One of the great joys of being in the wine industry is experiencing something new, and it happens more often than you might think. Look no further than our 2020 monthly featured wines and you can read about a Chardonnay that should not be refrigerated but served at a red wine temperature (Le Cuvier) and a wine where red and white are fermented separately then blended (Peju). Our October wine-of-the-month continues the theme of the unexpected.
After visiting Napa in July shortly after the reopen and Santa Ynez Valley in August, we headed back to Napa near the end of September. When our plane landed we learned about the new, devastating fires that had started just hours earlier. The visits we had scheduled in the northern part of the valley were understandably canceled as many brave individuals fought to save their property and livelihood. During the pandemic we have often heard that the best way to support our friends in the industry is to keep buying their wine. So, rather than getting back on a plane, we improvised our trip. It turns out our Rioja Bureau Chief has personal connections with Reynolds Family Winery and arranged for us to visit. They are in the southern end of the valley and were far enough from the fires to not be in danger.
Started in 1995 by Steve Reynolds, a former dentist, and his wife Suzie, Reynolds Family Winery is one of the few truly family-owned and operated wineries that still exists in Napa Valley. We were hosted by the articulate, 22-year-old Cameron Reynolds who could not have been more impressive. You would be hard-pressed to find a more self-assured, knowledgeable, service oriented young man in the industry. He navigated us through nearly a dozen wines, many that, for one reason or another, were not your typical Napa offering.
But one stood out and is Peninsula Underground’s October wine-of-the-month: The Reynolds Family Winery Clear Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes, CLEAR.
Imagine being poured a chilled Cab that by appearance could nearly be mistaken for a glass of water. That’s Reynolds’ Clear. We believe it is the only such wine in Napa Valley—maybe anywhere. As you might guess, a great many questions and a thorough education followed. Cameron explained to us that they pick 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and take it straight to the bladder press to squeeze out the fruit. There is basically no contact with the skin to give it the deep violet hue of a typical Cab. It is lighter than the lightest Sauvignon Blanc you might find. It is then fermented in 100% stainless steel for 8 months. We detected the aromas of tropical fruit and the taste of fresh melon and raspberries. A very interesting, tasty wine. I wish we had first tried it blind but will include it in our future blind tastings.
Consider the discussions that will take place when you take this out to serve the next time you host friends or family. As our readers and followers know, we love to highlight great wines of great value that are drinkable right away. This outstanding Reynolds Family Winery Clear Cabernet Sauvignon is $45 per bottle ($36 for club members) and does not need to be cellared. Buy it. Talk about it. Enjoy it. It is a lot of fun.
Hopefully you can make your way to Napa Valley soon. When you go, make an appointment to taste at Reynolds Family Winery and ask for Cameron. Tell the family you visited because it was Peninsula Underground’s October wine-of-the-month.
If you cannot make it in person, visit their website: https://www.reynoldsfamilywinery.com/ and follow on social media @reynoldsfamilywinery!
P.S. Make sure you ask Steve about his tequila!