Mika Toke
January 1, 2020 | Newsletters | Mika Toke

Spring 2020 Newsletter



Sansa Stark provocatively draped in turmeric dusted sunflowers swaying in the sun, her radiant hue is all about golden honey; and once you are done staring, you will find that her melliferous core fully satisfies the olfactory modality of any well-developed proboscis as she dances up your nostrils with grand swirls of apples baked with allspice and vanilla, quince, froot loops and rosemary. Now savor those lovely lashings upon your tongue of crème brûlée sprinkled about with flakes of pink Himalayan salt, and you will surely be enchanted by the globules of bitter-sweet marmalade as you ponder this classy lady’s flinty bite, with her toothsome demeanor balanced by a touch of humus, celery seed and ripe stone fruit, and now let the luscious sup go down the gullet. Alas, a picayune 68 cases of Sansa were left beyond the bottles allocated for your Elliptical Shipment.

notes by john munch, wineherd & plenipotentiary

VINEYARDS | 77% Kruse Vineyard + 23% Cain Vineyard


The sun slowly starts its set above the painted desert, splashing multitudinous colors as if from a giant brush, stroked in a sinuous motion across the raw and dangerous American West. In bunches dangling from strings, dark blood-red chilis adorn entranceways, hanging and swinging from square nails in the slight monsoonal breeze. Clouds whisk across the skies, a sense of cool developing in the late evening air. A pinon feather finds its slow way down to earth. From a passing hawk perhaps? Now, how did the day slip so far along, he wonders? It’s time to seek shelter for the night, and the pungent smoke of a mesquite wood fire, loose tobacco rolled between callused but competent fingers into impossibly thin cigarettes. The smell of horse sweat, wool blankets, charred flesh and bone, sage, flint and tanned leather are constants. This is the land of the old spirits; they came with the moon, the sun and the stars, wind, water and Mother Earth. Succor may be found by those living in balance and harmony with nature. This world is no place for fools.

notes by clay selkirk, winemaker & all-around cowboy

BL E N D | 39% Grenache + 23% Syrah + 23% Mourvedre + 15% Petite Sirah

2016 SYRAH

This brooding suit of lights will beguile you with a swaying muleta of dark garnet, ruby and blue-hued mahogany scented with Parma violets dipped in chocolate, blood orange peel, iodine rubbed leather, musk, and all fully integrated within a panoply of sun-herbs laced with pungent black pepper. The irresistible dry-sweet structure will temp your tongue to fill your mouth with oodles of dried plums wrapped in mordacious rosemary. Here you have all of the sweat, blood-thrill and verve of a Córdoban corrida whirling with dust and loud cries of olé rising up from your tonsils in the late afternoon sun. Very macho, indeed!

notes by john munch, wineherd & plenipotentiary

VINEYARDS | 95.69 % Saint Peter of Alcantara Syrah 

                        + 4.31% Kirk-Landry Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon


Silver light reflects off rain-slicked cobbles, smooth as sea serpent scales seen through the thick grey-blue fog, opaque and mysterious, winding down sinuous streets and alleys, ultimately opening onto the rough-hewn beams of wooden docks jutting out into the bay. Saltwater gently laps against tar covered pilings, as a growing clamor begins to pierce that moist maritime blanket; the day’s catch announced and argued over. Deep purple sea urchins split in two as if miniature worlds torn asunder, molten rich cores exposed, delicate and delectable, fresh with the bite of brine from whence they came. This wine simply secretes blueberry, rooibos tea and hoisin sauce liberally dolloped in a hearty duck phö soup; topped with purple basil, kefir lime, and served under pink and white blossomed cherry trees, petals fluttering as they are dislodged to blanket all that lies beneath their outstretched branches. No wine could be as happy as this; friendly as furry drooling Newfoundlands bounding down the docks in lead of their owners, a full day of fishing ahead. Vanilla, cassis and a mixture of smoke from the outboard motor; two speckled hens sit in cages. Meaty with a dusky mouthfeel, cola and dark chocolate, camphor, watercress, mushrooms, lemongrass, and seaweed. Ahh, what a life, to enjoy a simple existence in a small fishing village on the bay, moving about by boat, calm waters ideal for traveling amongst the tight-knit oceanic community. Take a sip and savor the bounty of the seas.

notes by clay selkirk, winemaker & all-around cowboy

VINEYARDS | 50% Kirk-Landry Vineyard + 27% Loma Seca Vineyard + 23% 4 Hearts Vineyard


