Winery of the Month: Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Winery of the Month: Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Welcome to the Winery of the Month! From esteemed Napa Valley estates to iconic wineries in Bordeaux and beyond, is proud to carry on the stories of the world’s finest wines. Read more to find out about September’s winery of the month!

September’s Winery: Joseph Phelps

September’s Winery of the Month is Joseph Phelps – a Napa Valley-based winery that has expanded to vineyards on the Sonoma Coast, as well. While running his father’s construction business, Joe pursued his interest in winemaking, a hobby he’d picked up in college. A trip to Italy in 1970 inspired him to look for acreage to grow grape in Napa. And so, in March of 1973, Joe Phelps purchased 600 acres on the east side of St. Helena.

But what began as a hobby soon became a full time pursuit! At first, the property he bought was a blank slate. So Joe planted everything from Cabernet to Gewurztraminer, Zinfandel to Riesling. It was a lofty goal, but by the October 1974 harvest, he had finished building the winery.

Over the next 40 years with the help of his family, the Joseph Phelps winery flourished with much success. Achievements include the first-ever California varietally-labeled Syrah. Joe was also one of the first winemakers to test Rhone-style wines, like Viognier and Mourvedre.

But perhaps the most important contribution from Joe Phelps is California’s first ever proprietary Bordeaux blend. It is known by its famous singular name, Insignia. This coveted, sought-after wine is in hot demand. It receives 95-plus point ratings, vintage after vintage. Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, awarded the 2016 Insignia a perfect 100 Point Score! is honored to offer Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon, the first estate Napa Cabernet from Joseph Phelps. The blend contains five of their estate vineyards:

  • Home Ranch in St. Helena
  • Suscol in South Napa
  • Yountville in the Oak Knoll District
  • Banca Dorada in Rutherford
  • Las Rocas in the Stags Leap District.

This is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon with aromatics of blackberry, plum and black cherries. It’s intertwined with characteristics of chocolate covered espresso beans and licorice. The wine covers the palate with balanced tannins and a long, silky finish.

Winery of the Month – Dominus Estate

Winery of the Month – Dominus Estate

Welcome to the Vineyard of the Month! From the opulent estates of Napa Valley and Bordeaux, to the mountainside vineyards of Argentina, to Australia and beyond, is proud to feature the wineries of some of our finest wines.

7829-21469April’s Winery of the Month is Dominus Estate, a Yountville Napa Valley estate producing bordeaux style blends. The Estate is owned by the Christian Moueix, a renowned French winemaker who also oversees production of several estates in Saint Émilion and Pomerol, two of the most famous winegrowing regions in France. Under the recommendation of Robert Mondavi himself to start wine production in Napa Valley, Mouiex entered into a partnership with Robin Lail and Marcia Smith in 1982 on the historic Napanook Vineyards estate. He became the sole property owner in 1995.

From an estate of 124 acres (50 ha), the vineyard area extends 108 acres (44 ha) in 14 blocks, with some presence of rootstock from the Inglenook period, the grape varieties are 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc. The annual production is 7,500 to 12,000 cases. proudly offers the 2011 Dominus Estate Private Cellar Gift Set, delivered in a striking Napa “wine box” presentation with a pair of Riedel Vinum XL glasses. This custom made wooden gift box is a joy in itself with its dual sliding lids and accompanying gift items. A grand impression is made from the moment the recipient opens the first lid to discover your personal gift card affixed with a wax seal.

Any discerning wine drinker will also recognize the quality of two Vinum XL Riedel glasses and appreciate the unique dachshund-shaped pewter cork toy. Delectable Chocolates from Sanders Fine Chocolatiers and a classic, handmade wine opener round out this superlative gift, leaving a lasting memory of your thoughtfulness.

Dominus Estate 

Vintage: 2011

Ratings: 94 Points by Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Acclaim: The 2011 vintage displays fresh almond, wild strawberry and cassis. The wine has delicate notes of smooth caramel. Polished tannins, dark berries, cocoa and sage accompany a long elegant finish.

