Nestled 1,800 feet above Napa’s Valley Floor is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-certified estate winery in Napa Valley: CADE Estate Winery. The winery, built in 2005, is made of recycled materials, sustainable and completely off the grid. It’s simple, clean, elegant, refined, sophisticated and pure, just like the wines they produce.
Named for a term used by Shakespeare to refer to the wine casks (cades) used to transport wine from Bordeaux to England in Elizabethan times, CADE represents a modern and minimalist approach to winemaking. They focus on two varietals–Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
CADE is the sister winery to the Plumpjack Winery, which is located in the small Napa Valley town of Oakville. Plumpjack opened as a retail wine store in San Francisco’s Marina District in 1992 by Gavin Newsom (long before he became California’s Lieutenant Governor) and philanthropist Gordon Getty.
The CADE philosophy for Sauvignon Blanc is to produce small, intimate batches for daily consumption–just 101 barrels made. CADE SB is a compelling wine in that is sees a combination of stainless steel, concrete eggs and new French chateau barrels during fermentation. This wine is ideal for Hawaiian fusion cuisine. Hawaiian fusion prides itself on its organic approach to local sustainability, while winemakers approach their wines with the same temperament, celebrating terroir and flavor profiles.
Since 2003, veteran winemaker Anthony Biagi has been making the hand crafted artisanal wines at both establishments. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Biagi and ask a few questions:
MAUITIME: In one sentence, what got you into winemaking?
ANTHONY BIAGI: The opportunity to blend both artistic and scientific skills in an outdoor environment.
MT: How did you get started as a winemaker?
BIAGI: My first job as a winemaker was crafting Paraduxx for the Duckhorn Wine Company in 1998.
MT: Is it true the life of a winemaker is as glamorous as it seems?
BIAGI: We winemakers have it pretty good. Like all jobs though there are downsides, and bottling comes to mind.
MT: What are your top five favorite things about making wine and living in Napa Valley?
BIAGI: One, the abundance of great options for dining out and cooking at home. Two, the interesting people we meet from all walks of life and industries. Three, the weather. Four, although the small town atmosphere can be tough, it’s nice to walk down main street and say hello to people by name. We still have a homecoming parade down the middle of Main Street in Saint Helena. Five, the influence of Mexican culture on our everyday lives.
MT: What’s your favorite varietal to make?
BIAGI: Cabernet Sauvignon, of course.
MT: What’s your ideal food and setting for a crisp glass of this exceptional wine?
BIAGI: Hamachi Krudo on a deck, relaxing.
MT: What are the winemaker secrets behind making the CADE SB as vibrant and tasty as it is?
BIAGI: The CADE SB is crisp and vibrant because of the little wood we use and no malolactic fermentation coupled with the lowered sugars we pick.
MT: What’s your favorite wine to drink right now?
BIAGI: Pinot Noir and Chateau Nuef De Pape has grabbed my attention and won’t let go.
MT: In Hawaii, at the end of the work day we have a pau hana: the first drink after a long day to be enjoyed with friends and family. What’s your ideal pau hana?
BIAGI: Pliny the Elder!
CADE Winery is considered a boutique winery, since it produces less than 11,000 cases annually with international distribution. These wines have been available in Hawaii since 2008. CADE Sauvignon Blanc is available at Lahaina Farms.
Biagi will be on Maui during the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival, where you’ll find him at the PlumpJack and CADE winemaker dinner at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua and the Hotel Hana.
360 Howell Mountain Road South Angwin, CA 94508
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Winemaker’s Dinner at The Banyan Tree featuring Plumpjack Winery and Winemaker Anthony Biagi: Thursday, June 7, 2012 – 6:30pm seating only. $150 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity. For reservations call 808-665-7089.
Big Island Kampachi Tartare, Asian pressed watermelon, ocean flavors
Cade Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Grilled Hawaiian Shrimp, garden gazpacho, basil pearls
Plumpjack Chardonnay 2010
Grilled Kobe Flat Iron Steak, summer corn, cilantro salad, mole sauce
Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Dark Chocolate Tart, banana guacamole, hibiscus
PlumJack Syrah 2009
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PLUMPJACK WINE DINNER
Tuesday, June 12, 6pm
Travaasa Hana’s Kauiki Restaurant
$125 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuities
Roasted Baby Heirloom Beets
Thinly Sliced Radish – Toasted Pistachios – Micro Sprouts – Shaved Reggiano Parmesan Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Sauvignon Blanc Syrup
Featuring CADE Sauvignon Blanc
Japanese Pumpkin – Alii Mushrooms – Haiku Red – Yellow Tomato – Reggiano Parmesan – Scallops – Rock Shrimp
Featuring PlumpJack Chardonnay
Stuffed Fire Roasted Beef Filet
Duck Liver Mousse – Chanterelle Mushrooms – Pommes
Puree – Grilled Baby Zucchini – Baby Burgundy Carrots – Garlic Demi
Featuring CADE Cabernet
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Truffles
Cayenne Cocoa Powder Dust – Wild Cherry Lacquer featuring PlumpJack Syrah