As wick and intense as Lala Palooza pressed from ultra-ripe Kordia cherries, darker than fresh ink made from smashed black pluots, and as brightly jammy as vanilla scented blackberries topped with green and pink peppercorns. Throw in a few green stems for good measure, with a judicious bunch of rhubarb too, and then there’s that peck basket filled with lip-smacking olallieberry and cassis juice dribbled across spruce shavings in a barn hung about with well-worn leather tack and bundles of sweet tobacco leaf. Trip the light fantastic with that special friend of yours, and you will stir up drifting wafts of romantic iris eddying within a cloud of cinnamon scented cocoa powder. Prudence serves no purpose in this glass!

notes by john munch, wineherd & plenipotentiary

VINEYARD | 100% Kirk-Landry Vineyard



Restless and varied as the Berlin art scene. A cuvée full of energy, big dreams, and youthful exuberance. New, yet profoundly old, reborn again as a phoenix rises from its ashes, its identity realized; forged and alternately transmuted from ideals thought long lost. It hearkens to eras gone by, its roots reaching way way back. Exotic cashmere, frankincense, 20’s era cocktails, an Old Fashioned with a twist, Sazeracs, orange zest bitters, humidors, leather armchairs and the attentive service of a fine cigar shop. Peat wood smoke emanating from a blackened chimney, minced meat pies sitting on window’s ledge; kumquat, yellow curry with potato, lychee. This time traveler is a rediscovered enjoyment. You will not know what you were missing until, once again you become lost within its copious folds. Like hide and seek in Grandma’s closet, trinkets and treats secreted away in pockets, dragonfruit, blackberry, boysenberry, raspberry and anise, sherry vinaigrette, and…gasp, silk lingerie! Its colors would rival a whirling and twirling Bohemian skirt. This boisterous blend is a wanderer, an adventurer, a vagabond personified. Its and our ties in life are impermanent. It exists for the world of artists and writers, musicians and actors. Immeasurably full of vibrancy, it calls out; reject the trappings of wealth and materialism, emulate Dionysus. Do not wait to experience this wine of pure pleasure, for in great quantity it exists not. Long live hedonism!

notes by clay selkirk, winemaker & all-around cowboy

BLEND | 67% Zinfandel + 33% Petite Sirah


wine spotlight // the convulated origins of the Red Bat Cuvée

Way back in 2005 we blended and bottled our first Red Bat Cuvée, which we labeled The Mighty Murcielago. As I’m sure you are fully aware, “murciélago” is Spanish for “bat,” so the name is most appropriate. I am now ashamed to say that I lacked faith in my own tongue and judgment, and despite the fact that I was totally delighted with the blend, I reluctantly decided to hold back a significant portion of the wine in barrel. Why? Because it was forcefully argued by less sophisticated sensibilities that the bat branding would be provocative at best, and fiscally dangerous at worst, for (as I was repeatedly informed) most people are not as enchanted with “flying rats” as I am. Thus, I hedged. Bats, by the way, are not even remotely related to rodents, but there’s no denying that they do suffer from bad press, with fake reports of bats getting tangled in the hair of frizzy-headed people walking through graveyards on dark nights, or the supposed tendency of bats to suckle blood from unwary slumberers by moonlight, and the like.

However, in the end I insisted on the Bat name because I strongly wanted to support my chiropteran friends, so despite objections I ordered our first Bat Labels. After all, other wineries gave their support to saving the whales, or protecting the three-toed spotted newt, so why not bats? Indeed, a portion of the sales from the original Red Bat Cuvée was donated to Bat Conservation International, a fine organization based in Austin, Texas.

Sweet vindication! Despite the nay-sayers, our first Red Bat Cuvée developed a quick and devoted following, and thus a number of additional Red Bat blends were bottled over the years, but then we ceased making the blend for reasons that I can no longer recall. Oh, my! The outcry, the complains, the misery, and there arose a growing demand that we Bring Back The Bat, and this we have done, and now you know the full story, the odd little history of how a chance blend with a serendipitous name can find a warm nest within so many vinous hearts. So, now you have it, the return of The Mighty Murcielago , wherein you will discover the following charming elements of oenological essence:

2016 Red Bat Cuvée – smoldering red silk pajamas in your glass, marzipan & sweet black plums, pencil lead, kumquat & boysenberry fluttering up your nostrils, & there’s your tongue all bespattered with red pepper flakes & anise. As joy-filled & amusing as watching a cross-dressed Bela Lugosi in lingerie twirling to the Dance Macabre in a well-stocked cigar shop.




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