March 1, 2013
This past Saturday, the Napa Valley Vintners’ annual Premiere Napa Valley wine futures auction brought in $3.04 million in just over three hours of high-octane bidding on 211 one-of-a-kind wines. Nearly matching 2012’s record of $3.1 million, this year’s event brought the annual association fundraiser over the $3 million milestone for only the second time since its inception.
Blackbird Vineyards’ singular lot, a 2011 vintage blend of 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, ranked in the top 15% for five-case lots auctioned. The barrel lot garnered a winning bid of $18,000 from Mark Davidowski of Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas, CA. At $300 per bottle, the 2011 Blackbird Vineyards vintage blend sold for almost twice the event average bottle price of $160.75. Meritage Wine Market was one of the top bidding accounts in the auction.
“Premiere’s auction success shows a positive trend in investing in premium Napa Valley wines,” says Blackbird Vineyards’ Founder, Michael Polenske. “We are honored that the results of our lot put us as one of the top merlot/cabernet franc based wines this year and allowed us to be an integral part of the Napa Valley Vintners’ efforts for our seventh consecutive year.”
The vintner events leading up to Saturday’s auction were considered “must attend” tasting opportunities for influential trade, such as retailers, restaurateurs, distributors, and media. Blackbird Vineyards kicked off Premiere week with an open house reception at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley on Thursday afternoon, featuring wines from Blackbird Vineyards, as well as the following vintner partners: Captûre Wines, Coup de Foudre, Fisher Vineyards, Lail Vineyards, Pott Wines, Renteria Wines, Skipstone Ranch and TOR Kenward Family Wines.
The previous day, Winemaker Aaron Pott participated as a panelist in Napa Valley Vintners’ “The Role of the Consultant” Tasting and Panel Discussion which featured the 2010 Blackbird Vineyards Paramour Proprietary Red Wine and educated 20 top trade and media from the UK, Canada and Hong Kong visiting for the “Experience Napa Valley” program.
Read the official press release.
Acquire Blackbird Vineyards‘ wines at Buy, Buy Blackbird.
Blackbird Vineyards is part of Bespoke Collection – a portfolio of artisanal brands and experiences which also includes Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, I. Wolk Gallery and Recuerdo Wines.
January 15, 2013
Photographs. They can capture the imagination and freeze moments in time…They can provide insight and incite curiosity. More than words, they can tell a story, call to action or share a feeling. For all of these reasons, we at Bespoke Collection are pleased to share our moments with the world through Instagram. We invite you to follow us at Bespoke_Collection and enjoy our daily entries. Whether taken in the vineyards or at the office, by our winemakers or our interns, each photo represents a moment of our day, our work, our lives and our soul. We hope you enjoy…
Learn more about the Bespoke Collection portfolio of artisanal brands and experiences which includes Blackbird Vineyards, Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley and Recuerdo Wines.
November 29, 2012
It is autumn in Napa Valley -
The sweet smell of fermentation fills the air. A cool mist blankets the harvested vineyards – now a patchwork of the brightest burnt oranges, crimson reds and golden yellows…
As the holidays near and the cold weather sweeps in, a decadent glass of red wine pairs perfectly with a hearty meal, a comfy throw and few loved ones…
In a recent 91-point review of the 2010 Blackbird Vineyards Arise, Ken’s Wine Guide suggests pairing a glass with a savory beef stew…We couldn’t agree more!
So gather your near and dear, get cozy around the dinner table and let Blackbird Vineyards provide the dinner inspiration and, of course, the wine…
Classic One-Pot Beef Stew + Blackbird Vineyards 2010 Arise
Prep time: 30 minutes | Marinate Time: 24 hours | Cook Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes | Servings: 8
