The Guardsmen Christmas Tree Lot has been a Bay Area institution for over fifty years, and benefits charities for at-risk youth throughout San Francisco and its surrounding areas. This completely volunteer-run lot turns Christmas tree shopping into a festive family event, complete with an indoor lounge and Holiday Boutique section, a children’s bookstore, and play area for your kids!
This winter season, Cultivar is proud to host a wine-tasting bar and Holiday Pop-Up Shop at the Guardsmen Tree Lot’s Holiday Boutique. We have lined up some of our best seasonal wines for this event, including our crisp, citrusy 2016 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and our beautiful 2014 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, distinctive for its balance of berry fruit, cedar notes, and dark chocolate flavors. As a visitor to our Holiday Pop-Up Shop, you also enjoy special pricing and free delivery! Take home wines and gift packages same-day, or ask us to deliver your purchases within San Francisco, free of charge.
This past Friday, we had a wonderful time with The Guardsmen for their Kid’s Day and Craft Beer Night events, where in addition to our wines we also offered our craft Cultivar Beers, including our Chinook Pale Ale and our Cascade Centennial IPA. Surrounded by festive lights, cheerful bustle, and the minty smell of dozens of freshly cut Christmas trees, we felt like Christmas had come early!
In the coming weeks, we can’t wait to meet more families, volunteers, and friends who come to the Tree Lot to shop, mingle, benefit a good cause, and catch up with loved ones over Christmas treats and wine. Come sip a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon while doing all (or most) of your holiday shopping at the Boutique, or just sit back and relax in the cozy lounge while your kids browse through books from Little Pickle Stories or exhaust themselves in the jumpy house.
The Christmas season is one of our favorite times of the year, filled with moments around the fireplace or the dinner table, enjoying delicious food and wine while sharing memories and making new ones. Our mission at Cultivar is to enhance these moments, facilitate the spirit of giving, and bring people together both during this holiday season, and year-round. Please join us for a memorable and festive experience at the Guardsmen Christmas Tree Lot, where we will be hosting wine tasting events on the following days:
Saturday, December 2nd from 11 am - 9 pm
Sunday, December 3rd from 11 am - 9 pm
Friday, December 8th from 2 pm - 9 pm
Saturday, December 9th from 11 am - 9 pm
Sunday, December 10th from 11 am - 9 pm
Pricing above reflects 20% off case purchases at the Guardsmen Tree Lots.
Last weekend will be hard to beat! We're honored to have helped contribute to the Napa Valley Vintners & Bottle Rock Napa Valley Lot no. 38 at Auction Napa Valley. It raised $150,000 for children's heath services and education in Napa Valley. If you would like to tast the wine we donated to the auction, please head over to our allocation list.
Almost 10 years ago to the date, Riva Cucina hosted their first winemaker dinner at Riva Cucina with our dear friends, Julien and Elan Fayard. It was a special night indeed, as the four of us were just starting our new ventures. We now have the wonderful opportunity to bring this amazing team together again for another first winemaker dinner, this time at the newly-opened Marina wine bar, Cultivar San Francisco. Massi will be guest chef, pairing his cuisine with Julien's award-winning wines.
We hope you can join us for a wonderful evening, as we celebrate the opening of Cultivar SF and the wines of Julien Fayard.
We have two brand new releases going out in this month’s wine club shipment that we think you’re going to enjoy. If you’re not in our wine club, now is the time to join because we have some great wines to share with you... just in time for those cooler nights when red wine sounds oh so right.
First, our 2012 St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon. This is our first release from the St. Helena appellation, where the temperatures run about 4 to 5 degrees warmer than in Napa. This rise in temperature results in wine with richer, more concentrated flavors. Ours has wonderful aromas of cassis, plum and vanilla with beautiful yet subtle floral notes. On the palate, ripe fruit flavors are balanced with great tannins. This wine will age well for 7 to 10 years and will go perfectly with a delicious grilled steak.
Also a new release is our 2011 Leaky Lake Cabernet. The grapes for this wine grow in the Leaky Lake Vineyard, located on top of the Mayacamas Mountain Range. Bright red in color, this wine has incredibly enticing aromas of wild blueberries and cherries that seem to leap from the glass, followed by notes of spice, pepper, cedar and mocha. The palate reveals fruit-forward characteristics with dark cherry fruit flavors, smooth tannins and a lengthy finish. Decanting allows the wine’s complex flavors to shine now, but it will also age gracefully for the next 2 to 7 years.
Good news - our next ‘Cultivar Wine Club & Friends’ event is scheduled for September! We’ve joined forces with our friends at Balboa Cafe to host an event you won’t want to miss. There will be wine, there will be food, there will be live music AND there will be a bus to transport you to all the fun! We’ll start at Balboa in San Francisco then head over to Balboa Mill Valley for wine, live music and food, then back to the Marina.
Details below. Be sure to RSVP by Sept 10th to reserve your spot. Space is limited!
For those of you who made it to our ‘Cultivar Wine Club & Friends’ happy hour event last week, I’m sure you can agree that it was a fun evening of wine, food and great conversation. More photos from the Mikkeller Bar are below, along with what we served to pair with our wines on tap. See which wines worked with certain menu items and why!
Even if you didn’t make it, you can still grab a bottle of your favorite Cultivar wine and test out your own food and wine pairings. You never know what perfect pairing you might find. And be sure to look out for details on our next event later this week on the blog.
Endive Cups with pine nuts, blue cheese and apples
Salt Cod Croquets with dill, parsley and lemon garnish
Why it worked: Sauv Blanc is a light-to-medium bodied white with green and citrusy notes. A natural pairing for salads, herbs (like dill and parsley) as well as lemony flavors, it also goes well with oily foods (like the herb/oil marinated olives). Yum!
