Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Gift of a Gift

It’s become somewhat rote, but the old adage applies when it comes to the holidays: “’Tis better to give than to receive.”  The reasons for this are many, but perhaps the most important is to show those you care about that you recognize and appreciate what they bring to your world.  This can be especially true in the professional realm, where you’ve hustled all year to make your numbers, spent hours building rapport with your clients, and worked hand-in-hand with your team to ensure that you can be the best at what you do.  With the end of the year looming, don’t overlook an opportunity to leave a lasting impression. Take that additional step to cement your reputation in the minds of your clients, prospects and colleagues. A gift with gratitude is often the difference between respected world-class professionals and everyone else.  Show your customers and fellow corporate comrades your appreciation this season.

Afraid you don’t have enough time to choose that perfect present?  That’s where a seasoned gifting professional like a Bounty Hunter Wine Scout comes in.  We call upon decades of experience catering to our corporate clientele, combined with deep wine and spirits expertise, to find the perfect gift for everyone—at any budget.

Here’s our protocol:

               The Wine Scout works with the client to hammer out a budget and a list of recipients and addresses.

               We respond with a proposed package of wines or spirits for the budget that create maximum impact for the recipient.

               The client provides a gift message, which we print on an elegant card, or they can provide individualized gift cards of their own, which we insert into the top of the box to ensure that the message is received precisely the way it was intended.

               The order is sent to our warehouse, into which no product is accepted - nor does anything ship out - if it’s not perfect. Our staff opens every case and performs a detailed QC process on every bottle before giving it a literal seal of approval. This practice includes a visual inspection of the bottle looking for any defects, label or foil damage, and checking for leakage. We have a check and balance system that means that every shipment is checked no less than 3 times. Therefore our clients and their recipients never receive anything less than a perfect unboxing experience.

               Once the shipments are deployed, managing expectations is essential. Our Wine Scouts review the UPS tracking list of recipients to see if there have been any delays in the package deliveries, and inform the client of any problems and a timeline for resolution. It’s like having your own personal assistant running interference for you, even contacting your recipients directly when necessary.

Bounty Hunter’s fanatical emphasis on customer service and satisfaction requires that we consider the customer’s needs on multiple levels during the holiday season.

So this year, ask yourself, “Will this gift be treasured and memorable or just add another layer of stress to my already hectic holiday season? Does the gift enhance my own personal reputation or my company’s brand? Have I maximized my budget to come up with a gift that my clients and colleagues will savor and remember?”

If all of these considerations are important to you, reach out to us here at Bounty Hunter, and we’ll handle the rest!

From all of us here in the Napa Valley, we wish you a Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bounty Hunter’s BBQ Baked Beans

We asked Chef Nick from our downtown Napa Wine Bar and Smokin' BBQ for a quick and easy meal for a cold winter night, and his answer was immediate: “There’s really nothing like a long-simmered pot of baked beans.” 

Check out the recipe and try it out yourself! 

1 lbs Rancho Gordo Myaocoba beans – washed and soaked for 6 hours
½ C bacon - diced
½ C bacon fat
½ C yellow onions - diced
4 cloves garlic - diced
8 C water

Wet mix
¾ C ketchup
¾ C molasses
1 T Worcestershire
1/3 C yellow mustard
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cayenne powder
¾ C light brown sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 T Kosher salt

Sauté the bacon in a large stock pot with the bacon fat for 3-5 minutes. Add onions and sauté for 3 more minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add water and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the beans, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the wet mix and simmer 2-2 ½ hours. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bounty Hunter Recipes: Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions

There’s nothing like a hearty pork chop to make a satisfying weeknight meal. We asked Chef Nick from our downtown Napa Wine Bar and Smokin' BBQ for a quick and easy meal for late Summer gnoshing.  Pair it with a sprig of rosemary, some mashed potatoes or quinoa, and our 2012 Palacios Remondo “La Montesa”Rioja and you'v got a great meal!

1 T olive oil
4 (4 ounce) pork loin chops, 1 inch thick
3 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 onion, cut into strips
1 C water

Rub chops with 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper, or to taste. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Brown pork chops on each side. Add the onions and water to the pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn chops over, and add remaining salt and pepper. Cover, and cook until water evaporates and onions turn light to medium brown. Remove chops from pan, and serve with onions on top.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Promontory Estate

Nothing makes our job as Bounty Hunters more fun than getting a peek behind the curtain at an exciting new winery. Last week our buying team had the pleasure of meeting with Will Harlan of Promontory Estate.  He gave us a tour of his family’s winery under construction and a tasting of recent releases, which we will be thrilled to offer you in September.

Promontory Estate is an isolated little canyon high above Yountville and Oakville, and is just to the south of Harlan Estate as the crow flies. It’s one of the rare outcrops of metamorphic rock in the typically igneous, volcanic Napa Valley. The vineyard produces a wine of power and intensity that the Harlans tame with a 4 year-rest in French oak vats before bottling, a method reminiscent of a top Barolo estate.

The 2009 and 2011 wines were stunning, world-beating examples of Cabernet Sauvignon of uncommon beauty. Bill, Will, and winemaker Cory Empting have exacting standards, and it shows. Thanks for letting us in for a sneak preview of this project!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Japanese Whisky

Suntory has always led the charge, and was the first Japanese Whisky registered in the United States, beginning in 1961. Since then, there have been massive billboards in Times Square, and Suntory’s classic “jug” style bottle was a staple on liquor store shelves through the 1970s. There was a bit of a decline, as whiskey sales in the US lost ground to Vodka in the late-1970s and through the mid-1990s. 