3 ½ pounds beef tenderloin, well-trimmed, cut into 2 inch pieces
750 ml red wine
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 quarts veal stock
1 cup yellow onions-medium diced
1 tablespoon garlic-minced
24 pieces parsnip-medium diced
24 pieces carrots-medium diced
12 each baby Yukon gold potatoes-split in half
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves-chopped
4 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves-chopped
2010 Blackbird Vineyards Arise
1. Marinate the beef in the red wine for 24 hours. Strain off the wine, reserve and pat beef dry with paper towels.
2. Heat a large, deep sauté pan until very hot then add the grapeseed oil.
3. When the oil starts to smoke, add half the beef and season with salt and pepper.
4. Brown beef on all sides, scraping fond up from the bottom of the pan as you go.
5. When browned, remove from pan and repeat with the remaining beef. Reserve all beef on the side.
6. Place a Dutch oven (similar to a Le Creuset or Staub) over medium heat.
7. Add onions and garlic.
8. Sauté until the onions are browned on the edges, approximately three minutes.
9. Add the flour to the pan and cook for one minute over low heat.
10. Add the beef and the wine and reduce over medium-high heat until almost all of the liquid has reduced, scraping up the meaty bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
11. Add the veal stock, bay leaf and thyme sprigs.
12. Braise for two hours covered on a very low simmer.
13. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.
14. Add the diced vegetables and potatoes and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
15. Garnish with the chopped parsley and thyme.
Enjoy with Blackbird Vineyards Arise Proprietary Red Wine
Recipe by Chef Richard Haake
October 12, 2012
When asked to describe Blackbird Vineyards in four words or less, Winemaker, Aaron Pott responded, “High Flying Aromatic Reds!” The newly-released, 2010 Arise Napa Valley Proprietary Red Wine is no outlier to Blackbird Vineyards’ portfolio of wines, which fits his description perfectly.
The stunningly soft 2010 Arise exudes perfumes of cherry, blackberry, tobacco, and vanilla. The 2010 Napa Valley grape growing season presented fickle weather conditions due to the relatively cool spring coupled with unexpected heat spikes in late summer. The outcome was a lower-yielding harvest that produced supple wines with European-style texture and great complexity.
Arise captures the essence of Napa Valley. Sourced from a selection of Napa Valley’s most prestigious vineyards – Stagecoach Vineyard, Hudson Vineyards, Crocker & Starr and Blackbird Estate Vineyard – the Arise is harvested, vinified, and barrel-aged with an identical commitment to quality and excellence as the Blackbird Vineyards’ principal wines. Every vintage of this sister label, Bordeaux-inspired blend is hand-tuned to express the luscious flavor profiles and lithe structure that only come from exceptional fruit.
Visit Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley to experience the 2010 Arise or acquire a bottle to enjoy at Buy, Buy Blackbird.
September 12, 2012
Bespoke Collection which comprises of Blackbird Vineyards, Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, and Recuerdo Wines—today announced the launch of Bespoke Membership which allows clients to customize their wine shipments and create their own tailor-made experience. Since the Bespoke Collection wine portfolio ranges greatly from collector bottlings to every day drinking wines, clients will find a wide range of choices in the three membership programs, fittingly titled, “BlackMail,” “Medallion,” and “Recollection.”
Once clients are enrolled in one or more of the membership programs, they earn priority status in Bespoke Benefits. Bespoke Benefits include first access to allocated and large format bottlings, wine tastings at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley and in Argentina, concierge services, invitations to exclusive events, lottery drawings, opportunities to travel to Napa Valley and Argentina, plus more. At the highest level, Bespoke Benefits allow members to enjoy portfolio roads shows with friends and family in their locale, group luncheons at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, and overnight accommodations at luxury properties in Napa Valley and Argentina.
“The Bespoke Membership is the result of our ongoing commitment to provide clients with the best artisanal wines and customizable experiences. Our goal is to empower clients to create their own tailor-made experience with us and, in turn, we reward them with Bespoke Benefits for redemption of truly unique experiences in Napa Valley, Argentina, or even in their locale,” states President, Paul Leary.
We look forward to having you as a member! Email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 855-998-8800.
View the Bespoke Membership and Benefits Videos on the Bespoke Collection YouTube Channel…
Read the entire Bespoke Membership Press Release…
Join Bespoke Membership…
September 6, 2012
The countdown to Blackbird Vineyards’ Fall 2012 offering and
BlackMail Membership launch has begun!
Your opportunity to purchase the Blackbird Vineyards portfolio, including the new vintage release of 2010 Arise, is coming soon…
Stay tuned for information on BlackMail Membership and Bespoke Benefits…All launching this fall!
