Int'l Wine Comp. - Gold Medal Award 

~Critics Challenge Int'l Wine Comp. - 
Critics Gold Medal Award

~California State Fair Wine Competition - Gold Medal Award "Best in Class"

~2011 SF Chronicle Wine Comp. - 
Silver Medal Award

~Los Angeles Int'l Wine Comp. - Silver Medal Award

~San Francisco Int'l Wine Competition - Gold Medal Award

 

Gallery

R&B Cellars R&B Cellars R&B Cellars

Wines

 

2007 R&B Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

 

Bingham Ranch ~ The Bingham Ranch in Calistoga is one of the oldest cabernet vineyards in the Napa Valley, dating back to 1850s. There are three parcels of vines used in our cabernet, one is 55 years old another is 35 years old and the third is 17 years old. It is a small berry clone with very low yields, approximately one and a half tons per acre. The resulting fruit is very intensely flavored with a rich dark blackberry profile that makes intensely structured cabernet sauvignon.

Cellar Practices and Winemaking: 

Perfectly ripe grapes were harvested in late October early November 2005. They were crushed into a stainless tank and cold soaked at 50F for 5 days. The temperature was increased to 70F, and cultured yeast fermentation started and lasted thirty days at a peak temperature of 90F. The grapes were gently pressed and the resulting wine racked into barrels, which were 100% new French oak 60 gallon barrels from ten different French coopers: Vicard, Seguin Moreau, St. Martin, Billon, Trieul, Ermitage, Boutes, Jarnac, Bel Air and Chalufour. The Cabernet was blended in the classical way with small amounts of Merlot from the same vineyard. The wine was aged for 36 months in oak and given an additional 12 months of bottle age prior to release.

Winemaker's Comments: 

This 2007 R&B Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is an extraordinary wine with remarkable depth and complexity. It exhibits a huge core of dark black cherry fruit with elements of dark black currant, tea, blackberry and violets in the bouquet. The small addition of Cabernet Franc enhances the structure, the color and adds a touch of sweet cherries. The flavors of dark black berry, currants, chocolate, and cassis are evident, with a huge juicy blackberry finish. This wine is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon with all of the exotic spice and layers of fruit you would expect from a Reserve wine.

 

 

2006 R&B Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

 

Bingham Ranch ~ The Bingham Ranch in Calistoga is one of the oldest cabernet vineyards in the Napa Valley, dating back to 1850s. There are three parcels of vines used in our cabernet, one is 55 years old, another is 35 years old and the third is 17 years old. It is a small berry clone with very low yields, approximately one and a half tons per acre. The resulting fruit is very intensely flavored with a rich dark blackberry profile that makes intensely structured cabernet sauvignon.

Cellar Practices and Winemaking: 

Perfectly ripe grapes were harvested in late October, 2006. They were crushed into a stainless tank and cold soaked at 50F for 5 days. The temperature was increased to 70F, and cultured yeast fermentation started, which lasted thirty days at a peak temperature of 90F. The grapes were gently pressed; the resulting wine was racked into 100% new French oak (60 gallon) barrels, from ten different French coopers: Vicard, Seguin Moreau, St. Martin, Billon, Trieul, Ermitage, Boutes, Jarnac, Bel Air and Chalufour. The Cabernet was blended in the classical way with small amounts of Merlot added, also from Bingham Ranch. The wine was aged for 28 months in oak and given an additional 18 months of bottle age prior to release.

Winemaker's Comments: 

This 2006 R&B Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon continues our cabernet legacy. It is an extraordinary wine with remarkable depth and complexity, exhibiting a huge core of dark black cherry fruit with elements of dark black currant, tea, blackberry and violets in the bouquet. The small addition of Merlot adds to the mouth and bouquet complexity, twith hints of sweet cherries. The flavors of dark black berry, currants, chocolate, and cassis are evident, with a huge juicy blackberry finish. This wine is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon with all of the exotic spice and layers of fruit you would expect from a Reserve wine.

 

 

2005 R&B Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

 

Bingham Ranch ~ The Bingham Ranch in Calistoga is one of the oldest cabernet vineyards in the Napa Valley, dating back to 1850s. There are three parcels of vines used in our cabernet, one is 55 years old another is 35 years old and the third is 17 years old. It is a small berry clone with very low yields, approximately one and a half tons per acre. The resulting fruit is very intensely flavored with a rich dark blackberry profile that makes intensely structured cabernet sauvignon.

