Three Finger Jack Cabernet Sauvignon

Three Finger JackIn 1894, Gaspare Indelicato was born in the small village of Campobello di Mazara in the province of Trapani, Sicily. In 1911, at the tender age of 16, he emigrated to the United States through Ellis Island, New York.

Eventually, Gaspare and his wife Caterina settled in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley, east of San Francisco.  In 1924, Gaspare and his brother-in-law Sebastiano made a bold decision to purchase an old dairy farm, planted grapes, and shipped them by train to home winemakers in the Chicago area during Prohibittion.

When “The Noble Experiment” was repealed in 1933, selling grapes to home winemakers was no longer profitable.  Sebastiano and Gaspare decided the only way to salvage their grape crop was to make wine.  In May of 1935, they  opened their winery in a converted hay barn and called it Sam-Jasper Winery after the Americanized versions of their first names.  Production began with 3,451 gallons (about 100 cases) of red wine which was sold to local farmers and friends.

As the business grew, Gaspare’s three sons, Frank, Anthony, and Vincent, joined the family winery in the 1950s. At that time, Frank was cellarmaster, Tony was winemaker, and Vince was the entire sales department.

Today, Delicato Family Wines is still family-owned by the heirs of Gaspare and Caterina’s three sons. The third and fourth generations of the Indelicato family are actively involved in the wine business and continue the tradition of producing and importing fine wines.

The Indelicato family is devoted to its California winemaking heritage of family farming, environmentally sensitive winegrowing practices, and economically sustainable principles.


“‘Family farmed’ encompasses the firmly-held belief that we are responsible for tending the earth and protecting its inhabitants,” explains Jay Indelicato. “This responsibility not only includes using environmentally sensitive farming practices, but also maintaining the highest ethical standards in our business dealings. My family has relationships with growers, banks, employees, and consumers that span decades. By thinking of ourselves as a “family farmed” company, it is a reminder that we have a responsibility to preserve and sustain the things that matter most.”

In addition to Three Finger Jack, Delicato Family Vineyards offers wines under such brands as Black Stallion, Bota Box, Gnarly Head, La Merika, and others.

Three Finger Jack Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Here’s the legend of Three Finger Jack. Make of it what you will: He was a notorious desperado who roamed the Sierras and the land east of Sacramento in the closing days of the Old West. Nobody knows where he came from, how he lost two fingers, or where he died. But his legend still lives on today in Lodi, California.

Lodi sits at the foothills of California Gold Country, 75 miles east of San Francisco. Pioneers knew that Lodi made superb wine country; so they planted vines there more than a century ago.  Its hot days are cooled by breezes from a vast river delta, and it’s home to soils that force vines to dig deep into the ground. Most of the Lodi region has deep, loamy soil. However, up on the east side, the soil is more rocky, with cobblestones and soil low in nutrients.

Three Finger Jack is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petite Sirah, 8% Malbec, 6% Merlot, and 1% other red varieties.  Part of the wine is aged in American and French oak with the rest in stainless steel.

Pouring from a unique squat bottle, TFJ is a transparent dark red in the glass. It features a robust 15% ABV, with aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, and vanilla..  These and tastes of leather and cocoa follow, supported by good tannins and mild acidity.  It ends in a relatively short finish.

Pair this substantial wine with Lemon-Pepper Barbeque Ribs, Lamb Kabobs with Mustard Marinade, or Double Peanut-Crusted Pork Chops.

Cline Nancy’s Cuvee (with tuna souffle)

As you enter Sonoma county from the south on California 121, one of the first wineries you encounter is Cline Cellars, and there could hardly be a better introduction to the Carneros AVA.

Even as a young teenager, Fred Cline learned to make wine from his grandfather, Valeriano Jacuzzi (yes, he of the hydrotherapy tub, as well as many other innovations). With a $9000 inheritance from Valeriano, in 1981 Cline founded the eponymous Cline Cellars in Oakley, California.

Continue reading “Cline Nancy’s Cuvee (with tuna souffle)”

No. 3 London Dry Gin

No. 3 Gin

Berry Bros. & Rudd is a family-run British merchant founded in London in 1698. Since then, the company has grown from a small coffee shop into an international business with six offices worldwide.

The company started out selling coffee, and then diversified into cocoa, tea, snuff, spices, and other exotic goods, becoming one of London’s most fashionable grocers. Its West End location and close proximity to St James’s Palace also contributed to its growing popularity.








No.3 St James’s Street

Today, the company offers an extensive range of wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône and Italy. Berry Bros. & Rudd has been the official wine supplier to the British Royal Family since the reign of King George III. They received their first Royal Warrant of Appointment in 1903 when they formulated a ginger liqueur to revive Edward VII from cold car journeys, still sold as The King’s Ginger. Queen Elizabeth II granted the company her royal warrant in 1995, and Charles, Prince of Wales granted his in 1998.

The company also offers wine investment opportunities, wine storage, wine tastings, event,s and educational courses.

