Sustainable Thanksgiving Wines

Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson1In time for the holidays, we tasted four sustainable wines from Clif Family that would be perfect for Thanksgiving feasts. These are killer wines. With the very first sip, we noticed the excellent quality. First, owners Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson source the grapes from CCOF Organic and Napa Green certified vineyards in the Howell Mountain and Oak Knoll District AVAs. Next, winemaker Laura Barrett crafts her wines with minimal intervention for a true expression of the grape’s character. Read on for details of these sustainable Thanksgiving wines.

Clif Family: Sustainable Thanksgiving Wines

Clif Family Sustainable Thanksgiving WinesClif Family Wines introduced us to their sustainable wines early this year, so we were delighted to receive recent releases for Thanksgiving. Not only are these wines outstanding, but also Clif Family has a fascinating story.

In 1992, Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson created Clif Bar & Company, now well known for its CLIF and LUNA bars. Meanwhile, Kit and Gary are avid cyclists. And their daytime journeys turned into evenings of good food and wine. Therefore, they decided their new adventure would be to move to the Napa Valley and add wine to their portfolio.

Further, they purchased a property beside one of the best cycling trails in the valley. They developed a CCOF-certified organic farm. As well, Clif Family owns 90 acres of estate vineyards in the Howell Mountain and Oak Knoll District AVAs.

Consequently, they now grow five acres of vegetable gardens, fruit trees and olives. Their fruit and vegetables make their way to their tasting room’s popular food truck, Bruschetteria. In addition to wine, Clif Family sells preserves, nut mixes, honey, dark chocolates, hot sauces and extra virgin olive oil.

In 2003, Gary and Kit established Clif Family Wines with 500 cases of Kit’s Killer Cab and Gary’s Improv. They now produce 12,000 cases of 16 different wines, almost entirely sold at their tasting rooms and on their website.

We tasted four sustainable Thanksgiving wines from their estate vineyards: Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Rosé of Cabernet Franc 2021, Napa Valley ($34)

Sustainable Thanksgiving Wines RoseIt doesn’t have to be summer for a beautiful rosé like this one. We “drink pink” all year round. The Clif Family grows these Cab Franc grapes, on their new organically farmed Valle di Sotto Vineyard, specifically for Rosé. This pale pink wine exudes lovely aromas of pears, cherries and stone fruit, mirrored on the rich, slightly creamy yet brightly acidic palate. This Thanksgiving wine will complement many appetizers, sides or even turkey.

Sauvignon Blanc 2021, Napa Valley ($38)

Sustainable Sauvignon BlancLikewise, these Sauvignon Blanc grapes also come from Valle di Sotto Vineyard. In addition, Sauvignon Blanc 2021 represents the initial harvest of these grapes there. The wine features the typical Sauv Blanc acidic backbone, with aromas and flavors of tropical fruits, stone fruits and subtle citrus. Usually we prefer our Sauv Blancs with more intense grapefruit notes, but this one is impressive, complex and plush. Serve it with turkey at Thanksgiving or with seafood all year.

Estate Zinfandel 2019, Napa Valley ($65)

Thanksgiving Wines ZinfandelThis is a killer wine – one of the best Zins we’ve tasted, with each sip a delight. What a perfect wine to pair with turkey this Thanksgiving. First, it displays the true character of the grape. Next, this 100% Zin is elegant, clean, well-balanced and created smiles at our dinner table. Aromas of berries, licorice and spices lead into a soft palate of more berries, cherries and minerality. The grapes grow on the north side of Howell Mountain, at a site named “Le Colline,” Italian for “the hills.” At 1,170-foot elevation, the volcanic soils and the climate make it an ideal location for Zinfandel.

Cold Springs Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Howell Mountain ($150)

Sustainable Thanksgiving Wines Cab SauvWhat better time than the holidays for a special-occasion wine? And this Cabernet Sauvignon is pretty special. It is oozing with potential, and the best bet is to put it in the cellar for a few years, so it can evolve into its full lusciousness. Certainly, Cabernet is King on Howell Mountain, and this gorgeous, classic Cab showcases why. It’s a beautiful bottle to celebrate the season.

Summary: Sustainable Thanksgiving Wines

In conclusion, Clif Family features quality wines with sustainability at the heart of their viticulture and winemaking practices. Moreover, you can find these Napa Valley wines online. According to the owners, “Our hope is that we can inspire a more sustainable approach to the holiday season through mindful eating, shopping for organically made food and beverages, minimizing waste and getting outside.”

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Margot and Dave