2013 Rosé -
Salt Cod Croquets with dill, parsley and lemon garnish
Lil’ Smokies wrapped in bacon with Smoky BBQ
Why it worked: Rosé is one of those awesome wines that work with a lot of foods. Ours is crisp, minerally and delicate enough to pair with light foods yet big enough in body to withstand bolder foods like bacon and fried food. A tiny hint of sweetness helps cut through the smoky flavors of the bacon and bbq sauce as well as the saltiness of the cod.
Lil’ Smokies wrapped in bacon with Smoky BBQ
Why it worked: Cab Franc and pork work well together, because both are more medium in weight (as opposed to a hefty Cab paired with a giant steak). Our 2012 Cab Franc has notes of pepper, tobacco and spice, which complemented the smoked, spicy flavors of the Lil’ Smokies.
Pork & Garlic sausage in puff pastry
Why it worked: Full-bodied and big on tannins, Cabernet can withstand bigger, fattier meats and sausages. The rich pastry and garlic-y pork sausage seemed to pair nicely with our rich and structured Cabernet. With wines big on tannins, it’s best to avoid spicy foods - so the Lil’ Smokies would work with the Cab if you omitted the spicy BBQ sauce.
Did you miss our fun Cultivar-sponsored happy hour event last week? Taking place in the ‘cellar’ of Mikkeller in San Francisco, our totally awesome events director, Emily, planned a great evening of wine, delectable bites and mingling with Cultivar friends and family. Mikkeller is actually known for their beer (42 beers on tap), but that didn’t stop about 35 fabulous local wine club members from enjoying Cultivar wine on tap, delicious wine pairings, and the great vibe.
We even held a drawing to win two Double Magnums of Cultivar Cabernet - that’s 3 litres! Congratulations to our winners:
Maria Sullivan Hemphill
If you missed it, don’t worry… we’re planning at least 2-3 more events this year, so be on the lookout for those invites. More to come on the wines served as well as food pairings, but here are a few photos from the event in the meantime. Salud!
Happy Hour Event - Mikkeller Bar
Double Magnums up for grabs!
Cultivar Wine on Tap
Choosing the Double Magnum winners...
Winner chosen! Happy Eden!
It’s been a busy couple of weeks around the winery. We’re getting ready for a fun wine and food happy hour event in San Francisco AND we’ve been bottling new vintages of your favorite wines. It wouldn't be summer if we weren't a little busy, right? All fun things, though.
Just recently, we spent the day bottling the 2012 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon - 148 cases to be exact! If you were fortunate to try the 2011 vintage, you’ll know that this best selling wine is known for its big, elegant tannins and ripe plum and spicy black currant flavors. We have no doubts that our 2012 will be just as delicious, if not better!
Check out the photos from bottling day.
Bottles going through the machine.
It’s already August (where does the time go?!) but that doesn’t mean we’re not taking full advantage of summer and celebrating all the good things that are happening around us …like sunshine, picnics, bottling, and celebrating exciting Cultivar news!
The Fifty Best recently held a blind tasting of Napa Valley Cabernets in the $25-$55 price range. We’re happy to share that our 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet took home a silver medal in this “Best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon” competition!
The Fifty Best is an award-winning online guide to fine living, featuring rated lists and tasting awards based on a panel of wine/spirit professionals and connoisseurs. For this competition, a panel of 16 pre-qualified judges tasted the 27 contending wines and evaluated each individually using a 1-5 point scoring system, with 5 being the most satisfactory. Medals were awarded based on a set range of final point scores, and we’re thrilled that our NV Cab was so well-received!
Have you tried our 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet yet? It has the chops to stand up to pricier $50 bottles but is in a much more affordable price bracket (at $28, it’s a steal for California Cabernets). The grapes were sourced from St. Helena, Howell Mountain and Rutherford sub-appellations, which are all high-quality regions (and 2012 just so happened to be a fantastic harvest!). The wine was aged for 12 months in oak, resulting in an incredibly aromatic and bright wine, with sweet tannins and refined structure. A touch of new oak comes through on the nose with hints of vanilla and warm spices, complemented by dark fruit, violets and tobacco. On the palate, the wine is rich with ripe dark cherry and plum, rounded out with an elegant finish with a touch of herbaceousness. A great addition to your wine collection - at a fantastic price! Cheers.
You've heard of beer in kegs, but have you heard of the newer trend of wine in kegs? Wines on tap seem to be popping up in wine bars all over the nation, but is this a trend that will last? I bet so. Cultivar has actually been producing several varietals in kegs since its start, as the wines were originally targeted for by-the-glass programs in restaurants and bars. A keg of wine actually holds 26 ½ bottles - more than two cases! - think of how many bottles of wine are saved right there. And, since the kegs are reusable, they’re cost effective and ‘green,’ creating less waste. Just like wineries are tending to gravitate toward screw caps to eliminate cork taint or oxidation, kegs preserve the wine, allowing consumers to get a better glass of wine at a restaurant every time (no 3 day old opened bottle for you!).
Of course, making wine for a steel keg will change the way a wine is made in most cases. Wine on tap is designed to be consumed within roughly 90 days of being ‘packaged,’ so the winemaker may produce the wine with more fruit-forward characteristics and less structure (aka less tannins since the wines will not be aged).
So which wines can you find of Cultivar’s on tap? The 2013 Rosé, 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, the 2011 and 2012 Napa Cabernet! I recently enjoyed the Sauv Blanc on tap at a wine bar in Southern California… refreshing and perfect for summer!
Don’t you think it’s time to forget the beers on tap and head straight for a freshly poured glass of wine? I'm in! Cheers.
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