Cellar Practices and Winemaking: 

Perfectly ripe grapes were harvested in late October early November 2005. They were crushed into a stainless tank and cold soaked at 50F for 5 days. The temperature was increased to 70F, and cultured yeast fermentation started and lasted thirty days at a peak temperature of 90F. The grapes were gently pressed and the resulting wine racked into barrels, which were 100% new French oak 60 gallon barrels from ten different French coopers: Vicard, Seguin Moreau, St. Martin, Billon, Trieul, Ermitage, Boutes, Jarnac, Bel Air and Chalufour. The Cabernet was blended in the classical way with small amounts of Cabernet Franc added from an El Dorado vineyard. The wine was aged for 28 months in oak and given an additional 18 months of bottle age prior to release.

Winemaker's Comments: 

This 2005 R&B Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is an extraordinary wine with remarkable depth and complexity. It exhibits a huge core of dark black cherry fruit with elements of dark black currant, tea, blackberry and violets in the bouquet. The small addition of Cabernet Franc enhances the structure, the color and adds a touch of sweet cherries. The flavors of dark black berry, currants, chocolate, and cassis are evident, with a huge juicy blackberry finish. This wine is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon with all of the exotic spice and layers of fruit you would expect from a Reserve wine.

 

2009 R&B Cellars Napa Valley Minuet in Merlot

 

Vineyards:

Bingham Ranch is one of the oldest vineyards in the Napa Valley. It has been in the same family since the mid 1800's, homesteading times, and was planted with vineyards in the 1950's. The merlot was planted in the 1980's, and is on the northern edge of the ranch. It is a small berry clone that benefits from extended hang time for optimal ripeness.

The Wine:

Harvested in late October, the merlot from Bingham ranch was perfect. The fruit was hand sorted, and then crushed and de-stemmed into half ton macro bins. A three-day cold soak was done before fermentation. Hand punched down twice a day during fermentation and then gently pressed off and put into 100% French oak barrels. The wine was racked four times while aging in barrels, and then lightly filtered for bottling.

Winemaker's Comments:

Typical of a Napa merlot, the Bingham Ranch merlot is dark, rich, and intense. Blackberries and dark black cherries are the predominant fruits in this rich, extracted, and beautifully balanced wine. The French oak is the perfect compliment to the fruit, adding hints of chocolate and toasty vanilla tones in the finish. The wine starts with an initial explosion of black fruit, and then opens layer upon layer of rich fruit and spice, to a long and mouth filling finish.

 

2010 R&B Cellars Swingsville Zinfandel

 

Vineyards:

We have found over the years that oftentimes the best blend of a certain varietal will be better with a mix of vineyards within a region, and also that blending in a small amount of a complementary varietal can add significantly to the complexity of the final wine. This superb wine is a combination of Zinfandel from an exceptional vineyard in Contra Costa and a small percentage of Barbera (from the same vineyard), and an even smaller percentage of Petite Sirah from Napa Valley, which added considerable richness to the overall wine.

The Wine:

In order to create a rich and velvety yet fruity wine, we took Zinfandel from Rogers Vineyard showing bright berry and sweet jammy fruit character with superb structure. Barbera from Rogers Vineyard and Petite Sirah from Bingham Ranch, Napa Valley, was added in to the final blend for additional richness and intensity of fruit. The oak program, a combination of new French and American Oak, was limited so that the wine would be well balanced and supple. The wine was cross flow filtered, which also contributed to leveling out the tannins and making the wine eminently drinkable upon release.

Winemaker's Comments:

The wonderful fresh berry fruit from Rogers Vineyard combines with the smooth French and American oak flavors to achieve a super harmony in the bouquet and taste. The Rogers Zinfandel and Barbera, and the Napa Valley Petite Sirah combine to create a zesty complexity, a deep gorgeous color complexity and a soft mouthfeel. The Petite Sirah enhances the structure and color of the wine and punches up the darker berry fruit character in the wine. The bouquet shows fresh strawberry and raspberry with hints of pepper and spice. The flavors are ripe berry with creamy cherries and an elegant spicy aftertaste. This is the third vintage from this vineyard and we think it is our best to date. We extended the oak program for an additional three months to add greater complexity and structure to the wine.

