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    Secret Handshakes - Napa Valley Merlot w/ Cacao & Vanilla Beans

    Tasting Note: “Like a ‘Barstucks' mocha, but better and with… wine.”

    Format: Four 250mL can packs = 1L (33% more than a bottle!)

    Varietals: 97% Merlot, 3% Malbec

    ABV: 15%

    AVA: Napa Valley

    Additions: Cacao nibs, Papua New Guinea vanilla beans

    Production Notes: Unfined and unfiltered.  We added the cacao and vanilla beans a few weeks before packaging in mesh bags, and tasted it daily until the right amount of extraction occurred.  We then pulled the ingredients out of the wine.  Extraction time ended up being 5 days.

    Personal Notes: When I told my family I wanted to move to Napa and start making crazy wines, they took it pretty well. When I told them I wanted to make a wine with cacao & vanilla, a seed of doubt was planted.  The wine is outstanding to start with, already exhibiting subtle cocoa & vanilla flavors. The addition of the cacao adds a plush mouthfeel with a hint of roast and tannin, and the vanilla lends sandalwood & burnt caramel. I hope this is the wine that gives me permission to add more fun non-grape ingredients to wine. — Patrick Rue

    The Name: The secret handshake is what draws the line between a friend and a best friend; those on the inside vs. those on the outside. If you get this wine, you’re in our inner circle. Congratulations.

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