Monday, May 31, 2010

Cleavage Creek 2008 Tracy Hills Reserve Chardonnay

cleavage creek chardI must admit that when I first saw “Cleavage Creek” wines for bid in an online auction to benefit Haiti relief, I kept on scrolling. Based on the name, I assumed that this was a misguided marketing ploy targeted at customers who like amusing “gag” wines.

My assumption was punctured when I read a review of some Cleavage Creek wines. Not only are the wines and winery good – they are the exact opposite of what I thought. Instead of a bottle of plonk that I would be embarrassed to serve (especially to women), the wines are delightful and their sale generates much needed revenue for breast cancer research.

The owner of California’s Cleavage Creek is self-made businessman and farmer Budge Brown. He lost his wife to breast cancer after 48 years of marriage. Brown purchased Cleavage Creek wines and put his business skills to work against breast cancer.
When I mentioned to Wine Chick and Sax Man, two tasting team members, that I brought some Cleavage Creek wine to sample and they saw a photo of a woman on the label, the snickers began. Upon explanation, the snickers turn to appreciation.

The label of each bottle of Cleavage Creek wine features the image of an actual breast cancer survivor whose story is told on the Cleavage Creek website.  “Putting a face on this disease and telling the stories of those who are dealing with it personalizes this and hopefully inspires everyone to take on the fight,” says Brown. 

Cleavage Creek makes a difference.  10% percent of the gross dollar amount of this operation is donated to cutting edge research to fight breast cancer.  That’s gross, not net—a huge difference when determining the amount of money that will be contributed. To date, Cleavage Creek and Budge Brown have donated over $72,300 to breast cancer causes. Money has gone to help women fighting breast cancer purchase medicine as well as found an oncology research center.

All this would be enough even if the wines weren’t exceptional. But they are.
Cleavage has vineyards in Napa as well as the new AVA Tracy Hills, which is where the reserve chardonnay comes from.

The wine is light in color with an oaky aroma. It has a classic chardonnay flavor with pear, roasted nuts and subtle oak. The reserve wine is aged in new French oak for 10 months. Sax man quipped that is a nice ecumenical wine – it can be enjoyed by those who love oakiness and those turned off by the big butter bombs. The flavor sneaks up underground and then emerges with a nice lingering finish.

We love Cleavage and think you will too.

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