Tasting Notes: Savory herbs, menthol, smoke and licorice are some of the aromas that open up in the glass in the 2011 Dominus. This is a relatively immediate, expressive Dominus with plenty of near-term appeal. The style is open and succulent for the year, with lovely balance and poise. Crushed rose petals and dried herbs linger in the close. With time in the glass, the 2011 fleshes out nicely.

Blend: 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc

Cellaring: Fully matured by 2013, cellar up to 2023.


Vineyard of the Month: Far Niente Estate – Napa, California

Vineyard of the Month: Far Niente Estate – Napa, California

Welcome to the Vineyard of the Month! From the opulent estates of Napa Valley and Bordeaux, to the mountainside vineyards of Argentina, to Australia and beyond, is proud to feature the wineries of some of our finest wines.

February’s Vineyard of the Month, Far Niente, is one of Napa Valley’s most renowned estates, producing award-winning chardonnays and cabernet sauvignons since the 1980s. Nestled in the rolling hillsides just to the southwest of Oakville, the historic tri-level winery was built in 1885 by California gold-rush forty-niner John Benson, the uncle of the famous American impressionist Winslow Homer. Constructed on the hillside slopes of western Oakville, Far Niente originally functioned as a gravity flow winery, gently moving the grapes through each stage of production.

The winery prospered until 1919 when Prohibition was enacted, and it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. Sixty years later, in 1979, Gil Nickel purchased the winery and its adjacent vineyard, embarking on a three year restoration of the property and placement on the National Register of Historic Places. During the restoration, a stone was found in front of the building with the Italian phrase “Far Niente” engraved on it. This gave birth to the winery’s name and the stone lays in that very same spot to this day. Far Niente’s past rose to the surface again in 1998, when a bottle of Far Niente Sweet Muscat, vintage 1886, was discovered in a private cellar in Marin County, California. The bottle exhibits the original label, cork and capsule, and is believed to be the oldest intact bottle of California wine in existence today, with the label believed to be designed by one Winslow Homer. Today, the labels at Far Niente bear a distinct art-nouveau-style parchment label designed by artist Tom Rodrigues, who also designed the labels for Far Niente Estate’s sister wineries, Nickel & Nickel, Dolce, and EnRoute, a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir producer.

When John Benson built the estate in 1885, he had a stone archway put in place in the west wall of the cellar, intending to chisel aging caves into the solid rock hillside. Unfortunately as a result of Prohibition and Mr. Benson’s passing, these caves didn’t materialize until 1980, when Gil Nickel hired a crew to dig a small wine cave through the archway. Eventually, the winery took on the adventurous project of expanding the caves throughout the 1990s, leading to the completed 40,000 square foot Far Niente wine-aging caves, the first modern wine caves built in North America, when excavation began in 1980.

In 1982 the first Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnays were produced from the winery, and today, the winery focuses on producing only those two varietals in their vineyards. Comprising close to 200 acres in some of the most coveted regions throughout Napa, Far Niente grows on five expansive and distinct vineyards, ensuring the highest quality care of the vines. is proud to carry Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon in many noteworthy presentations, and the Chardonnay is coming soon!



Far Niente Estate 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Steward Caddy

Far Niente Estate 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Cellar Gift Set

Far Niente Estate 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Burlwood Box

Vineyard of the Month: Groth Vineyards – Oakville, California

Vineyard of the Month: Groth Vineyards – Oakville, California

Groth_08 copyThe moment that everything changed, we drove from Sonoma to Napa via the Oakville grade.  When we reached the top, we stopped and looked down on a spectacular sea of vineyards.  Curiously, the vineyard we bought is one that we saw that moment, and every time we drive over the grade, we think of that day.  It was a life-changing investment for Judy and me,” Dennis Groth recalls.  The year was 1981.  The 121-acre purchase was the Oakcross Vineyard in the heart of Oakville.

Though Dennis and Judy Groth are both Bay Area natives, their backgrounds had very little to do with winemaking. Dennis got his start as a CPA at Ernst & Young, eventually moving on to become the Chief Financial Officer and later and Executive at Atari. In 1981, the Groth family purchased a 121-acre plot in Oakville. In 1982, they added a second vineyard of 44 acres located south of Yountville. These vineyards, which total 165 acres on the valley floor of Napa, are the primary source of grapes for the Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines produced by Groth Vineyards & Winery.

