Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tales from the Trail: Bounty Hunter and B Cellars

When B Cellars came to Bounty Hunter with a trio of their Cabernets, we had a feeling that this was the start of something good.

As wine and spirits professionals, Bounty Hunter Wine Scouts know better than most, that in order to tell you about a wine, we need to experience it first-hand. That’s why we accepted the gracious invitation from B Cellars to visit them at their newest winery in Oakville, to see what was really going on beyond the bottle resting in our tasting lab.

The new winery - formerly a horse ranch - is immaculately groomed and pristinely designed, set against the appellation's trademark rolling knolls. Previously, B Cellars called Calistoga home, and they spared no expense in bringing a new tasting experience to this renowned hamlet, which includes neighbors like Silver Oak, Plump Jack, Opus One and Groth. They overhauled their business model, brought Brian Michael Green into the fold as the winery's Chef de Cuisine, and developed an ultimate experience in food and wine pairing.

 **Photo : A glass of 2012 Maldonado Chardonnay paired with Sonoma Mushroom Arancini, Smoked Gouda Cheese, & Citrus AioliOur tasting experience began in the winery's Hospitality House with a glass of 2012 Maldonado Chardonnay and a taster spoon of locally-sourced Sonoma Mushroom Arancini in hand. It's clear that providing the ultimate guest experience is paramount here and that comes as little surprise once we found out that co-founder, Duffy Keys, cut his teeth as an executive at the Four Seasons for twenty years before embarking on a life in fine wine.

As we continued, we were guided to a Chef’s Garden and tasting deck, where romantic, private pairings take place in the warmer months during a customized, two-hour experience overlooking the young vines on the property. It's definitely at the top of our recommendations for visitors and locals alike.

**Photo: A chilly glass of the un-released 2015 Sauvignon Blanc that was incredibly fresh and made us giddy with potential!

Of course, the best part of any tour is seeing the inner-workings of the winery and the hands-on techniques that produce what goes into the bottle. B Cellars has come to be known for their unique blends.  But perhaps most importantly, it's the blending of traditional winemaking techniques and leveraging new technology to elevate it. From an optical grape sorter, to concrete aging tanks, their modern approach in the winery results in refined and balanced wines. It also doesn’t hurt that their long-standing relationships all over Napa Valley provide them access into some of the best vineyards in the area, including Andy Beckstoffer’s top sites. A relationship we know the value of quite well!  

**Photo: A trio of Red Wine Braised Shortribs, Torchon au Foie Gras, and a “Southern Roll” stuff wtih BBQ Chicken, Smoked Gouda, Shishito Peppers and Carmelized onion.
As we came to the end of our tour, we made our way back to the Hospitality House for one final treat; a three-course pairing matched with B Cellars' newest releases of 2012 vintage wines, including the Blend 24, Stagecoach Cabernet, and the Stagecoach Syrah. These wines matched the presented pairings perfectly, and were as delightful in the glass as what was on the plate. B Cellars clued us in on their unique niche in the food world, as they found a significant portion of their wines pair well with Asian cuisine. If you’ve ever tried to drink a Cabernet with Pad Thai (it’s ok, we’re not judging), you’ll understand what a feat it is to find wines to battle the spice and intense flavors in this category.

In the end, we all walked away from the table with a teased palate and a mental list of the clients we know will want to hear about these wines right away. It's an excellent experience in the Napa Valley matched only by some exceptional and unique wines. 

We hope we've excited you as well! Check out page 3 in the Winter Gazette, and call your Wine Scout to start your new obsession with a winery on the rise! (Be sure to ask us what the "B" in B Cellars stands for!)

No Gazette? Even worse... no Wine Scout? We can easily remedy both of those things. Call us at 1-800-943-9463 and let’s find you some great stuff; starting with a bottle of B Cellars' flagship Cabernet, the Ehrlich Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

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