Clif Notes

The Art of Climbing...and Winemaking

Originally Posted by Candice Crawford on Sunday, November 7, 2010

This past week we released our first vintage of our Climber Limited Release Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend. This is a very special wine that we only produced about 100 cases of and that will be available to our wine club members and in our St. Helena tasting room.

The label is inspired by Gary's days of climbing in the Yosemite Valley. The strong, long-haired guy climbing that little mountain (okay, it's a pretty big mountain) is Ron Kauk. Ron is a climbing legend and a dear friend of Gary's. When Gary started climbing in 1976, he spent a lot of time in Yosemite teaching himself and hanging out with a group of climbers. Ron Kauk also spent a lot of time in Yosemite around that same time and had already become well-known for his climbing abilities. However, it wasn't until the 1990's that Gary and Ron became friends and started doing some climbs together.

Gary has always respected Ron not only as a climber but as someone who has a deep respect for nature and climbs as part of his regard for the natural world around him. He has become one of the most renowned climbers in the world and is a pioneer of high level free climbing in the Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows.

The Climber Limited Release shows Ron on the Heaven climb in Yosemite Valley. We love this photo because it shows an amazing sense of balance and focus. Both of which are also required in winemaking (although the stakes are not near as high!). As Gary says, "the elements of climbing are not that different than those of a good climb - balance, focus and a connecting of the senses."

You'll find all three in this special 2008 bordeaux blend sourced from Napa Valley Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Malbec. The wine possesses amazing dark fruit aromas and flavors with a hint of earthiness on the nose. This wine will age well for the next six years but is also ready to drink right now.

It's the perfect wine for any holiday meal - the label sparks conversation while the wine pairs well with almost any holiday dish.

Purchase the first vintage of our Climber Limited Release online or in our tasting room.

First Harvest

Originally Posted by Candice Crawford on Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our first harvest from the Howell Mountain Vineyard wrapped up last Thursday and boy did Mother Nature prove once again that she is in charge! The unusal weather in Northern California this year made for a challenging vintage. But the fruit looks great and we are very exited about our inaugural vintage from our Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard.

A Bold New Look

Originally Posted by Candice Crawford on Saturday, October 2, 2010

Soon you will start seeing our new Climber labels in your local stores and restaurants. Don't worry, it's still the same great quality wine at a terrific value...we just spiffed up the labels a bit! We've always compared the delicate art of climbing and winemaking. Both require balance and the ability to truly connect to the senses. The bold new look of our Climber labels celebrates our passion for the outdoors and mountain climbing. You can find the wines in stores soon or purchase them on our web site at - use code 'climber' at checkout and receive 30% off the wine ($14.00 per bottle - your price $9.80 per bottle). What a deal!

A Fine Day for Celebrating

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rain was in the forecast but the sun shone bright for the 2nd Annual Clif Family Winery & Farm Harvest Party.  As we breathed a sigh of relief, we were able to watch the afternoon unfold with smiles on our faces.  This year, our harvest party celebrated the end of a successful summer CSA box program and the start of the grape harvest.  There was much to be thankful for and the mood was festive as our guests enjoyed great food, wine, activites and music. 

Farm Fresh Gazpacho
This year we had our usual assortment of tasty delights - olive oil tastings, food and wine pairings, local cheese tastings and gazpacho made fresh from the Farm.  We also added in some fun creativity - paint by number canvases from Nimbus Arts kept everyone busy and the kids enjoyed crafts, munchies and farm tours. 

Pizza Politana provided their usual delicious wood-fired pizzas, Chef Emily Buller whipped up fabulous appetizers and garden fresh salads and our good friend Bernard Coll made amazing ice cream including a delicious plum flavor made with Climber Red wine.  All of this was paired with Clif Family Wines and Karl Lawrence wines (our tasting room neighbors). 

The proceeds from this event benefit Community Alliance with Family Farmers

Thanks to all that came to celebrate.  If you couldn't make it this year, we hope to see you next year!

Recipe from the Farm: Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Friday, August 20, 2010

With all this cool Northern California weather we have been having this summer, the tomatoes are taking their sweet time ripening.  The upside of this is that we will be enjoying tomatoes well into fall.  Here is one of our favorite recipes for enjoying summer's heirloom tomatoes. 

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

6-8 large heirloom tomatoes, seeded and diced into 1/4 inch cubes

1 cucumber, seeded and diced into 1/4 inch cubes

1 red onion, diced into 1/4 inch cubes

1 clove garlic

2-3 TBSP fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1-2 TBSP fresh basil, roughly chopped

2 TBSP red wine vinegar

1/4 cup lemon juice

Tabasco to flavor

Salt & Pepper to flavor

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar

Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and garlic in a large bowl.  Add cilantro, basil, red wine vinegar, Tabasco, salt and pepper.  Use a fork (or your hands!) to mash the tomatoes into a soupy mixture.  Add olive oil.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.  Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar before serving.

Serve with a little sour cream, croutons and a loaf of warm, crusty bread!

Out and About

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We're going to be out and about over the next few months at events all around the country.  We know you can't all make the trip to visit us so we hope to see some of you when we come to your town.  Here are just a few of the places we'll be.

Sipping Our Way Around the World in Hollywood

Bottlenotes is hosting their 80 Sips Around the World event in Hollywood this Thursday (August 19th) at the trendy h.wood lounge and eatery.  We'll be pouring some new releases and enjoying the great food and wine. 

Celebrating Labor Day Weekend in Tahoe

Wine tasting, live music and a silent auction all benefit the nonprofit organization Can Do Multiple Sclerosis at this Squaw Valley event.  Over 40 wineries will be pouring at this event on Sunday, September 5th. 

More Labor Day Fun

We really can be two places at once!  We'll also be at the LA Times Celebration of Food & Wine event at Paramount Studios on Labor Day Weekend.  This is going to be a great event with lots of amazing wine and food.  September 5th. 

Heading to the Rocky Mountains

More great food, wine and celebration at the Denver International Wine Festival.  November 7th. 

San Diego Bay Food & Wine Festival

One of our favorite events, this will be our fourth year attending.  You can't beat the setting in beautiful, sunny San Diego.  If you are at the event, be sure to check out both our wines and our tasty new gourmet food products.  We'll have two tables.  November 17-21. 

Hope to see some of you there!

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