What We Say 2006 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
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Mission Codename: 100% Love
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate philanthropic winery, Cleavage Creek Cellars, in Napa Valley, and return with their excellent Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Cleavage Creek Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Budge Brown
Backgrounder: Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon continues to dominate as the leader in California red wine. For good reason, too, as Napa produces some of the richest and most delicious examples on the planet. Today’s wine is a delicious treat from the Pope Valley AVA, in the mountainous (Mayacamas) north-eastern region of Napa County. Technically on the other side of the eastern mountains, the region is predominantly known for the Sangiovese grapes grown here, but the Cabernet Sauvignon that grows here is also superb.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – A garnet core leads outward to ruby hues which, in turn, leads to pretty ping edges. The wine has a bouncy, lofty appearance that springs around in the glass when you swirl the wine. As it settles, it leaves behind short, chubby tears that drift lazily toward the surface of the wine.
Smell – Classic Napa Cab aromas greet you on the nose, with a lovely floral component seems to prop up the cherry, blackberry and candied cherry notes. These all mingle with notes of spice, freshly ground espresso and a hint of minty lavender.
Feel – Smooth and dry, this medium to full-bodied wine has firm tannins and an easy minerality. Lively acidity enhances the delicious fruit and black pepper components found on the palate.
Taste – Lively and bright, with black cherry and black currants up front. These are quickly followed by black plum, stewed black fig, and blackberry. After you swallow the wine, earthen flavors take shape, delivering subtle mushroom, cedar, savory herbs and a soft, mineral-rich black pepper.
Finish – Long, bright and slightly dry, this wine’s bright red fruit lingers on the palate and then yields to darker flavors, spice and earthen components from the palate.
Conclusion – The 200 Cleavage Creek Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a fun, lively, approachable and nicely layered Cabernet that delivers a balanced drinking experience. Inhale the floral and fruit aromatics of the wine for a terrific preview of the flavors that are about to be delivered. As you sip the wine, layers of flavor are revealed as the acidity and spice of the wine enhance what you are tasting, amplifying flavors as you sip. Clean but still complex at the finish, this is a wine that will pair better than those heavy-handed Cabernet. Enjoy now or cellar for up to five years.
We were unable to secure an interview with Cleavage Creek’s winemaker, today. Please be sure to subscribe to our Daily Dispatch for alerts on upcoming wine sales. You never know when we’ll feature another delicious Cleavage Creek wine again….
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Cleavage Creek Winery vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Cleavage Creek Winery
Awards & Accolades:
Gold Medal – 2009 North of the Gate Wine Competition
Distinguished Gold Medal/Silver-Gold-Silver Medal – 2009 Lodi International Wine Awards
Silver Medal – San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
About This Wine:
The portrait of this regal wine is framed by an impeccable balance and smoothness that highlights the traditional mannerisms of a Cabernet Sauvignon. The expression she reveals is delightful. Her stately glance of pepper and cherry opens into a recognizable smile that hints of coffee, hibiscus, lavender and violet. She is carefully tended to by the unique flavors of chantrelles and coconut.
About The Winery:
Budge Brown’s Cleavage Creek Wines
Budge Brown, successful self-made businessman and farmer, enjoyed 48 years of marriage with his wife Arlene. When she died of breast cancer in 2005, he was devastated. Devastation turned to anger. Anger lead to action. Budge Brown is mad as hell at breast cancer, and he’s determined to do whatever he can to help find a cure for it. He doesn’t want what happened in his life to happen to anyone else. “My wife died for no damn good reason. It’s time to do something about this,” stresses Brown.
These are strong, passionate words. Budge Brown is very passionate about his Cleavage Creek wines and using them to fund research for a cure for breast cancer.
Brown has turned to using his fine Cleavage Creek wines to wage his attack on breast cancer. He’s put his money, business acumen, and energy where his passion lies. Ever the astute business opportunist, Brown purchased the Cleavage Creek wine label. On October 15th, 2007, he released the first generation of the Budge Brown era of Cleavage Creek wines. The response was overwhelming. National and international press provided immediate coverage via television, magazines, newspapers, and the internet. ABC’s Good Morning America traveled to the Pope Valley vineyard in Napa wine country to film a feature piece that aired to an international audience.