In the meantime, we invite you to browse these videos and articles on Blackbird Vineyards.
To taste and acquire Blackbird’s wines while in Northern California,
visit us at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley in Yountville.
July 19, 2012
We are in the thick of summer and there is no better time to gather around the table and share food and drink with friends and loved ones. Recuerdo Torrontés, an emblematic white wine of Argentina, is the new go-to libation when thinking of wine and food pairings. With the help of Chef Richard Haake of WineryChefs.com, we have found a perfect (and perfectly simple) Argentinean entrée to pair with this cool, crisp and food-friendly wine…
Sizzling Red Shrimp & Chorizo
Prep Time: 15 mins │ Cook Time: 10 mins │ Servings: 4-6
1 pound pork shoulder or butt, coarsely ground, or ground pork
1 teaspoon sweet, smoked paprika
1 teaspoon hot, smoked paprika
1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sherry
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grape seed oil
1 clove garlic, cut into thin slivers
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 pound of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup Recuerdo Torrontés
1 cup piquillo or serrano peppers, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 wedges of lemon
Salt and pepper
1 fresh baguette, sliced and placed in bread basket
- To make homemade chorizo, place all of the chorizo ingredients in a bowl and combine the mixture thoroughly, making sure to distribute the seasonings evenly.
- Place a large sauté pan over medium- high heat.
- Add the grape seed oil.
- Break the chorizo apart into small pieces and add to the pan.
- Cook the chorizo until it starts to brown.
- Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
- Deglaze the pan with the Torrontés and reduce the liquid by half.
- Season the shrimp with the smoked paprika.
- Add the shrimp and cook until pink.
- Add the peppers and parsley and cook for 30 seconds.
- Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Place the finished shrimp in a serving dish, garnish with lemons and serve with fresh sliced bread.
Enjoy with a glass of Recuerdo Torrontés!
*Don’t forget to submit photos of your completed recipe to email@example.com for a chance to win a Recuerdo Wines sampler box!
Learn more about Recuerdo Wines! To acquire Recuerdo Torrontés, visit our online store.
Stay tuned for the next segment of the Torrontés Blog Series…
June 19, 2012
Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley is delighted to spotlight vintner partner, Uvaggio. As stated on the Uvaggio website, “Uvaggio produces interesting wines from very interesting Italian grape varieties offered at extremely interesting prices. They are fun, refreshing and food friendly. Oh, and we should mention they are quite delicious, too!” These qualities make Uvaggio a perfect fit for the Ma(i)sonry portfolio of vintner partners.
Uvaggio’s wines and have become a local favorite and have excellent and interesting placements in niche markets like Dean and Deluca, Oxbow Wine and Cheese Merchant, Backroom Wines and Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley.
When speaking to proprietor and winemaker, Jim Moore, you quickly understand his dedication to making limited-production, quality wines that can compete with their more-expensive shelf mates. His 2009 Vermentino, a refreshingly dry and citrus-forward white wine retails for $14 per bottle. The succulent 2008 Barbera is a value at $20.
Moore, who moved to Napa in 1976, began his career in the enology department for Robert Mondavi. There, he helped guide (and sometimes define) the Mondavi winemaking style. His work earned many accolades including a listing in Wine Spectator’s ”Top 100 Wines of the Year” for two of his Zinfandels and a bottling from Luce and Lucente from Tuscany – a collaborative effort with the Frescobaldi family of Florence.
Moore left Mondavi in 1998 in pursuit of his dream to run his own winery. Originally called “L’Uvaggio di Giacomo” and simplified today to Uvaggio, the portfolio of wines offer oenophiles juice with accessibility, harmony and value.
Jim Moore was kind enough to answer some interesting questions about Uvaggio and himself:
1) Describe Uvaggio wines in 4 words or less.
Flavorful, approachable, affordable & food-friendly (sorry, that’s 4.5 words)
2) What is your most marked characteristic?
A combination of persistence, stubbornness, and tenacity
3) Walking through the vineyard makes you feel…
Thankful that I am out of the office, working in relative solitude
4) What is the one topic you could talk about for days on end?
