Where To Buy New Clairvaux Wine _BEST_
New Clairvaux Vineyard has been growing grapes since the year 2000 when the Abbey of New Clairvaux and Phil Sunseri partnered to create New Clairvaux Vineyard and revitalize grape growing and winemaking in Vina.
where to buy new clairvaux wine
In addition to growing in quantity, the winery continues to win top awards in several leading national and international wine competitions. They are pioneers in grape growing, being the first to grow two Greek varieties, Assyrtiko and Moschofilero in the United States.
Since producing their first bottles in 2003, the winery has been run by two groups of partners: Cistercian Monks who call the property home, and the Sunseri family, descendants of early California winemaker Anton Nichelini.
The stones were originally intended for his Mccloud property, but like most Americans living during the Great Depression, Hearst was struggling financially. When the city of San Francisco charged him for the storage of the stones, Hearst bit the bullet and let the city keep them. During their time in storage, the boxes the stones were stored in caught fire multiple times and were eventually transported to Golden Gate Park where they sat in the public eye until the 1990s.
Like grape vines, the tales of New Clairvaux soon became intertwined with one another. As 800-year-old Cistercian stones sat in San Francisco, attracting rain and graffiti, Cistercian monks on the other side of the country were ready to impart on the journey of a lifetime.
Davis ended up in San Francisco where he stayed with a family friend for a couple of days. According to Adams, one day, while driving through the city, Davis and his host passed through Golden Gate Park. Adams is alleged to have pointed out a pile of large stones, a pile that just so happened to previously have been the literal building blocks of a Trappist-Cistercian monastery.
Once they returned, Adams said that the Abbott asked Sunseri what he was going to do with his land. He told the monk that his family had a history of winemaking and that he was going to plant a vineyard. The Monks, who had a rich history of grape growing and winemaking themselves, followed suit and planted a sister vineyard on their property. Today, these lots are known as Poor Souls and St. James.
Today, New Clairvaux produces around 13,000 cases of wine a year, made from numerous grape varieties. The grapes are aged in stainless steel tanks, as well as French, American and Hungarian oak barrels.
The vineyards grow grapes from all across Europe, from reds like petite Sirah to whites like their award-winning Viognier. In 2011, New Clairvaux made history when it became the first winery in the U.S. to grow the acclaimed Assyrtiko variety, a type of grape from the Greek island of Santorini.
In order to keep the two types of wine distinct from each other, Aimée and Phil needed to create a new label. After submitting their idea to the designer, Phil made some last-minute changes and surprised his daughter by naming the new wine after her.
Between working in a profession she loves, carrying on a long-standing family legacy and having a name that literally brings forth the image of renowned wine, what more is there for her to accomplish?
Leland Stanford had a vineyard on the property as far back as 1881, and Stanford's winery building still stands on the grounds. In 2000, the New Clairvaux Vineyard was planted. The monastery began to sell its wine in 2005.
In 2011, the abbey planted the Greek varieties assyrtiko and moschofilero (quarter-acre each) alongside its tempranillo, albariño and syrah. The cuttings of those Greek varieties were imported in the USA in 1948 by Harold Olmo, grape breeder at the University of California, Davis, where they were stored until the abbey of New Clairvaux took interest in the 2000s.
The tasting room will be similar to the one at the monastery in vina. But, General Manager John Adams says, unlike this one, it will feature full glasses of up to 31 different New Clairvaux wines; possibly paired with locally-produced food.
Allen Knott of K2 Market Street Development, LLC, partner owner of the Market Street building, also seems excited for this new development. In reference to the winery coming into their location, he said:
They say it's rich Roman Catholic vinicultural history dates back to nearly a thousand years. Most of New Clairvaux's wines come from the vineyards at the monastery in vina. The monks work to produce it with some outside help.
The St. James vineyard at the Abbey of New Clairvaux. The 20 brothers of the abbey belong to an order with a tradition of winemaking that dates back nearly 900 years. Lisa Morehouse for NPR hide caption
In a tiny Northern California town called Vina, there's a winery that's definitely off the beaten track. That might be because this region's better known for olive groves and cattle ranches than grapes. For these, vintners, though, it's spiritual work.
