Limited Seats Available for Non-Members at Wine Tasting: “New Ventures by the Experts”

Most wines are recognized by the vineyard name, but who’s the man/woman behind the “name”? Join us for a dynamic collection of wine-makers and their newest projects… an exclusive sneak peak into a few new, hot projects to put on your radar.

On Tuesday, Apr 16, from 6:30–8:30, you can taste rare and limited selections straight from the experts Chris & Josh Phelps – Ad Vivum, DJ Warner – Keplinger & Carte Blanche, along with Bryan Dante Sandoli & Karen Williams – L’Agent.

The night’s festivities will take place in the Wine Cave with scrumptious hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $20 per person, and seats can be reserved through More details below…

Ad Vivum – Josh Phelps with father Chris Phelps (Petrus, Dominus, Swanson, Caymus)

Ad Vivum (translated from Latin means “Wine and Life”) is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Sleeping Lady Vineyard in Yountville. The wine has an incredible ruby color to it with a slight purple tinge. Rich, black licorice and deep, ripe raspberry will fill your nose once the wine hits your glass. Similar flavors will drift along your palate with a dab of clove and well integrated French oak. This wine is clearly one for the ages. Decant now for 3-4 hours or age it gracefully until 2025.

How good is it? We have tasted Ad Vivum blind alongside the likes of Scarecrow, Bryant Family and Harlan more than once with several industry professionals from the Napa Valley. Ad Vivum held its own every time.

Winemaker Chris Phelps got his start at Chateau Petrus, one of the most famous chateaux in all of France. He returned to California in the late 1980s when he put Dominus on the map. He then went on to produce several successful vintages with Caymus Vineyards and was director of all red winemaking from 1999 to 2002. From there, Chris went on to and is currently at Swanson Vineyards. If you ever meet him, shake his hand and engage in conversation. You might just get an invite to enjoy a glass of wine and taste his world famous Merlot burgers. Just 183 cases produced.

Keplinger & Carte Blanche – DJ Warner (Scully, Sarocka)

2010 Keplinger Lithic – The 2010 Lithic is a rich and expressive blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah – all coming from Ann Kraemer’s incredible Shake Ridge Vineyard, which is situated at 1750’ in the Sierra Foothills of Amador County. With extraordinary Sierra uplift soils – loaded with quartz, basalt, soapstone, and shale – and farmed to perfection, this vineyard always makes wines of great purity, richness, and minerality. The Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah blocks are all on rock-filled slopes with excellent exposure and drainage. The blocks were harvested in micro-picks for optimal ripeness and combined into small co-fermented wine lots, each with a different percentage of whole cluster grapes. The wine was aged in once-used and neutral French Demi Muids for 18 months before being bottled without fining or filtration. The 2010 Lithic is blend of 44% Grenache, 31% Mourvedre, and 25% Syrah. The nose sings with lavender and carnation, white peppercorn, black plum, blackberry, kirsch, espresso, and nutmeg. The palate is loaded with concentrated layers of blue and black fruit, baking spices, and flowers; broad and plush tannins drive the lengthy finish.

2010 Keplinger Sumo – The 2010 Sumo is a real show-stopper. Harvested October 12th, we had three small Petite Sirah lots, all co-fermented with Viognier, then blended with a touch of Syrah, and aged in Demi-Muids and 320L French Burgundian cooperage, 50% of which was new. The 2010 Sumo is a blend of 88% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah, and 2% Viognier, all from the rocky slopes of Shake Ridge Vineyard. The nose is explosive with stargazer lilies and white flowers, crushed cacao, blackberry reduction, black peppercorn, iodine, star anise, clove, and a hint of tobacco. A mouthful of fine tannin is wound around a core of black fruit, spice, and dark chocolate – a massive wine that somehow finishes with finesse.

2009 Carte Blanche Three Peaks Syrah – is comprised of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. Hailing from Bennett Valley in Sonoma, the Judge Vineyard sits amidst three mountains, pulling in the cool Pacific winds and fog. A gentle sloping vineyard full of uplifted Sonoma volcanic soil exudes evolutionary rocks reminiscent of the Northern Rhone. A plush and full-bodied Syrah; the wine has ample structure to age. A touch of Grenache highlights notes of wild red fruits and a hint of cardamom and spice. High-toned red fruits sit atop fresh crushed blackberries and black cherry in the nose. The wine is full and rich on the palate, offering savory notes of roasted meats, hickory, and black pepper; intermixed with ripe cherries and boysenberry. A lingering finish shows off plush silky tannins. 250 cases produced

2010 Carte Blanche Sandstone Seven – Reminiscent of the great white wines of the southern Rhone, consisting of 40% Viognier, 40% Marsanne, and 20% Roussanne. A wine which certainly speaks of its place, Alder Springs Vineyard lies seven miles from the Pacific coast in Mendocino and sits on well drained ancient sandstone slopes. Three blocks rest at elevations ranging from 1700’ to 2700’. The coastal range offers the perfect blend of maritime influence and daytime sun exposure. The climate, coupled with Stu Bewley’s farming practices led us to put this wine together. Stu’s attention to detail has been termed, bonsai farming, treating each cluster as if it were the entire vineyard, thus yielding small, complex and intensely flavored berries. Bright white flowers jump from the glass, along with a supporting ensemble of lemon zest, quince, and wet stones. The palate entry is silky & rich with a fine line of acidic structure framing a bouquet of Bosque pear, pollen, and highlights of white gooseberry. Crushed granite and petrol faintly sit within the clean finish. 125 cases produced

L’Agent – husband & wife team, Bryan Dante Sandoli (Orin Swift Cellars) & Karen Williams (Acme Wines).

L’Agent, Grenache, Vins de Pays de Cotes Catalanes, France 2010 $75

The village of Maury in the Roussillon region of France is historically known for sweet, fortified wines. In recent years, however, some of America’s most talented winemakers have been dabbling in making big and luscious, yet dry styles of wine. Introducing to you tonight is one of Dave Phinney’s consulting projects, the 50 case production old vine red blend: L’Agent. This Grenache was vinified by Richard Case of Domaine de la Pertuisane, winemaker of the talented team assembled by Dave Phinney. The fruit comes from the schist soils of the Josephine Vineyard at the edge of town in the western hills of Maury. This unique vineyard is steeply terraced at 1200 feet, with 65 year old vines producing extremely low yields. The nose is extremely unique, deep, rich and laden with aromas of plum and spice with a hint of flint from the schist soils, making it almost seem dense enough to be fortified – but don’t be fooled. It’s all in the unique style for which this winemaking team has become branded.

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David is Wingtip's storyteller. In addition to editing the Modern Gentleman's Blog, he has written for Wax Poetics, The Source, SF Weekly, and the East Bay Express, and others. His inspirations include Rumble Fish, Paul's Boutique, and Balzac. He studied English at the City University of New York at Hunter College and journalism at the University of Southern California. He lives in Berzerkeley with his wife and daughter.

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