 

 

2007 R&B Cellars Swingsville Zinfandel

 

Vineyards:

We have found over the years that oftentimes the best blend of a certain varietal will be better with a mix of vineyards within a region, and also that blending in a small amount of a complementary varietal can add significantly to the complexity of the final wine. This superb wine is a combination of Zinfandel from an exceptional vineyard in Lodi and a small percentage of Petite Sirah, which added considerable richness to the overall wine.

The Wine:

In order to create a rich and velvety yet fruity wine, we took Zinfandel from the LDL Vineyard, which is a classic old vine vineyard with 70 year old vines. The fruit shows bright berry but still has that sweet jammy fruit character and great structure. Petite Sirah from the LDL Vineyard was added in to the final blend for additional richness and intensity of fruit. The oak program, a combination of new French and American Oak, was limited so that the wine would be well balanced and supple. The wine was cross flow filtered, which also contributed to leveling out the tannins and making the wine eminently drinkable upon release.

Winemaker's Comments:

The wonderful fresh berry fruit from the LDL Vineyard combines with the smooth French and American oak flavors to achieve a super harmony in the bouquet and taste. The LDL Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel has a zesty complexity, color complexity and soft mouthfeel. The Petite Sirah enhances the structure and color of the wine and punches up the darker berry fruit character in the wine. The bouquet shows fresh strawberry and raspberry with hints of pepper and spice. The flavors are ripe berry with creamy cherries and an elegant spicy aftertaste. This is the third vintage from this vineyard and we think it is our best to date. We extended the oak program for an additional three months to add greater complexity and structure to the wine.

 

2009 R&B Cellars Zydeco Zinfandel

 

Vineyards:

Bingham Ranch is one of the oldest vineyards in the Napa Valley. It has been in the same family since the mid 1800's, homesteading times, and was planted with vineyards in the 1950's. The zinfandel was planted in the 1980's, and is on the northern edge of the ranch. It is a small berry clone that benefits from extended hang time for optimal ripeness.

The Wine:

Harvested in late October, the zinfandel from Bingham ranch was perfect. Fruit was hand sorted, and then crushed and de-stemmed into three-quarter ton macro bins. A three-day cold soak was done before fermentation. Hand punched down twice a day during fermentation and then gently pressed off and put into 100% French oak barrels. The wine was racked four times while aging in barrels, and then lightly filtered for bottling.

Winemaker's Comments:

Typical of a Napa zinfandel, the Bingham Ranch zinfandel is dark, rich, and intense. Blackberries and dark black cherries are the predominant fruits in this rich, extracted wine. The French oak is the perfect compliment to the fruit, adding hints of chocolate and toasty vanilla tones in the finish. The wine starts with an initial explosion of black fruit, and then opens layer upon layer of rich fruit and spice, to a long and mouth filling finish.

 

 

2008 R&B Cellars Zydeco Zinfandel

 

Vineyards:

Bingham Ranch is one of the oldest vineyards in the Napa Valley. It has been in the same family since the mid 1800's, homesteading times, and was planted with vineyards in the 1950's. The zinfandel was planted in the 1980's, and is on the northern edge of the ranch. It is a small berry clone that benefits from extended hang time for optimal ripeness.

The Wine:

Harvested in late October, the zinfandel from Bingham ranch was perfect. Fruit was hand sorted, and then crushed and de-stemmed into three-quarter ton macro bins. A three-day cold soak was done before fermentation. Hand punched down twice a day during fermentation and then gently pressed off and put into 100% French oak barrels. The wine was racked four times while aging in barrels, and then lightly filtered for bottling.

Winemaker's Comments:

Typical of a Napa zinfandel, the Bingham Ranch zinfandel is dark, rich, and intense. Blackberries and dark black cherries are the predominant fruits in this rich, extracted wine. The French oak is the perfect compliment to the fruit, adding hints of chocolate and toasty vanilla tones in the finish. The wine starts with an initial explosion of black fruit, and then opens layer upon layer of rich fruit and spice, to a long and mouth filling finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2009 R&B Cellars Pizzicato Petite Sirah

 

Vineyards:

Bingham Ranch is one of the oldest vineyards in the Napa Valley. It has been in the same family since the mid 1800's, homesteading times, and was planted with vineyards in the 1950's. The Petite Sirah was planted in the 1980's, and is on the northern edge of the ranch. It is a small berry clone that benefits from extended hang time for optimal ripeness.