When I visit New Clairvaux winery, two people are filtering wine, getting it ready for bottling. On the surface, they make an odd pair. One is Aimee Sunseri, the winemaker heading up operations here. The other is Brother Christopher Cheney, a monk. He grew up in California's wine country, but never thought he'd make the stuff, until a religious conversion led him to the Abbey of New Clairvaux in 2004, just a few years after the brothers planted grapes.
Brother Rafael Florez is in the abbey's St. James vineyard, wearing the work uniform of jeans and a navy sweatshirt to prune vines. When he came here from Ecuador 18 years ago, he'd been seeking the right religious order for all of his adult life. He also had no experience with grapes, but he's part of a long legacy of Cistercian vintners. European monks of their order have made wine for nearly 900 years, including at one of the most celebrated wineries in the world, Clos de Vougeot. For Brother Rafael this work and his vocation go hand in hand.
Bother Rafael has a lot to contend with on the vineyard. It gets unrelentingly hot here, without the cool nights of other California wine regions. Then there's the soil: deep, moist, and sandy. That seems great to the outsider, but wine grapes do best in rocky soil, where they have to work harder to grow. Brother Rafael says he can spend 20 minutes removing leaves from a row of vines, and when he goes back to the beginning of the row, the leaves have already started to grow back. "It's very labor intense."
Aimee Sunseri is the winemaker at New Clairvaux. Her family has made wine in California for five generations. Working in rural Vina is a challenge she enjoys, she says. "I really love working with the brothers. They fulfill something in my life, and they've got some core values I hope rub off on me." Lisa Morehouse for NPR hide caption
Even better than Leland Stanford. In the late 1800s the railroad baron and one-time California governor created the Great Vina Ranch here, planting 4,000 acres. It was the world's largest vineyard at the time. He did pretty well with brandy, but not with wine.
For many people, thinking about the distant history of wine evokes images of monks labouring in the vineyards and cellars of their monasteries. The best-known of these monks is undoubtedly Dom Pérignon, still often thought to have invented (or discovered) sparkling wine in Champagne. But the story of Dom Pérignon as the founding father of fizz is fanciful fiction, made up 150 years after he died.
The wines at New Clairvaux are made by Aimée Sunseri, a fifth-generation wine-maker whose family has made wine in the area since the late 1800s. New Clairvaux makes a wide range of reds, whites, and rosés. For the most part, the vineyards and winery are staffed by the monks, who also serve in the tasting room.
"It's really a problem," observes Aimée Sunseri, winemaker of the Cistercian monastery of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, which today is pretty much the only thing going in Vina (pronounced vy-nah). "In some places the deep loam topsoil can be 20 feet thick. It's too rich. And then, of course, there's the challenge of the heat."
The former Vina Ranch was sold off in pieces, and in 1955 the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky purchased 586 acres of it for $1 million to create a new monastery, the Abbey of New Clairvaux. That then-substantial sum got them not only land, but also all of the old brick buildings that had housed Stanford's wine dream.
"Every time I go to Napa Valley to my family winery," reflects Ms. Sunseri, "I'm struck by how easy it is to grow grapes and make fine wine in Napa. I mean, compared to what we struggle with here, the grapes in Napa just show up with pretty much all the right acidity and ripeness and flavor. I never really grasped that until I started making wine here at New Clairvaux about eight years ago."
"Recently, we got cuttings from U.C., Davis, of the Greek varieties Assyrtiko and Moschofilero," she reports. Assyrtiko is a white grape indigenous to the Greek island of Santorini. Despite having a reddish skin, Moschofilero typically is used to create a white wine, as is done with Pinot Gris, which also has a light red skin.
In the meantime, the wines of New Clairvaux are, perhaps inevitably, a bit of a mixed bag. After all, this is hardly one of California's predestined-for-greatness sites, where one has a right to expect even early efforts to shine.
For this taster, the Petite Sirah performs best, delivering a savory, spicy, true-to-the-variety muscularity. New Clairvaux's most popular wine, according to Ms. Sunseri, is the Albariño, which retains the signature acidity of the variety but is made in an off-dry style that renders it more easy-down-the-gullet than characterful. Still, it's early days and a Cistercian monastery is, if nothing else, in it for the very long haul.
Talking with Father Paul Mark Schwan, the Abbot of New Clairvaux, it became clear that wine for the monks is not merely a practical agricultural pursuit (along with 150 acres each of walnuts and prunes), but something spiritual as well. 041b061a72