Groth Vineyards & Winery was established in 1982, and they crushed the first grapes for their own wines that same year. Production increased quickly to 30,000 cases by 1984. By 1985, the winery demanded full-time attention from Dennis and Judy, so they moved their family to the Oakville property. In 1990, the original winery building was completed, and a major expansion of facilities was completed in 2007, including a large new mission-style winery building that is lovingly referred to as “The Pink Prescence” by the locals, for its pinkish terra-cotta hue.

With everyone in the family involved in the business, Groth has established a solid reputation as an outstanding producer of Napa Valley wines. While the winery does produce some white wine varietals, they specialize in Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Groth’s 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is the first American wine to ever be rated with a perfect 100-point score by Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate.

To visit the winery, you can either make an appointment for a tasting, a tour, or both! Tours are given twice daily and require an advance reservation. Allow at least an hour for the tour, which includes tastings of the white wines as well as their famed Cabernet Sauvignon. As with winemaking, the actual tour starts in their vineyards with an overview of the inner workings of their medium sized winery, with visits to their tank facility and reserve barrel rooms. Visit: proudly carries Groth Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon in our Ultimate Champagne Basket, where it’s paired with a selection of fine champagnes including a few vintages of Dom Perignon Brut, Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame, Perrier-Jouet or Cristal.

Ultimate Champagne Basket Featuring Groth Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Ultimate Champagne Basket Featuring Groth Cabernet Sauvignon


Comment Below: 

Have you had a chance to visit Groth Vineyards & Winery? What did you think?

Vineyard of the Month: Argyle Winery – Dundee, Oregon

Vineyard of the Month: Argyle Winery – Dundee, Oregon

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Argyle Pinot Noir

In 1987, winemakers Brian Croser and Rollin Soles staked a claim in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, inhabiting an old hazelnut orchard that was the ideal terrior for late-season ripened Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit. Named Oregon’s Premier Winery in 2000 by Wine Spectator, Argyle Winery,’s Vineyard of the Month, has produced world-class methode champenoise sparkling wine, barrel-fermented Chardonnay and critically acclaimed Pinot Noir from low-yielding vines on its cool Dundee Hills slopes.

The winery is made up of three different vineyards: Knudsen, Lone Star, and Spirit Hill, each over 100 acres. The 120-acre Knudsen vineyard is located in the Dundee Hills and its high-elevation blocks are a key component to Argyle’s sparkling wines and Pinot Noir since 1987. These historic vines produce distinctive wines with ripe fruit flavors and earthy, spicy old vine character. The other, “younger” half of the vineyard features state-of-the-art viticulture: Old World clones planted in high density blocks on warm sites.

The 160-acre Lone Star vineyard is home to the majority of Argyle’s Pinot Noir vines and is regarded as one of Oregon’s best Pinot Noir vineyards. Lone Star Pinot is characterized by big, intense black fruit flavors supported by a firm tannic structure, suggesting wines that will age very well.

Their newest and largest vineyard, Spirit Hill, was purchased in 2007 and has 135 acres planted. This high-elevation site in the gusty Van Duzer corridor of the Eola Hills is also ideal for sparkling wine varietals. In the northwest corner of the vineyard, tucked away in the trees, is an old pioneer cemetery, from which has inspired the vineyard’s ghostly name. The blocks adjacent to the cemetery are the site’s warmest, being east facing and protected from the wind. It is here where that Argyle crafted the first ever Spirit Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir – the 2012 vintage.

Argyle's new tasting room, Dundee, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Argyle Tasting Room – Downtown Dundee, Oregon

While the production house itself lies in Newberg, Oregon, Argyle’s Tasting Room is in downtown Dundee, showcasing more than 4,000 bottles from their estimable collection of wines and sparkling wines, with vintages dating back to their founding in 1987. Beautifully designed using 100% recycled materials, the rustic tasting room is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy Argyle’s many varietals of sparkling wine and Pinot Noir.