In 2003 began an unparalleled surge in popularity thanks to the film Lost in Translation. Bill Murray’s dead-pan, stoic performance has been revered, but that fictional tale is not the first to feature actors and celebrities from the UK and US endorsing these fine drams. Now the brand is omnipresent, be it the legend that is Yamazaki 18 year old or the subtlety found in Hibiki Harmony, you likely know something about Japanese whisky.

Sofia Coppola likely found inspiration from her famous director father and his series of ads for Suntory extolling the virtues of whisky and friendship with another film legend, Akira Kurosawa. Perhaps seeing Sean Connery go from disheveled to perfectly pressed after a glass of Suntory Crest was the muse for Mr. Murray’s performance.

Humorous ads such as the one featuring a cartoon, bobblehead-like Duran Duran singing “The Reflex” might spark your interest. Perhaps a little ad-lib by the incomparable Sammy Davis Jr. would prove Suntory Whisky is of your class. Maybe a glass of Suntory on the rocks drunk to the jazz jams of my man, Ron Carter, on the bass, is your ideal soundtrack for relaxing times.

We have our hands on a few great Japanese Whiskys, click here and check it out for yourself. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Humbly Authentic

There’s something about authenticity that sets certain products and people apart. Authenticity greets you like your puppy at the door when you come home, it embraces you like a warm blanket.  At Bounty Hunter we are drawn to authentic personalities: originators, rebels, those who think outside the box. It’s part of what has set us apart in what we do. We always look beyond the surface, to the story behind the story. That’s one of the reasons we’ve always been fans of Wild Turkey Distillery.

Wild Turkey is humbly authentic… and that starts with the people: the Russell family, and their patriarch, Jimmy. A man who will proudly tell you he has been making his way to the distillery every day for 62 years. He’ll be the first person to greet you and shake hands at the visitor’s center, and for those occasions possible, he’ll lead you into a barrel warehouse to sample individual barrels of bourbon. He’s a natural storyteller and at 82 he is as quick-witted and sharp as anyone 60 years his junior. He, along with son Eddie and grandson Bruce, still run the day-to-day at the distillery, overseeing its production and quality control.

It’s funny to watch this video, introducing Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey as the new “Creative Director” for the distillery, and see him ask Eddie Russell if there was a time his dad said “Here you go, son” and hand over the reins. Eddie replies “it hasn’t happened yet”. It’s a moment that ends in laughter, and is a reminder this is a brand that IS truly authentic. An icon that has been built over the last six-plus decades on the backs of hard work, dedication to craft, and holding oneself to the highest standards possible.  At the end McConaughey says “we’re not for everyone, and that’s okay”. We can get behind that!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Single Vineyard Wines

What is the importance of Single Vineyard Wines?

One of the fundamental truths of the wine world that has taken root (pardon the expression) is that place does indeed matter. Like cheese, coffee and many agricultural products; that which comes from one place does not taste like a cousin from somewhere else. In viticulture, this is known as terroir, the unique combination of variables that merge to form a specific site. Sunlight, exposure, soil types, even factors like wind direction come into play to give a vineyard its voice. And just as you can recognize a friend or relative’s voice without actually seeing them speak, so it goes with grapevines. In the best instances, and with a bit of experience, you can taste a wine’s birthplace in the glass.

In probably its most extreme form, Burgundy is the queen of geography and place. Over hundreds of years, parcels have been broken down and broken down again, each time resulting in smaller designations and blocks based on unique vineyard characteristics. For example, while 10 different winemakers working with Echezeaux fruit may have different techniques and strategies resulting in 10 different wines, they should all fundamentally taste like Echezeaux. California is no different (don’t let the French tell you otherwise).  

We recently had the good fortune of attending a tasting at Robert Mondavi winery showcasing wines from the historic To Kalon vineyard in Oakville. Our winemaking team here at Bounty Hunter works with To Kalon fruit – along with Paul Hobbs, Tor Kenward, Alpha-Omega, Robert Mondavi, Opus One and Far Niente, among others. 

Though the vineyard is largely split between the Mondavi portion and Andy Beckstoffer’s blocks, only a narrow country lane separates the two. The vineyard doesn’t know it’s split. As such, while the five wines showcased had different personalities, it was clear that they were siblings. What they shared in common was more pronounced than what they didn’t. Such is the magic of place.

We undertook our Waypoint project some years ago as an homage to place. When choosing a vineyard site to make wine from we will not sign a contract unless the property has consistently demonstrated a commonality across the producers buying its fruit. It’s not a marketing ploy… these are places with history farmed with exacting care by some of the best in the business.
Tierra Buena has been under vine on Spring Mountain since the late 1800’s, a formidable track record anywhere. Oakville Ranch claims some of Napa’s most expensive fruit for the very real reason that people recognize its inherent quality and will pay for it. Somerston is basically a mini-valley unto itself, a sweeping property of more than 1,200 acres with personality to spare. Lee Hudson’s Chardonnay grapes are some of California’s most coveted, a testament to the land and Lee’s farming standards.

We believe that our Waypoint single-vineyard selections can truly stand among Napa’s finest. And having a great winemaker in Tim Milos (hello, Parker 100-point club!) doesn’t hurt either. We chose these sites with the distinct purpose of controlling everything from bud break to farming and letting the wine speak to the place it was born and raised.  

There is a lot of romance in the wine industry around the concept of Single Vineyard designate wines.  But there’s also a lot of science and history to back it up.  If you haven’t had a chance to try our Waypoint series of Cabernets, Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Zinfandel, we think you’ll find them as excellent representations of their home vineyards (and often at a fraction of the price compared to their single vineyard siblings.)

We’d also love to know what your favorite Single Vineyard wines from other producers are in the comments section below.