Friday, July 30, 2021

Sojourn Napa Oakville Cab for Steak Dinner

Sojourn Napa Valley Oakville Ranch Vineyard Cabernet for Carnivore and Queen Restaurant Steak Dinner

Friday night dinner out with friends and neighbors Mark and Shirley, we dined at Carnivore and the Queen, local Bohemian styled supper club in adjacent Downers Grove. While their wine list is very limited, they had a couple of interesting offerings from which I picked this label. I had brought a bottle just in case but was happy to try one of their features. 

C & Q have an imaginative menu for fine dining and our service from server Jordan was excellent. I had the filet of beef in my customary 'Pittsburgh medium' style and it was prepared perfectly. Linda had the scallops and Shirley had the ribeye steak, all were delectable and also prepared perfectly. Mark had their spectacular signature Walleye fish and chips with their delicious onion rings. 

Carnivore and Queen Walleye fish & chips

Carnivore and Queen scallops

Carnivore and Queen grilled ribeye steak

Carnivore and Queen grilled filet of beef

With his Walleye, Mark drank Schlitz beer, an artifact from my youth as I remember that was my Dad's beer of choice back in the sixties. 

Brewed in the USA since 1849, I remember Schlitz as "the beer that made Milwaukee famous" although the famous branding and tagline were not to be found on the packaging, although its is buried in the text on its website. They state the brew is 'finished with a prime blend of Cascade, Mt. Hood and Williamette (sic) hops. This refreshing icon is for those who appreciate heritage and premium craftsmanship.'

As if lost in the sixties, or not yet caught up to the modern era, their webpages recounting their History were blank ...


Interesting that when you clicked on the Careers tab it took you to Pabst Brewing website. It proudly posted:

"We’re proud. Proud to be one of the few companies that is wholly defined by our audience. Our mission has always been this: make a good beer at a fair price. That’s there when you need a cold 12 ounces at the end of a hard day.'

"America looks wildly different than it did 175 years ago. But beneath it, the same values still ring. We’re still the people who believe we can, and then do. We’re rule breakers and bridge builders. Some of us get up early, some stay up late. But we’re united across race, religion, and whatever the hell else, by a shared set of values: Inclusivity. Freedom. Integrity. Passion. And being true to ourselves."

They're hiring, many sales positions scattered around the US. All the staff or HQ positions are for San Antonio, Texas.  But they made Milwaukee famous. Never-the-less, Schlitz has a Twitter profile, professing to be based in Milwaukee. 

On the dinner and wine ... 

Sojourn Oakville NapaValley Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

I admit I had never seen or even heard of this label before. Not surprising as only 800 cases were produced by a producer sourcing grapes from contract growers, albeit well known high profile vineyards. 

This is the project/product of Erich Bradley, a founder and Director of Winemaking for Sojourn Cellars. Erich works with exceptional growers to produce distinctive wines that express vineyard and vintage in the bottle. As written in these pages before, so long as these contract sources are stable and long-term, this is a label to pay attention to, otherwise, their sources may change over time and hence there is no concept of terroir or comparative styles from various vintages over time. Notably, this label has been continuously produced since the 2011 vintage.

Sojourn Cellars produce Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon wines, all sourced from grower vineyards in high profile, renowned appellations of Sonoma and Napa counties. They produce four different Cabernets, this being their standard base label. The others are all premium priced labels are sourced from high profile named vineyards: Beckstoffer Vineyard Georges III Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Home Ranch Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley, and Oakville Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, all rated 95 points or higher. This label was rated 94 points by Wine Enthusiast and 92 points by International Wine Report. 
The Sojourn website profile cites, "Bradley is a native of Palo Alto, California, Erich became interested in wine while helping his family develop their vineyard on a small ranch in Sonoma Valley. Erich studied Bio-chemistry at the University of Chicago and Philosophy and Modern European Intellectual History at Cal-Irvine.' Following an initial career as high school teacher and tennis coach, he moved to Sonoma in 1998 and studied winemaking at U Cal-Davis and viticulture at Santa Rosa College. He was also 'mentored' by winemakers Richard Arrowood and David Ramey. He is on the board of directors of the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Association. 

Randy Bennett is listed as Winemaker. He started at Sojourn as Assistant Winemaker in 2008. He is responsible for making all the Sojourn wines and overseeing cellar operations and vineyard management activities. As General Manager, he run day-to-day operations of production, marketing, and business operations.

Randy’s winemaking education was under the tutelage of Thomas Brown and Mike Smith while working in the wine caves of Nicholson Ranch in Sonoma where Thomas and Mike produced wines for Schrader Cellars, Rivers-Marie, Myriad Cellars, Tamber Bey, and Nicholson Ranch.

Before entering the wine business, Randy worked 13 years at Accenture, leading business transformation projects for financial services firms. 

Sojourn have a tasting Salon located just off the Square in downtown Sonoma on Napa Street.

This blend of 2018 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon is predominantly Oakville Ranch Vineyard fruit from the site located 1,000 to 1,400 elevation above Oakville, facing west over Napa Valley. The site is surrounded by a “who’s who” of neighbors, producers of premium labels, including Dalla Valle, Joseph Phelps’ Bacchus Vineyard, Pedregal, and Maybach. 

Also included in the blend is fruit from two other vineyards along Skellenger Lane. This is 98% berry-sorted Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot. The final blend was aged 20 months in Darnajou, Bel Air, Jarnac and Taransaud barrels.

Packaged in a premium oversize heavy bottle, this was dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, rich and vibrant blackberry and raspberry fruits accented by tangy acid and flavors of cassis and hints of mocha with lingering moderate tannins. 
RM 91 points.