If you ever find yourself touring Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine country, we at hope that you make sure to stop into Argyle’s contemporary tasting room and explore their critically acclaimed collection of lush Pinot Noirs and succulent sparklings. And if you can’t make it to the Pacific Northwest, we proudly carry Argyle’s Willamette Valley Pinot Noir in The Art of Tasting Red Wine – paired with a bottle of Apothic California Red inside a leather carrying case with a complete set of enduring wine tools.




The Art of Tasting Red Wine


Vineyard of the Month: Sokol Blosser – Dayton, Oregon

Vineyard of the Month: Sokol Blosser – Dayton, Oregon

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 8.36.04 AMIn 1970, the Oregon wine industry was in its infancy and at that time, its future was virtually unknown. That didn’t stop Bill and Susan Sokol Blosser, a couple of recently wed Stanford graduates, from chasing their Pinot Noir dreams. They purchased their first piece of land, an abandoned prune orchard two miles west of Dundee Oregon, with plans to clear the land and plant winegrape cuttings in a nursery row. At that time, their vision was simple; the Sokol Blossers had little agricultural knowledge and only grasped the basics of winemaking. But they saw the climate similarities between the bucolic Willamette Valley and the cherished French wine region of Burgundy, so they let passion be their guide. They had no idea that they’d become pioneers in the Oregon wine industry; their seeds being crucial to the future of Oregon wine.

With the goal of successfully growing temperamental Pinot Noir grapes and through a series of trial and error, the Sokol Blosser Winery has grown to encompass 87 acres of organic vineyards consisting mainly of Pinot Noir grapes, but other notable varietals including Muscat, Pinot Gris, and Riesling are cultivated as well. Through attentive sorting and hand-harvesting, fermentation in small batches, and aging 16 months in French oak, Bill and Susan’s son Alex Sokol Blosser serves as winemaker, mindfully expressing the distinctive flavors of the winery’s hillside vineyards. After more than fifteen years experience in the wine industry, Alex became the fourth winemaker in Sokol Blosser’s history. He continues the tradition of quality and passion for world-class Pinot Noir as the heart of the winery.  “Acid, complexity and fruit come together in a very special way for Pinot Noir here in the Willamette Valley. When the growing season cooperates, this trifecta of flavor inspires the Pinot Noir drinkers of the world,” he states.

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Sokol Blosser’s winery and tasting room lies on the vineyard property, serving nearly 20 varietals including six Pinot Noirs, each from a different block of the vineyard. Each Pinot carries its own distinctive set of tasting notes, ranging from dark cherry and fig, to brown sugar, to rose petals and hints of spice. The winery also makes an array of pleasingly aromatic whites, namely a Chardonnay and an expressive Pinot Gris. Other notable wines produced by Sokol Blosser are a classically dry and balanced Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir, and a gorgeous Brut Sparkling Wine from their Evolution line, crisp and clean with aromas of green apple, pear, white peach and citrus.

In 2012, the Sokol Blosser family teamed up with an acclaimed Oregon architecture firm to reimagine the winery’s tasting room. As you move through the building, each space unfolds into a series of distinct architecture. The modernist feel of the winery, while contemporary in design, still manages to uniquely reflect the terrior of the region and the individuality of the Sokol Blosser name. Clean lines and geometric shapes make the space a modern showpiece, with large windows and skylights allowing natural light and panoramic views of the vineyard.

IMG_3119From the beginnings of the winery, the Sokol Blosser family has also strived to be a leader in sustainable agriculture. Today, the 2nd generation winegrowers continue their “good to the earth” policy through certified organic farming, sustainable business practice such as solar panels and renewable wind power, and low impact packaging. In 2002, Sokol Blosser became the first winery in the United States to receive L.E.E.D. (leadership in energy and environmental design) certification.


If you ever find yourself touring Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine country, we at hope that you make the thriving vineyard, the stunning, contemporary tasting room and the irresistible wines at Sokol Blosser a top-priority destination.