The Wine:

Harvested in mid October, the Petite Sirah from Bingham ranch was perfect. Fruit was hand sorted, and then crushed and de-stemmed into half ton macro bins. A three-day cold soak was done before fermentation. Hand punched down twice a day during fermentation and then gently pressed off and put into 100% French oak barrels. The wine was racked four times while aging in barrels, and then lightly filtered for bottling. 3% 2009 Zinfandel was added in the final blend to soften the edges.

Winemaker's Comments:

This Petite Sirah is dark, powerfully flavored, and intense. An explosion of flavors with hints of blueberry, black currant, and dark plum tones that match beautifully with the French oak notes of chocolate and exotic spice. As the name Pizzicato denotes, this wine has lots of "pluck" so you better be ready for some serious wine. In matching with food, big flavors only need apply!

 

 

2008 R&B Cellars Pizzicato Petite Sirah

 

Vineyards:

Bingham Ranch is one of the oldest vineyards in the Napa Valley. It has been in the same family since the mid 1800's, homesteading times, and was planted with vineyards in the 1950's. The Petite Sirah was planted in the 1980's, and is on the northern edge of the ranch. It is a small berry clone that benefits from extended hang time for optimal ripeness.

The Wine:

Harvested in late October, the Petite Sirah from Bingham ranch was perfect. Fruit was hand sorted, and then crushed and de-stemmed into half ton macro bins. A five-day cold soak was done before fermentation. Hand punched down twice a day during fermentation and then gently pressed off and put into 100% French oak barrels. The wine was racked four times while aging in barrels, and then lightly filtered for bottling.

Winemaker's Comments:

This Petite Sirah is dark, powerfully flavored, and intense. An explosion of flavors with hints of blueberry, black currant, and dark plum tones that match beautifully with the French oak notes of chocolate and exotic spice. As the name Pizzicato denotes, this wine has lots of "pluck" so you better be ready for some serious wine. In matching with food, big flavors only need apply!

 

 

 

2009 R&B Cellars North Coast Saxy Syrah

 

Vineyards:

We have found over the years that oftentimes the best blend of a certain varietal will be better with a mix of regions, and also that blending can add significantly to the complexity of the final wine. This superb wine is a combination of three excellent regions of California, each bringing its own distinct characteristic to the blend.

The Wine:

In order to create a wine with richness and complexity yet still fruit driven and varietally accurate, we blended 2009 North Coast Syrah with 2009 Sonoma Syrah, and just a touch of 2010 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc. The combination of these three areas yielded a wine with exceptional varietal character and flavor. The oak program on the three wines was very different; the North Coast Syrahs receiving modest oak ageing, the Sauvignon Blanc no oak ageing at all. The wine was cross flow filtered to help level out the tannins and making the wine eminently drinkable upon release.

Winemaker's Comments:

The vibrant fresh blackberry fruit from the Mendocino fruit combine with the dark, spicy components of the Lake County fruit, complimenting each other and setting up a rich massive fruit platform which we softened ever so slightly by the addition of Sauvignon Blanc. While adding a small percentage of white wine, usually Viognier, is a common French practice to soften the mouth feel and make the wine a little more approachable upon release, we have chosen a slight twist by adding some of our Sauvginon Blanc instead. The resulting wine is complex, intense, and a blockbuster of blackberry fruit and blueberries, with exotic spice and the subtle tarry components one expects of a great Syrah. The moderate oak program in the Napa preserves the vibrant fruit and a softer mouth feel. The bouquet shows layer upon layer of dark berry fruit with hints of pepper and spice laced throughout. The flavors are dark blackberry and currant with hints of smoke and tar ending in a smooth silky finish. The color is intense, to say the least. If your pen runs out of ink, use the wine!

 

The Improviser - Red Table Wine

The Improviser is the result of my passions and stimulus of the moment: the creation of a delicious blend whilst tasting and experimenting with several different wines. A blend of Zinfandel, Mourvedre, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, and Merlot, this wine is like a great swing tune. You start listening and all of a sudden you find your feet tappping in time with the music, but in this case, it is your taste buds! So, pour a glass and let your taste buds start tapping with joy as you savor the flavors. It is hip, happening and definitely "in the pocket!"

 

2010 North Coast Serenade in Blanc Sauvignon Blanc
‚ÄčVineyards:

We have found over the years that oftentimes the best blend of a certain varietal will be better with a mix of regions, and also that blending can add significantly to the complexity of the final wine. This superb wine is a combination of Sauvignon Blanc from two excellent regions of California, each bringing its own distinct characteristic to the blend.

