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. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Bordeaux Futures

Bordeaux Futures and You: A Primer

What are Bordeaux Futures, and why should I buy them?

The Wines of Bordeaux are the most collectible and age-worthy red wines of Europe, and historically have appreciated in value over time, especially in the most coveted vintages. Pre-paying for the wines “en primeur,” 2 years before they arrive stateside, is your opportunity to procure the wines at the lowest possible price.
For example, 2009 Leoville-Barton sold en primeur for around $99. Today the wine is typically available for around $125. Buying the wine as a future ensures you’re getting the optimal price, and failing a dramatic decline in the euro or sharp decline in demand for a vintage, it’s the smart way to collect Bordeaux. This price advantage becomes more pronounced over time. A bottle of 1990 Château Leoville-Barton cost about $25 as a future; today the same bottle sells for $165, an almost sevenfold increase.

Why Should I Buy 2015 Bordeaux Futures?

2015 was an outstanding vintage on the Southern Médoc, and on the right bank. It’s not as uniform in quality as 2009 or 2010, but reaches the same heights at the best properties. Today we have a very good $USD/euro exchange rate, at $1.12. Pricing is looking very attractive. For example, 2010 Château Haut-Brion currently sells at an average price of $1,000 per bottle. Our futures price on the 2015 model, a comparable wine, will likely come out around $550.

Why Buy Bordeaux Futures At Bounty Hunter?

Bounty Hunter Rare Wines & Spirits has been making customers happy with our commitment to elite customer service for over 22 years. We’re also importing the wines direct from merchants in Bordeaux, delivering pricing that is at least 25% lower than retailers who are forced to buy their wines from distributors. Thus you’re guaranteed the best of all worlds: perfect provenance, and execution at an optimal price.

Okay, I’m ready to start purchasing Bordeaux futures. How should I get started?

Once you’ve made the decision to start purchasing futures, it is important to have a good buying strategy. After all, there are many things to consider when purchasing futures, such as which producers to select, when their wines are available for a future purchase, how much will be available and at what price.  Like with most investments, it all starts with a budget in mind, a goal for your investment and someone with their finger on the pulse of the market who can help you develop a rock solid strategy to meet your goals (even if your goal is to drink some incredible wines). 

Our Wine Scouts are up to speed with the latest information from industry experts, insiders and the word on the street, to help you put together a strategy that will reward you for years to come. 

Simply give us a call at 800.943.9463 and one of our Wine Scouts will be there to get you started.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Sangria

It's summertime! 
A great time to get out the BBQ, have some friends over and celebrate with a little help from one of our favorite summer sippers: Sangria!

Here are three wines we recommend for a perfect white sangria, plus three refreshing recipes to try! 

Cheers to Summer! 

2014 Mister Bianco Proprietary White California

Lemon-lime, apricots and white flowers share space with a 
whack of lip-smacking palate texture.

2013 Streamside Pinot Grigio Sonoma County

Pretty, lifted notes of green apple, melon rind and subtle minerality 
will awaken your palate to what a springtime white can be

Pinot Grigio’s acidity meets Chardonnay’s flesh in 
one ultra-sophisticated bargain.

Thai-Basil Sangria, Food & Wine

Cucumber Melon Sangria, Lemons for Lulu

Watermelon Sangria, Food & Wine

- The Bounty Hunter Team