Amici is Coming to You!

You don’t have to make it to Napa Valley to try Amici’s new releases this month; we’re coming to you! Here’s a list of where we’ll be pouring our wines in the next few weeks:
Wednesday, Dec. 3: 
Perry’s Steakhouse Winemaker Dinner 6:30 pm, Katy, TX

Thursday, Dec 4:
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Total Wine, 2-5 pm, Clearwater, FL

Friday, Dec 5
– 
Total Wine, 3-7 pm, San Antonio, TX (Del Norte)
– Total Wine, 12-3 pm, University Park, FL
– Total Wine, 4-7 pm, Charlotte, NC (Promenade)
– Total Wine, 12-3:15 pm, Durham, NC
– Total Wine, 4-7 pm, Cary, NC

Saturday, Dec 6:
– 
Total Wine, 12-5 pm, San Antonio, TX (The Rim)
– Total Wine, 12-6 pm, Tampa, FL
– Total Wine, 12-6 pm, Charlotte, NC (Myers Park)
– Total Wine, 12-3 pm, Raleigh, NC (Triangle Plaza)
– Total Wine, 3:30-7 pm, Raleigh, NC (Six Forks Rd.)

Sunday, Dec 7:
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Total Wine, 1-4 pm, St. Petersburg, FL
– Total Wine, 12-3 pm, Huntersville, NC
– Total Wine, 12-4 pm, Raleigh, NC (Brier Creek)

Tuesday, Dec 9:
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Total Wine, 12-2:30 pm, Fort Myers, FL
– Total Wine, 3:30-6 pm, Naples, FL

Wednesday, Dec 10:
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Total Wine, 12-2:30 pm, Stuart, FL
– Total Wine, 3:30-6 pm, Wellington, FL

Thursday, Dec 11:
– 
Total Wine, 12-2:30 pm, Boynton Beach, FL
– Total Wine, 3-6 pm, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Friday, Dec 12:
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Total Wine, 1-5 pm, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Total Wine, 12-6 pm, Laurel, MD

Saturday, Dec 13:
– 
Total Wine, 12-4 pm, Boca Raton, FL
Total Wine, 12-6 pm, McLean, VA

Sunday, Dec 14: 
Total Wine, 12-5 pm, Laurel, MD
Friday, Dec 19: 
Total Wine, 12-6 pm, Claymont, DE

Saturday, Dec 20:
Total Wine, 12-6 pm, Claymont, DE

Sunday, Dec 21: 
Total Wine, 12-6 pm, Norwalk, CT

Holiday Recipes that Pair Well with Friends: Amici Cellars Celebrates the Season

‘Tis the season for gathering around the holiday table, sharing a toast of fine wine and a festive meal with family and friends. Designed for stress-free sharing and pairing, this smart make-ahead menu from Amici Cellars saves holiday hassle while still being a show-stopper!

Amici Cellars is a winery that is, at heart, a story of friendship: Amici’s owners are all great friends with an equally great enthusiasm for making and enjoying great wines together. So they invited Napa Valley Chef John Adamson to create a menu of dishes that can be made or prepped in advance, leaving the cook with plenty of time to be part of the festivities.

“I’m always looking for elegant, holiday-worthy dinner party dishes that can be made ahead and leave me with time to enjoy the evening with our friends,” says co-owner Celia Shepard. “These three fit the bill perfectly!”

A stylish yet easy do-ahead hors d’oeuvre, Baked Chèvre in Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce is perfect for entertaining. The bright acidity and hint of citrus in Amici Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley are a refreshing complement to the creamy goat cheese. Best of all, you can simply pop it in the oven just before guests arrive and enjoy the party!

A sophisticated soup makes a wonderful first course for a dinner party. Chef Adamson pairs his “Wild and Tame” Mushroom Soup with Crispy Shallots with Amici Cellars Pinot Noir Russian River Valley. The wine’s lively raspberry and black cherry flavors provide a nice balance to the hint of cream in the soup, while its subtle earthy notes harmonize beautifully with the soup’s deep mushroom flavor.

For the main attraction, a classic Beef Wellington with Cabernet Reduction is an elegant dish with a presentation that makes it worthy of a special occasion. Prepped in advance, it’s only a half hour from oven to table. The fine tannins and dark fruit flavors in the Amici Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley provide a lovely balance to the rich pastry, and layers of mushrooms and pâté in the Wellington highlight the wine’s savory notes.

Download all three recipes and learn more about Amici Cellars wines at www.amicicellars.com/recipes. Happy Holidays!

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Singing “Purple Rain” to the end of Harvest 2014

What a great fall season (earthquakes notwithstanding).  We celebrated the official end of harvest for Amici on Monday as we brought in our last load of grapes (from the famous Tokalon vineyard, no less—look out for that one in a couple years).  After nine weeks of harvest craziness, the last grapes rolled off the sorting table as the crew cheered and champagne corks popped to the strains of “Purple Rain” by Prince. We caught it all on video, so we hope you enjoy this little glimpse of life around our winery.
Loud music warning:  if you’re watching this at work, you might want to get those headphones on!

Celebrating the Close of Harvest 2014

A Look at Amici Harvest Boot Camp

Every fall we have fun hosting a series of visitors from the wine industry who come to us to take part in Amici’s “Harvest Boot Camp.” It’s a unique way to truly understand what happens at a winery during the harvest season, and provides an opportunity for our “boot campers” to put their own personal stamp on a wine, knowing they played a part in its creation.

