Sharing a bottle of wine has long been a social activity. The team at Cultivate Wines believes it should be a socially responsible activity as well.
Cultivate’s founders Ali and Charles Banks believe that with this mission, for-profit companies have the potential to impact the world. For every dollar in sales, Cultivate gives ten cents back to local communities. Since its launch in 2011, Cultivate has donated more than $400,000 to charities that help fund opportunity and hope.
The Banks have decades of experience in find wine — as the former owners of Screaming Eagle and owners of Terroir Selections, whose profile includes Sandhi, Mayacamas, Mulderbosch and Leviathan.
While the wines for Cultivate come from all over the globe, they share qualities that make them approachable and easy to drink. Director of Winemaking Nat Gunter searches for vineyard sites and growers with unique stories or personalities. The winemaking team tastes thousands of juice samples to ensure quality and variety.
The Dream Walking Chardonnay comes from Mendocino and Santa Rita Hills in California. It’s a classic California Chardonnay, with aromas of apple and tropical fruits introducing a palate of Meyer lemon, pineapple, golden apple, chamomile and marzipan. The wine is smooth and round in the mouth, with lingering notes of citrus and sweet almond.
The Copa Cabana is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Carmenère and 10% Syrah from Curicó in Chile’s Central Valley. It’s a ripe and juicy red, with a crowd-pleasing mix of fruit and spice. Flavors of boysenberry, blackcurrant, plum and blackberry jam mingle with black pepper, clove and leather. Smooth tannins give the wine a nice texture and finish.
Cultivate Wines are wallet-friendly too. The Dream Walking Chardonnay costs $18, and the Copa Cabana costs $12.
For more information on Cultivate Wines visit www.cultivatewines.com.
The Amateur Gastronomer has predicted that 2012 will see the return of Merlot. Why? In the years following the movie “Sideways,” California winemakers have revamped how they produce Merlot wine. Careful attention has been paid to how the grape is grown, when it is harvested and how the wine is crafted. The latest releases focus on the desirable characteristics of Merlot, with wines that are better than ever.
The Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2008 is a wine that stands out. Its refined black and berry fruit flavors show just how tasty and sophisticated Merlot can be.
The wine is made from 95% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the remaining 4% comprised of other Bordeaux grapes. The fruit is all estate grown and comes from the top 5% of Kendall-Jackson’s Merlot wine lots in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino Counties.
Through precision farming methods and harvesting the grapes at the peak of their potential, Kendall-Jackson ensures a high quality Merlot.
The wine spent 19 months aging nearly entirely in French oak, of which 47% was new.
At first sniff you can tell this is a Merlot that deserves a taste. The wine has aromas of dark fruit and spice. The taste is a round mix of boysenberry, blackberry, black plum, cherry and currant layered with violet, cedar, dark chocolate and a touch of smoke. Refined tannins give the wine good structure. The finish is satisfying with lingering berry notes.
If you stopped drinking Merlot years ago this is a wine that will bring you back.
A bottle of the Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2008 costs $26.
14.5% alcohol by volume