The Cleavage Creek look is distinctive and significant. 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 crusade.” offers Brown.
Budge Brown intends to see that Cleavage Creek makes a difference. 10% of gross sales is donated to cutting edge research to fund a cure for breast cancer. That is 10% of sales before any profit is realized. Gross, not net makes a big difference when determining the amount of money that will be contributed. To date, Cleavage Creek and Budge Brown have donated over $73,000 to fund breast cancer research and support.
“I am delighted about the contributions and efforts to fund a cure for breast cancer that Cleavage Creek has funded. A great deal of research went into making these choices. We’re monitoring these closely.”
Cleavage Creek wines have made significant contributions:
$40,000 to establish an Integrative Oncology Research Center for breast cancer. – Funding from Cleavage Creek Winery enabled the establishment of the Integrated Oncology Research Center which opened in February 2009. Located on the campus of Bastyr University in Kenmore Washington, a Seattle suburb, this outpatient facility provides state-of-the-science and state-of-the-art naturopathic and traditional Chinese medicine treatment and integrated management of cancer patients. The new clinic offers comprehensive support and treatment for each stage of the cancer patient’s experience, from diagnosis, treatment decisions, and restoration of immune function and health after completion of standard treatment. It was founded to improve the quality of life of individuals living with cancer, reduce the risk of cancer recurrence, and track the effectiveness of complementary, alternative and integrative therapies in treating the disease.
$17,500 Payment for care of 2 breast cancer patients
Dr. Lois Johnson, an oncologist in Santa Rosa, Ca., specializes in homeopathic and natural medicines to treat women diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Johnson works with patients in all stages of treatment as well as with other oncologists so that women can have integrated treatment. Cleavage Creek is sponsoring three woman in Dr. Johnson’s care, purchasing the natural medicines for these patients during her term of treatment since these types of medicines are not usually covered by insurance. The cost for a year’s worth of medicine for each woman is estimated to be $7,000.00 per patient.
$14,800 Sutter Breast Cancer Center, Santa Rosa, California – These funds go towards the purchase of Dedicated Breast MRI Technology, an Aurora Breast MRI System. This MRI technology detects tumors that are not typically identified by mammograms, especially those found in denser breasts of younger women or, in some cases, tumors, which develop in high-risk women or those with a strong family history of the disease. Unlike mammograms, which utilize X-rays, Aurora uses MRI technology to detect breast cancer.
Cleavage Creek Contribution Enables $3.1 million Research Grant – As a result of Cleavage Creek’s contributions which established the Integrative Oncology Research Center, further funding for cutting edge breast cancer research has been enabled.
The Integrative Oncology Research Center and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center at the University of Washington in Seattle received a $3.1 million grant in 2010 for the study of complementary and integrative care for breast cancer. The grant, awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), will officially fund a project titled “Breast Cancer Integrative Oncology: Prospective Matched Controlled Outcomes Study.”
The five-year award will allow clinical investigators at the Integrative Oncology Research Center and the Hutchinson Center to undertake a rigorous outcomes-based research study. The investigators will track clinical outcomes for participants with breast cancer who, in addition to standard conventional care, receive integrative care at the Integrative Oncology Research Center . Those outcomes will then be compared with outcomes for participants with breast cancer who do not receive integrative care along with conventional care. This is a first-of-its-kind study. Researchers hope to learn more about the effectiveness of integrative, holistic treatments and any vital role they might play in effectively treating breast cancer with minimal negative repercussions.
Our History – The Brown era of Cleavage Creek wines began with 8 wines in the first year. All were introduced on October 15th, 2007. Among the wines released were a Napa Cabernet, a Napa Petite Sirah, a Cabernet-Syrah, a Merlot, a Merlot-Shiraz and a Chardonnay, all grown in Budge’s own vineyards, as well as a Secret Red and a Secret White. Approximately 2,000 cases of wine were produced in the first year.
The 2nd generation of Brown’s Cleavage Creek wines were released on October 4th, 2008. This release included 6 wines: a Napa Cabernet, a Napa Petite Sirah, a Chardonnay, a Cabernet Syrah, a Secret White, and a Secret Red. Approximately 1,600 cases were produced.