One of our recent boot campers, Heather Boysen, wrote an article for the Argus Leader on her experience at Amici:

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http://www.argusleader.com/story/wineblog/2014/10/01/amici-farm/16540209/

The Napa Earthquake: Showing the Spirit of Cooperation

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You’ve seen the photos: barrels toppled into chaotic heaps and rivers of red wine running though floors strewn with the glass shards of broken bottles. As Napa struggles to recover from Sunday morning’s 6.0 earthquake, the valley’s well-known spirit of cooperation amongst its wineries is once again shining.

We were one of the lucky ones: our winery was unscathed and the only sign of the earthquake was a slight shift in the barrels stacked six high floor-to-ceiling. Our wine inventory, which sits in a warehouse just a quarter mile from the epicenter, remains fine. You can bet we’re counting our lucky stars.

About 80% of the wineries in Napa fared well through the earthquake with little or no damage. But for the ones that did suffer damage, the timing was about as bad as it gets. With harvest having arrived about two weeks earlier than normal, and what looks like an exceptional-quality vintage in store, wineries across the valley were in full-action mode when the earthquake hit. Newly harvested juice is undergoing fermentation, a process that needs to be watched and controlled carefully for the best outcome. And new loads of beautiful quality grapes are coming in daily, whether or not wineries have recovered enough to resume harvest.

But this is where the Napa wine industry shines: there is a long-held spirit of professional cooperation here, which means that this week all hands are on deck helping our fellow vintners restore power, clean up barrel rooms and fix equipment so that harvest can continue. No one wants to see a fellow vintner have to miss out on an excellent harvest, one that last week we were all so excited about.

Most vintners attribute the spirit of professional cooperation in the Napa wine industry to Robert Mondavi. He always had a generous “we’re all in this together” approach to building the valley’s reputation as one of the world’s premier wine regions, recognizing that he couldn’t successfully build his own winery’s reputation without first promoting the region as a whole. There are well-known stories amongst the older generation of vintners of Bob Mondavi pitching in to help fellow vintners down on their luck, lending his equipment or doing whatever he could to help rescue a neighbor. Something tells me that at a time like this, he and his legendary generosity would really shine.

Are We Looking at a “Three-peat”?

Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the Laurent Vineyard in St. Helena ready for crush at Amici Cellars.

Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Laurent Vineyard in St. Helena ready for crush at Amici Cellars.

That’s the question on everyone’s lips these days as we start harvest under what appears, for now, to be ideal conditions for a third year in a row. After the banner vintages of 2012 and 2013, which delighted everyone with exceptionally high yields and gorgeous, complex flavors, vintners across the valley are knocking on wood after daring to hope that we just may be in for yet another ideal vintage.

At Amici we kicked off harvest last week, bringing in our Sauvignon Blanc from St. Helena and Rutherford. “Everything looks absolutely perfect right now,” says winemaker Joel Aiken. “The flavors and the sugars in the grapes are ideal. We’re bringing in the Sauv Blanc at 23 brix and are starting another fermentation today.” This year’s harvest is about two weeks earlier than normal.

The current weather of foggy mornings and warm days in the mid-80’s is ideal for this time of year. The red varietals, which are still on the vine, are enjoying slow, even ripening in the sunny days and cool mornings, allowing complex flavors to develop without the threat of sunburn or rains. And although this past winter was one of the driest on record, the springs rains that did come were in February and March, at just the right time to create slow and steady growing conditions perfect for a high-quality crop.

Joel estimates that if the weather stays consistent, we’ll start bringing in our Cabernet grapes early to mid-September. Stay tuned for more harvest updates!

A Smashing Success for the Barrel Auction

It’s tough to have a bad day wandering the beautiful grounds of Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena, but Friday’s barrel auction hit an all-time high note for picture-perfect weather, stunning wines and delicious food.

Two thousand attendees came to sample and bid on wines from 100 barrels inside the Charles Krug Redwood Cellar at Friday’s barrel auction, part of Auction Napa Valley.  The wines were almost all from the celebrated 2012 vintage and as a group wowed attendees with their depth, complexity and sheer deliciousness.  Amici’s barrel of 2012 Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet was a huge hit with tasters, who bid more than $2,000 per case to get their hands on it.

Outside the barrel room, attendees wandered the Marketplace in the gorgeous weather, sipping white and rosé wines and tasting amazing bites of food cooked on site by the crème de la crème of Napa Valley’s restaurant and catering scene.  Yesterday’s barrel auction was an astounding success by any measure, and while the final numbers are not in yet, the unofficial word is that the charitable funds raised may be close to last year’s record of almost $1.7 million.  And to top that, things really kick into high gear later today with the live auction at Meadowood Resort, while the e-auction continues until Sunday.

The calm before the storm: minutes before attendees arrive.

The calm before the storm: minutes before attendees arrive.

Pouring at this year's barrel selection.

Pouring this year’s barrel selection.

Cooks from Meadowood prepare fresh spring peas for their dish at the Marketplace

Cooks from Meadowood prepare fresh spring peas for their dish at the Marketplace

The top bidder gets a commemorative signed barrel head.

The top bidder gets a commemorative signed barrel head.

Nothing matches the excitement of the barrel auction.

Nothing matches the excitement of the barrel auction.

Always a favorite, Woodhouse Chocolates presents samples of their amazing creations.

Always a favorite, Woodhouse Chocolates presented samples of their amazing creations.

The boards are full from generous bidders.

The boards are full from generous bidders.

The final bids are posted, the confetti has flown, and another great barrel auction comes to a close.

The final bids are posted, the confetti has flown, and another great barrel auction comes to a close.