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In preparation for our new Bordeaux blend; Eternity, we decided to chip bud one acre of Cabernet over to Petit Verdot and one acre to Cab Franc. The Petit Verdot is in full production. We budded the Cab Franc this last spring. A typical vineyard planting requires 5 years before the vineyard is in full production. Chip budding gives us an incredible jump on that number.   

The “budders” are true artisans.  First they cut the vine from the trunk leaving about 2 feet of trunk in the ground.  Then a “chip” is taken from a vine of the desired variety.  The “chip” is the size of the tip of your thumb nail.   Next a tiny wedge is cut into the remaining trunk and the chip is fit in.  Then the trunk with its new chip is wrapped at the budded juncture in a white plastic tape.  From there a whole new vine will grow using the established root system of the previous vine.  It is truely amazing!

Our newly chip budded Cabernet Franc is reaching for the sky.  We will have a bit of fruit this year which will be dropped.  If Mother Nature is kind, by 2012 we expect … Read more

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Our CC Wine Club is growing!  Members are not only receiving a guaranteed allocation, but also special pricing on all wine orders, unique invitations and little perks along the way. 

I love to share special places in the Napa Valley.  Consequently, each club member recently received a gift from the Napa Soap Company, one of my favorite shops in St. Helena.  Using just the right combimation of essential oils and natural ingrediants, owner Sheila Rockwood’s most important ingrediant is cold pressed grape seed oil.  Her products are luxurious and very limited!  For example, only 50 hand made bars of soap are produced each day.  Not surprising, Cabernet is my favorite!

You can plan to stop by Napa Soap Company the next time you are in St. Helena or visit them at; www.napasoap.com.… Read more

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This recipe by Chef Stephen Barber; Fish Story, Lark Creek Group in Napa, defies the general belief that only white wine or light reds should be paired with fish.  In fact, Chef Barber created this recipe specifically to pair with our Estate Cabernet.  I expected him to come up with a meat dish, but not only does this work, it is spectacular! 

I have summarized the recipe below.  The detailed recipe can be found in, Decanting Napa Valley; the Cookbook.

Clark-Claudon Cabernet
Grilled Crispy Skin Wild Salmon with Creamed Corn, Baby Bok Choy & Beurre Rouge Sauce

Ingredients:                                          Beurre Rouge:
Salmon fillets; wild, skin on                1/2 C Clark-Claudon Estate Cab
4 heads baby bok choy                       1/4 C minced Shallots
4 ears sweet corn                                1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
3/4 C cream                                         8T unsalted butter
lemon
olive oil                                                 Garnish:
salt & pepper                                        Pea shoots on top, with a squeeze of lemon & drizzle of olive oil

To Make Beurre Rouge:
Bring wine, shallots, & vinegar to boil
Reduce heat & simmer until liquid is reduced to 2 T
Add 8 T of butter; one at a time wisking continually until thick.
Season with salt & butter.  Hold in warm kitchen spot… Read more

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Anyone who knows us knows that we like to support charitable causes.  My background includes teaching high school students who could not suceed and working with children and teens as a psychotherapist.  Given that, helping our young get the best tools for life is high on my priority list.  That is where Cabermet for Care comes in.

The program was started as a tool to support our customers’ efforts to raise funds for their causes.  Over time we have also supported causes that are meaningful to our family. Yet, the best use of Cabernet for Care has been grass root efforts to raise funds for schools and small community projects.

The program is very simple, 50% of the retail sale price goes to the selected charity in our customers name.  This can be one of our selected charities or one of yours.  That is a $4680 donation for every 10 cases.  The current Cabernet for Care wine is our exceptional 94 pt. 2005 Estate Cabernet. 

Cabernet for Care can be used by a group of friends,  a public or private school, a non-profit or the charitable giving department of your company.  Large or small, together we can make a difference.… Read more

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 Next week we will offer three new ways for you to enjoy Clark-Claudon.    I can’t wait to share the news with you.  For now, I am watching  a continuous down pour outside my window. 

I have been asked, What does this do to the vineyard?  We were below the needed rain level about a month ago.  Now, we are well over.  The rain has been battering us for days.  The soil is completely saturated and the reservoirs are spilling. 

This can be a set up for terrace slippage and major erosion.  In addition, with bud break coming, heavy rain can knock off the tender buds. Plus, muddy vineyards and tractors do not get along very well.  Consequently, the cultivation that is usually happening at this time is at a standstill.

Thankfully, the erosion control system at our vineyard is serving it well.  To date, we have not lost any terraces and the cover crop & drainage system are preserving the top soil.  We are all hoping the rain will stop by next week.  If it does, all will be well.  As I have said before, growing grapes and making wine is not for the faint of heart!… Read more

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Photos by Briana Marie Photography