The Holiday Season calls for sparkling wine! Whether it’s a French Champagne, an Italian Prosecco or a delicious Napa Valley Sparkling Wine, bubbles are the go-to pour for parties, dinners and the big toast on New Year’s Eve.
As a small, sibling-owned winery, Cultivar Wine cherishes the times when our family can be together, and we’ve been proud to have our wines be a part of Holiday celebrations. That’s why it only made sense that we create a sparkling wine for the holidays. The Cultivar Wine Blanc de Noirs, Coombsville, Napa Valley, is now available in our online store in time for your celebrations!
To create our very first sparkling wine, we sourced pinot noir from vines planted in the early 1960’s in Coombsville, a beautiful sub-appellation on the southern tip of Napa cooled by the San Pablo Bay. We crafted this sparkling wine from 100% pinot noir using traditional champagne production methods. It was aged on yeast for two years and then spent another year aging in the bottle.
The result? A delightful, fine-bubbled sparkler that embraces its pinot noir heritage. The woodsy notes of earth, mushroom and fresh baked bread mingle with subtle tones of rosemary, maple and elderberry to create a wine with distinct character. We believe this makes our sparkling wine not only perfect for parties, toasts and celebrations, but to pair with your Holiday entrees as well.
In fact, a great sparkling wine may be the most versatile wine for the Holidays. Hearty, winter dishes call for a wine with enough brightness and acid to cleanse the palate, yet be light enough to enjoy through the whole meal and the whole evening. Sparkling wine is perfect for this, and makes a great accompaniment to turkey, chicken and crab (it’s crab season!) along with a wide assortment of side dishes.
And don’t forget, sparkling wine can be the foundation of some amazing and delicious Holiday cocktails! After our team tasted our new Blanc de Noirs, we decided that these four cocktails would be perfect with our new sparkling wine:
This fun take on the classic Mimosa is a perfect complement to the earthy notes of our Blanc de Noirs:
• 4 oz. Cultivar Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine
• 2 oz. all-natural apple cider
• 1 oz. cinnamon whiskey
• 1 slice of apple, for garnish
Mix cider and cinnamon whiskey in a champagne flute. Top with Cultivar Blanc de Noirs, then stir lightly until incorporated. Garnish with an apple slice.
Sweet & savory mingle with this one, and it’s perfect with our Caspar Estate Wildflower Honey.
• 2 oz. golden rum
• 1/2 oz. lime juice
• 1 tsp. Caspar Estate honey
• 5 oz. Cultivar Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine
Mix rum, lime juice, and honey thoroughly with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker, then pour unstrained into a Collins glass. Fill with Cultivar Wine Blanc de Noirs.
Rosemary simple syrup brings out the woodsy & herbaceous notes of the pinot noir grapes in this delicious recipe.
• 1 tbl. Rosemary Simple Syrup
• 3 oz. gin
• 3 oz. grapefruit juice
Make the simple syrup by combining ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water and a small bunch or rosemary in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and then let cool. Combine a tablespoon of syrup, the gin and grapefruit juice and stir. Top with Cultivar Wine Blanc de Noirs and garnish with a rosemary sprig.
Cognac, Grand Marnier and Cultivar Blanc de Noirs? Now that’s a Holiday cocktail!
• 1/2 oz. cognac
• 1 tsp. Grand Marnier
• 4 oz. sparkling wine
Pour cognac (or another brandy) and Grand Marnier into a champagne flute. Top up with Cultivar Wine Blanc de Noirs.
However you choose to celebrate, we’re hope you’re able to do so with family, friends and loved ones, and that your New Year is happy, safe and joyous. Cheers!
Photo credits, by order: Bob McClenahan, Quinten Rude, Nora Schlesinger, ioan-f.
Food & Wine For The Holidays: Our Best Red Meat & Red Wine Pairings
It’s a pairing as traditional as the Holidays: red meat and red wine. During the season, this classic combination is celebrated as friends and family gather to create feasts from time-honored family recipes: traditional dishes like Standing Rib Roast au Jus, Prime Rib, Lamb Chops Provencal and Slow-Smoked Tri Tip.
As a family-owned winery, we’re thankful to have our wines be a part of these meals. And as a Napa-based winery, we’re blessed to be able to grow some of the finest cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and cabernet franc in the world. Here are our recommendations for red meat and red wine pairings that will make your Holiday dinners memorable and delicious.