Cellar Practices and Winemaking:

In order to create a wine with richness and complexity yet still fruit driven and varietally accurate, we blended 2010 Lake County Sauvignon Blanc that was fermented in stainless steel with 2010 Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc that was barrel fermented. The combination of these two areas yielded a wine with exceptional varietal character and flavor. The oak program on the two wines was very different. The Lake County Sauvignon Blanc was completely tank fermented to maintain crisp citrus tones. The Mendocino lot received 80% neutral oak to add structure, complexity and creaminess. The wine was gently cross flow filtered, making the wine eminently drinkable upon release.

Winemaker's Comments:

The vibrant, crisp Ruby Grapefruit from the Lake County combines with the exotic citrus tones of Mandarin and Blood Oranges from the Mendocino fruit. The resulting wine is complex yet elegant. The marriage of flavors is like a tropical fruit tart with good acidity and fleshy citrus flavors all over a layer of "creme patissiere." The combination of vineyards and appellations also brings out a wonderful mineral character typical of Sancerre from France. The combination of the tank fermented wine with the barrel fermented wine maintains a great balance in both the nose and mouth between the crisp, exotic tropical citrus fruit and the creamy character of the barrel fermented wines. This is my favorite style of Sauvignon Blanc. You can sip it by itself or match it with a myriad of lighter fare.

 

 

2007 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc Serenade in Blanc

 

Vineyards:

We have found over the years that oftentimes the best blend of a certain varietal will be better with a mix of regions, and also that blending can add significantly to the complexity of the final wine. This superb wine is a combination of Sauvignon Blanc from two excellent regions of California, each bringing its own distinct characteristic to the blend.

Cellar Practices and Winemaking:

In order to create a wine with richness and complexity yet still fruit driven and varietally accurate, we blended 2007 Lake County Sauvignon Blanc that was fermented in stainless steel with 2007 Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc that was barrel fermented. The combination of these two areas yielded a wine with exceptional varietal character and flavor. The oak program on the two wines was very different. The Lake County Sauvignon Blanc was completely tank fermented to maintain crisp citrus tones. The Mendocino lot received 80% neutral oak to add structure, complexity and creaminess. The wine was gently cross flow filtered, making the wine eminently drinkable upon release.

Winemaker's Comments:

The vibrant, crisp Ruby Grapefruit from the Lake County combines with the exotic citrus tones of Mandarin and Blood Oranges from the Mendocino fruit. The resulting wine is complex yet elegant. The marriage of flavors is like a tropical fruit tart with good acidity and fleshy citrus flavors all over a layer of "creme patissiere." The combination of vineyards and appellations also brings out a wonderful mineral character typical of Sancerre from France. The combination of the tank fermented wine with the barrel fermented wine maintains a great balance in both the nose and mouth between the crisp, exotic tropical citrus fruit and the creamy character of the barrel fermented wines. This is my favorite style of Sauvignon Blanc. You can sip it by itself or match it with a myriad of lighter fare.

 

 

R&B Cellars Fortissimo "Port" Desert Wine

 

To get the best fruit, you go where the right climate and soils are. For our Fortissimo "Port" Dessert Wine, that meant going to Madera, CA and the venerable vineyards of the Ficklin family. The vineyard is 65 years old and was planted in December of 1945. The climate of the Central Valley very closely mimics the growing condition in Portugal's Duoro Valley, the cradle of great ports.

The Wine

The fruit was harvested in late September, hand sorted and then crushed and fermented. When the residual sugar dropped to about 10%, un-aged high proof brandy was added to arrest fermentation. The brandy is 170 proof and thus increases the alcohol from 13.5% to 18.9%. The sweetness from the residual sugar masks any alcohol and the two provied balance and depth to each other.

Winemaker's Comments

This "port" is made from traditional Portuguese grapes and in the traditional Portuguese manner. The age of the vineyard shows in the richly developed and flavorful fruit. This wine shows a lush array of plum, cherry, tobacco, and leather. The richness is mouth filling and the finish shows hints of hazelnuts and dark chocolate and goes on forever. To be enjoyed alone, with a fine cigar or for a lighter dessert treat, drizzle some over a good vanilla ice cream. Ice cream never tasted so good!