Retail Fine Wine at Leland Little
New California
Beyond Napa Valley
If you, like me, enjoy reading about wine almost as much as drinking it, it can sometimes feel as though every day there is a new “hidden gem” or “up-and-coming” region to keep an eye on. It often seems impossible to keep up with the constant deluge of new locales, grapes, and winemakers garnering acclaim. Occasionally, though, there are wines that are truly too good not to make a fuss about, and today, I am going to jump into the fray and tell you about two California winemakers striking into the (semi) unknown. Napa Valley and Sonoma County will never go out of style, but it’s time to talk about Suisun Valley and San Benito County.
2021 Caymus-Suisun Grand Durif $49

World-renowned Caymus Vineyards recently launched their new Caymus-Suisun label, complete with a brand new winery and tasting room just over the county line from Napa. The Suisun Valley gained AVA status all the way back in 1982, but it has traditionally been populated by small family farms and is best known for growing stone fruits and walnuts, not grapes. All that is changing, though, especially with a big name like Caymus entering the picture.

The 2021 Caymus-Suisun Grand Durif is made with 100% Petite Sirah (also known as Durif). The rich soils in the Suisun Valley are particularly conducive to Petite Sirah, producing a full, dark wine that smells like black fruits, crushed flowers, and spice. On the palate, it is soft and elegant, with velvety tannins and a delicious peppery note. The Caymus name will certainly go a long way to growing this brand, but I promise you that this wine is good enough to stand on its own two feet.
2021 Paysan 'Old Vines' Cabernet Sauvignon $25

In San Benito County, Ian Brand of I Brand Winery has committed himself to farming off the beaten path, seeking out remote, challenging vineyards on the edge of viable farm land. His wines are inspired by unpretentious, supremely drinkable French country wines and his style harkens back to the classic California wines of the 1970s, bringing a refreshing counterpoint to some of the over-the-top fruit-bomb Cabernets we’ve all become familiar with in recent years.

If you attended some of our events in the fall, you may have had a chance to taste this 2021 Paysan ‘Old Vines’ Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s been an all-around favorite since we first brought it into the retail shop last summer. The grapes are sourced from three different vineyard sites, the youngest of which is 45 years old. The wine is intensely flavored, but surprisingly light and fresh, with an ABV of only 13.2%. Full of brambleberries, cherries, and a pleasantly herbaceous, spicy backbone, it’s guaranteed to please almost any wine drinker, and at an exceptionally reasonable price.

Did one (or more) of these wines pique your interest? There are multiple ways to order with us! If you place your purchase through our online store, we’ll be happy to package and hold your bottles for you to pick up at your convenience. You can also email us and ask us to set aside any bottles you’re interested in picking up at a later date. If you have any questions or would like to make special arrangements such as shipping, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (919) 644-1243.

Contact the Retail Fine Wine Store
Julia Kelley-Swift

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620 Cornerstone Ct. Hillsborough, NC 27278
Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm
Closed Saturday & Sunday