Red Wine and Rib Roast and Prime Rib
Nothing quite says Christmas Dinner like a classic Standing Rib Roast aus Jus. Whether you go bone-in or bone-out, rib roast is one of the most tender and flavorful cuts you can cook. For this rich meal, we recommend our 2016 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, Leaky Lake Vineyard, Napa Valley. Grown just up the hill from Caspar Estate, it is perhaps our boldest cabernet, with a long, lingering finish and tannins that compliment prime rib.
And speaking of Caspar Estate, Christmas is a great time to go all-out on our Estate wines. The 2018 Caspar Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a stellar pairing with prime rib and rib roast. This wine is sold only by allocation - if you’d like to get on the list, click here.
Finally, another great pairing with a rib roast is our 2018 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena, Napa Valley. Though still young, it’s powerful yet balanced - it has all the structure of a classic Napa cabernet, but perhaps a little more refinement than the Leaky Lake.
Red Wine and Lamb
Another traditional Holiday staple, lamb is a meat with delicious versatility but certainty more subtlety than a rib roast. Our favorite pairing with lamb is our 2018 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Franc, Oak Knoll, Napa Valley. With its fruit-forward profile, bright acid and soft tannins, it pairs beautifully with any style, from Mustard-Crusted Lamb Chops to Rosemary Leg of Lamb.
If you’re as much a fan of 100% cabernet franc as we are, get on the allocation list for the Caspar Estate Cabernet Franc. We recently opened the cellar and re-released the 2014 vintage of this spectacular wine to our wine club!
Of course, fans of cabernet will tell you lamb pairs wonderfully with a good cab. We suggest our 2018 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa County. Perhaps the softest of our cabernets, it won’t overwhelm your more delicate lamb entrees.
Red Wine and Tri Tip
The tri-tip is a cut that was born in our home state of California, where butchers in Santa Maria (along the central coast) carved this 5-pound cut from the subprimal sirloin. The tri-tip has since gained popularity nationwide. You can prepare it seared for a few minutes on each side, then into a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes for medium-rare perfection. Or you may prefer it smoked for about 6 hours.
If you need the perfect pairing with a smokey meat, you can’t go wrong with a wine like our 2019 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. Pinot’s have an inherent earthiness that brings out the flavor of smoked meats. Some might think that a pinot noir isn’t bold enough to stand up to a fatty sirloin cut like a tri-tip, but the cold, moist air blown in from the sea near Santa Lucia (on the central coast of California, by the way) creates a pinot noir that’s both lucious and powerful.
If you’re grilling that tri-tip instead, pair it with the Cultivar Wine 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. This vintage falls right in the middle between our most subtle and most bold cabernets.
Gift Boxes for The Holidays
If you’re looking for these wines or perhaps some white wines for your Holiday meals and to give as gifts, we invite you to shop our Holiday Gift Collection at our Online Store. Whether you’re looking for the perfect selection for the wine lover in your family or for delightful stocking stuffers, we have a little something for everybody. If you want to take advantage of our flat rate ground shipping, please order by December 15th. For last minute gift selections, we offer 2-Day shipping for orders placed by December 20th. We can also offer Cultivar Wine Gift Cards in a variety of denominations that you can send or download anytime online!
Whether you’re enjoying the Holidays with your whole family, or you find yourself keeping the party more intimate this year, all of here at Cultivar Wine & Caspar Estate wish you and yours a joyous Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year!
What does it take to produce a truly world class Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon? First of all, it takes fruit: grapes grown in that special region that winds around only 2% of the earth's surface and includes the Napa Valley. But just as important, it takes the expert touch of a master winemaker, someone who can combine artistry, chemistry and a little bit of magic into their craft. For Caspar Estate, that winemaker is Julien Fayard.
Julien is a firm believer that the wine is made in the vineyard. He frequently walks the vineyards and checking on the fruit. Our vineyards have several microclimates because of the row layout and the pockets of the hills and valleys. Julien is very selective, starting with the fruit that is ripe - it can be mid row but often it starts at the end of the row on the western side since it gets the most late afternoon sunlight.
On September 23rd, 2020, Julien supervised the harvest of several tons of our estate cabernet sauvignon, grown on slopes located above the Rutherford Bench in Napa. It was a gorgeous day, producing equally gorgeous fruit.
The fruit was quickly transported to Fayard Winemaking, Julien's custom winemaking facility at the south end of the valley. This is where the first, critical steps of the process will occur, though as Julien says, it's not the most important part: "Winemaking begins in the vineyard." Julien’s wines are a pure expression of Caspar Estate terroir, highlighting the characteristics of the fruit, vineyard management, soil and climate.