Nothing, really. I get bored easily and need a lot of variety in my life. But if you must have an answer – today it would be politics, the economy and current events.
5) Which living person do you most admire?
Chesley Sullenberger (pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 which landed in the Hudson River)
6) If you only had one last sip of wine, what would you choose?
Giacomo Bologna Barolo Monfortino Riserva
7) What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To have helped raise two rather remarkable children
8 ) What is your most treasured possession?
Mainly childhood stuff – coins, stamps, electric train, etc. But if it has to come down to a single item, it probably would be my post card collection – because when I look at them, I could be (mentally) transported anywhere
Make reservations to experience Uvaggio Wines at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, or acquire them at Ma(i)sonry’s online store.
June 13, 2012
What is Torrontés? [Tohr-ron-tez]
This is Torrontés!
Torrontés, the emblematic white wine of Argentina, is the most planted white grape varietal in the country with over 30,000 planted acres strewn throughout the Argentine wine regions. While it is the number one white varietal in Argentina, Torrontés production is less than 1/2 of its red counterpart, Malbec. Malbec accounts for over 70,000 planted acres of vineyard in Argentina.
Some of the most highly revered Torrontés wines are made with grapes from the La Rioja and Salta provinces in Northern Argentina. Geographically, La Rioja is between Salta and the Argentine wine capital of Mendoza (approximately 430 miles South of Salta and 370 miles North of Mendoza).
Recuerdo Torrontés is harvested in La Rioja!
The hue of the label reflects the color of the Argentine flag.
In La Rioja, the grapes are often planted in harsh conditions. The high altitudes, varying temperatures, low humidity and sandy soils strain the grapes and make them fight for survival. The end result is a distinctly unique wine with rich aromas of flowers, apricots and peaches.
- Torrontés was brought over from Spain by 16th century conquistadors and missionaries.
- It is a natural combination of the Muscat de Alejandro, which originated in North Africa and the Mission grape, known in Argentina as Criolla Chica.
- No other wine growing region in the world cultivates Torrontés as much as Argentina, although this grape is found sparingly in Spain and New Zealand.
- The aromas of Torrontés are often compared to those of fine Viogniers, Muscats and Gewurztraminers.
- Torrontés grapes are round, medium sized, usually of a yellowish green color, sometimes more golden.
- Torrontés is best fermented at cool temperatures, and then aged in a neutral container, such as stainless steel or old oak barrels (so they don’t impart as much flavor), to preserve its fragrance and crisp acidity.
Stay tuned for more from the Torrontés Blog Series…
Purchase Recuerdo Wines
June 11, 2012
In its sixth year of participation in Auction Napa Valley, Blackbird Vineyards collectively raised $142,450 with its Live, Barrel and E-Auction lots, contributing to the Auction’s $8 million plus total. Auction Napa Valley, now in its 32nd year, surpassed $100 million dollars in charitable giving last year. The auction’s final tally of over $8 million this year will benefit healthcare, youth services, and affordable housing non-profits in Napa County.
Blackbird Vineyards participated in every aspect of the auction, donating a spectacular live lot in partnership with Lexington Cancer Foundation, which garnered a winning bid of $120,000, as well as a 2010 vintage barrel lot that sold for up to $1,895 per case ($158 per bottle and 26% over the winery’s retail bottle price). The E-Auction lot went for $3,500 and included a bottle of Blackbird’s flagship wine, Illustration, in addition to a wine tasting at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, and overnight accommodations at Solage Calistoga in Napa Valley and Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco.
Blackbird Vineyards’ Live Lot #11 included a Horizontal Collection—a three-year, hand-etched, 6L collection of 2009 Illustration, 2009 Paramour, and 2009 Contrarian Proprietary Red Wine signed by winemaker Aaron Pott, an all- access “Kentucky Derby Experience” to the horse race that has been stamped the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” as well as a Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley dining experience with accommodations at Bardessono Napa Valley for six persons.
Blackbird has collectively raised over $950,000 for Auction Napa Valley. Past lot donations have included a rare opportunity to contribute to Robb Report’s Car of The Year issue, attend the Cannes Film Festival with hosts CHOPARD, and the CHANEL couture fashion show in Paris with private air from XOJET.