From 1923 to 2010 Berry Bros. & Rudd controlled Cutty Sark Scotch whisky, whose yellow label is famous the world over.

Once Berry Bros. & Rudd decided to try their hand at gin, it took a team of spirit specialists 730 days to refine and create No. 3 Gin.

The key prominently displayed on the bottle is a replica of that to The Parlour, one of the oldest rooms in the Berry Bros. shop. Chairman Simon Berry says that the key is a symbol of trust; a promise, as it were, that the gin is what customers would expect from such an establishment. The high-shouldered green bottle is inspired from the open pontil gin bottles that date back to 17th century.

David Clutton
Dr David Clutton – the only person in the world with a PhD in Gin.

Each batch is presided over by distiller Dr. Clutton, who starts by weighing and blending the six botanicals (grapefruit peel, orange peel, coriander, cardamom, juniper berries, and angelica root) in the recipe. They are then added to the still and steeped for over 16 hours in pure grain spirit. The next day, the distillation begins and lasts over seven hours. The ‘heart’ of the distillate is then collected. Finally, No. 3 is diluted to 46% ABV (the producer claims this is “the ideal amount”), and bottled.


No. 3’s unique 100-year-old, brick-encased copper pot still in Holland, the home of gin.

This gin opens with crisp and fresh grapefruit, with forest-like juniper. The piney juniper continues on the palate, correctly, supported by floral notes and hints of spicy cardamom. There’s plenty of citrus ‘zing’ complemented by the gingery spiciness of the coriander. It all ends with the earthy dryness of angelica. The whole package is quite smooth and balanced. But remember that 46% ABV, and drink responsibly. This is high-octane stuff, and that smoothness can fool you if you’re not careful.

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Garçon Wines Flat Wine Bottles

Although we are all now preoccupied with the health crisis created by COVID-19, eventually that will subside. Concerns over sustainability and responsibility in regards to the environment are never-ending, however.

The single biggest contributor to a bottle of wine’s carbon footprint is the glass bottle itself, which represents 29% of the carbon footprint of getting that wine to you. Add in the impact of other packaging such as case boxes, as well as transport, and the total burden increases to a total of 51%.


To address this issue, UK-based Garçon Wines invented patented, eco-friendly, flat wine bottles made of recycled polyethylene terephthalate [PET], which have the profile of traditional wine bottle shapes, but are lighter and more energy- and space-efficient than round, glass bottles of the same volume. Garçon Wines’ bottles also lend themselves to innovative transit packaging, which amplifies the single- bottle environmental benefits.

PET, which has rapidly become one of the world’s preferred packaging materials, is lightweight, shatterproof, resealable, reusable, and infinitely recyclable*. PET plastic bottles often have the lowest carbon footprint of competing products, and their production results in up to 70% less greenhouse gas emissions.

Amusingly, these flat bottles were developed originally to facilitate the delivery of wine into UK homes via the letterbox, by inventors and wine-retailing entrepreneurs Santiago Navarro and Joe Revell. They set out to improve consumer convenience, cut the costs of failed deliveries, and help to reduce the near 1 million kilograms (2.2 million pounds) of carbon emissions associated with deliveries in the UK.


“As we are facing a climate emergency and existential threat, we urgently need to be making changes to products to slash their carbon footprint. Flattening the wine bottle saves space and making it from recycled PET saves weight and energy,” said Santiago Navarro, CEO and co-founder of Garçon Wines.

To bring their unique product to the U.S. Garçon is partnering with Amcor, a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging for food, beverage, pharmaceutical, medical, home- and personal-care, and other products. The company is focused on making packaging that is light-weight, recyclable, and reusable, and made using a rising amount of recycled content.

“We know today’s wine consumers are looking for a unique experience,” said Beth Rettig, vice president of spirits, wine and food, Amcor Rigid Packaging. “Amcor’s concepts are sleek, modern and perfectly matched to today’s lifestyle requirements for convenience and sustainability. PET bottles are unbreakable, beach- and pool-friendly, and the designs are only limited by the imagination.”

A 2018 Dow Packaging Innovation Awards Diamond Finalist, Garçon Wines’ flat wine bottle is expected to become widely available in the U.S. in the second half of 2020.

*With existing technologies including chemical recycling.

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Cline Big Break Vineyard Grenache

Big Break Vineyard
Grenache 2014Cline Cellars

Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world.  It ripens late, so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, where the grape most likely originated.

Cline’s Big Break Vineyard is named after a levee that collapsed over 80 years ago, flooding the surrounding local farmland near Oakley. The vineyard itself has extremely sandy and well-drained soils,  and is cooled by breezes from the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers. The century-old vines are dry farmed and head pruned.

The juice for this Grenache was fermented at moderate temperatures in stainless steel tanks, using a selection of cultured yeasts. After 10 days of gentle “pump-overs” and near dryness, the wine was drained and pressed from its skins.  This Big Break Grenache was minimally handled and aged for 12 months in new, medium-dark toasted French oak (approximately 38% new) before bottling .

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