Surprise! Another newsletter ... after a harrowing wine-season of wind and rain. The grapes were quite a bit different due to the cooler summer and early rain, but all in all, very good results!

It comes with pleasure that we earned a Platinum for our 2007 SyrBec and a Gold for the 2007 Cabernet Franc at the prestigious 2009 Sommelier's Challenge in San Diego.

We have a pre-Thanksgiving Fall Release. There are two wines this time (instead of the usual 4 to 6), both of which pair with turkey-day fixings (and stand great on their own). Our first-ever Bordeaux master blend "Bodaeceia" More below, but it is absolutely scrumptious.

Take a look at our CUSTOM LABELS for your holiday gift idea! Either send us your own artwork, or we can customize one of our designs. Great looking!

Finally, check out the upcoming events calendar below...


We entered our 2007 SyrBec® and our 2007 Cabernet Franc in the San Diego Sommelier's Challenge wine tasting competition - and both won in their category! The 2007 SyrBec® took Platinum in the proprietary blended wine segment (which is the top honor), and the 2007 Cabernet Franc, took Gold, which is one of two equal winners for its same-named category.

Our wonderful Friends of the Monkey have been telling us how good the SyrBec® and the Cabernet Franc were, but it is certainly reassuring to hear it from trained sommelier professionals as well. This excellent showing is encouraging us to compete anew in the 2010 new year.


The NOVEMBER Wine Club packs are ready. This release is only a 2 bottle box - highlighting the absolutely stunning Bodaeceia (pronounced "bow-DAY-shuh"), our $60.00 reserve 2007 Bordeaux blend, and the 2008 Fumé Blanc.

BODAECIA - The Queen of Brittania's Iceni

On three hard evenings (ha-ha), our tasting team went through dozens of combinations of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Mouvedre to see if we could compose a classic California-French Bordeaux styled vintage.

The blending was quite a challenge - every varietal pulled the flavor in its direction, but also away from where the others were headed. After 27 trials, we had a very special blend of Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Mouvedre that was the hands-down winner. Soft, velvety, smooth, assertively tannic, modestly fruity, deeply oaky, filled full of spices, toasted wheat, perfectly balanced between "dry" and "rich". As our winemaker, all I can say is YUM.

The name Bodaeceia was researched by Phil Moss, and won the "naming competition": Princess Bodaeceia (Bodaccei, AD 42-62, Iceni kingdom, Brittania) came to be known for her strength of character, her willingness to defend the Iceni from the Romans, and we felt that it parallels the wine's strength and sturdy straight backbone.

Blended of the "Golden Barrels" (the best of each variety chosen), this opus is by far one of the best Bordeaux styled wines we have made, but quite possibly one of the best that Bob remembers tasting in the last 20 years. Expect this to age gracefully for many years in a well tempered cellar, or simply drink in accompaniment to a festive dinner anytime soon.


This definitively crisp and clean wine is perfect for fish and veggies: it is simultaneously light and dry, yet aromatic with citrus and fine oak on a herbaceous backdrop. When presented at room temperature (compared to its normally chilled style), it develops lovely red-wine complexity. So much so, that our inveterate "red-only" drinkers have even bought bottles! No finer recommendation needed!




Nov 14
Nov 15

1-4 PM


Bodaeceia and Fumé Blanc
• $20 wine & food pairing, club members. $25/person non-club.

Nov 21
Nov 22
12-5 PM


• Thanksgiving Special - very special just-bottled wines for Thanksgiving. These will not be "released", but only available here at the winery.

Dec 12
Dec 13
12-5 PM


• Winter 2009 Release. Note - Bodaeceia will also be poured at this release

Dec 19
Dec 20
12-5 PM


• Who knows ... special tastings? One-of-a-kind winemakers reserves?



Irish Monkey Cellars has become known for custom-labeling ... so much so that several customers recommended us to offer custom labels. Have you considered custom labels for your holiday wine gifts? As an introductory offer, we will take your custom art and print it on quality label stock, then affix it to the bottles for a minimum of a case of a single variety. The cost is $10 for the first case, with no additional charges for 2 or more cases. Of course, case-discounts apply.

If you design your own label ... make sure it is presented in "300 dots per inch (DPI)" format. JPEG or Photoshop files are fine - as long as the 300 DPI (or higher) resolution is adhered to. If you want to use one of our labels, we will print at this resolution and fill in the black custom message from your copy.

File Sizing Specs:

• Must be rectangular or square
• Must be 300 to 600 DPI
• Should be a minimum of 2.5 inches (7 cm) both horizontally and vertically
• Use JPEG (at "high" resolution) or TIFF or Photoshop or EPS
• Use RGB, not CMYK (designers will understand - if you don't don't worry!)


We are looking forward to see you at the upcoming events, and especially to have you pick up your pre-Thanksgiving release. The amazing character of the two selected wines will totally compliment your holiday plans, and we're excited to have your feedback by email!

We're pleased to announce that our wines are now being sold at...

• Adagia - Berkeley
• Angela's - Alameda
• Asena - Alameda
• Paradiso - San Leandro
• Dragon Rouge - Alameda
• Kasuga - Albany
• China Village - Albany

• Nob Hill Foods - Alameda


The 2009 vintage year from a growers perspective is essentially over. The extended rain a few weeks ago damaged some growers' crops, but by and large, we were still able to pick the fruit we needed in every region. The weather got us worried, to be sure, yet the early results are promising.

All but the Petit Verdot has been pressed and is in vat (settling) waiting for barrels to open up. The "musical chairs" nature of winemaking relies on freeing up vessels (barrels, vats) by blending and bottling. We are "full up" in every area - our barrels are full, the vats are full, and the modest amount of PV left to press ... has a reserved vat, waiting. So ... expect a bottling soon!

My view (Bob) is that the vintage will be very good, lower in alcohol, more 'brisk' than in big hot Indian Summer type years. The grapes had quite a cool growing season, so they are already showing powerful fruitiness, of the crisp, clean type. Since the naturally warmer regions also had a cooler and more moderate growing season, the depth of color is excellent, across the board. (Paradoxically, the hotter the weather, the less dark purple coloring have the grapes.) We're definitely looking forward to see how the newly added varieties will come together.

Bob & Loreta
(510) 915-5463 cell
(510) 533-3349 office phone & voice-messages