The 3rd and most recent generation of Brown’s Cleavage Creek wines was released October 1st, 2009 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Approximately 1,900 cases of 6 wines have been produced: a Napa Cabernet, a Napa Petite Sirah, a Chardonnay, a Merlot-Shiraz, a Secret White, and a Secret Red.
All Cleavage Creek wines are available for purchase on the website and in retail establishments where noted. Wines are priced in the $18 – $50 range.
Buying a wine label and creating top quality wines seems like a tremendous amount of work for one person to take on. Budge Brown doesn’t see it as such. “I didn’t have to do this,” he says. “I have a passion to do it.” Although making a donation to the charity of his choice might make more sense to some people, Brown believes that Cleavage Creek wines will have much more of an impact. “The world is full of people who enjoy good wines,” says Brown. “When they buy Cleavage Creek products, they can select from award winning wines while helping to find a cure for breast cancer. Everybody wins. When people learn about Cleavage Creek and the motivation behind it, well, if it reminds one person to go for a checkup, do a self-examination, or become more informed, we’re accomplishing our goal of saving lives. The cure for breast cancer may not come in my lifetime, but the mere existence of Cleavage Creek could bring it along sooner rather than later. Job done.”
“I am very proud of the quality of our Cleavage Creek wines,” notes Brown. “Wines from our first 2 years of operation have won 28 medals in national and international contests. The 2009 releases have been equally outstanding. These are seriously good wines doing seriously good work.”
New Tasting Room & Winery – Future plans for Cleavage Creek vineyards in Napa are ambitious, but then Budge Brown rarely thinks small. A new winery and tasting room just steps from the growing vines opened in November, 2010. A special meditation flower garden overlooking a lake has been built to honor the late Arlene Brown. Her favorite flowers are planted there, including over 220,000 daffodils, 10,000 iris, California poppies, a host of wild flowers, thousands of tulips, and roses. “I want people to visit Cleavage Creek and celebrate life and health,” says Brown. “There’s no better way to do that than with a fine wine and the company of those who are a part of the fight.” Brown looks forward to hosting events and celebrating survival. “We have to move forward,” he insists. “The optimal way to do that is by focusing on a cure. It can happen, and it will happen. Cleavage Creek is dedicated to working for a cure for breast cancer. We’re in it to win it. We produce award winning wines for a life saving cause.”
Budge Brown speaks with great passion of the Cleavage Creek Wine Club. There is a special category of the club for those who have conquered breast cancer. Brown believes that not only should those with breast cancer survive, but they should thrive as well. Members in this category are called “Sur-Thrivers.” “A diagnosis is no longer a death sentence,” affirms Brown. “Our motto at Cleavage Creek is ‘Live to Love Life’.”
Continuing the Fight – Brown does ongoing research to select recipients of his philanthropy. As usual, he thinks outside the box. He seeks information on cutting edge research. He’s interested in potential holistic treatments, and wants to know what has worked for those with the disease. He discounts no approach as long as the results can be verified. “Who’s to say where the cure will come from,” suggests Brown. “We don’t rule anything out. We’re open to what works. The time has come for those with breast cancer to have viable options beyond killer drugs and treatments. As it is now, when the treatment can do as much harm as the disease, it’s time to re-evaluate the game plan.” His eyes glisten when he speaks of the horrific side affects that his wife Arlene suffered in her seven-year battle with breast cancer. “Filling the body full of poisons and hoping that the cancer goes away just isn’t good enough.” Information about research and treatments is posted to the Cleavage Creek website. Brown is proud that the site is a resource for those in need of information. He hopes that anyone diagnosed with breast cancer will explore all of their treatment options.
Frequently, friends and business associates who have learned of Budge Brown’s commitment to Cleavage Creek offer to make a contribution to his efforts. However, he adamantly turns down any monetary donations. “I don’t want anyone’s money,” he insists. “I want to sell great wine, give a portion of our gross to the best sources for a cure, raise awareness, and celebrate survival. Everybody wins.”
Budge Brown has grown crops of grapes, apricots, and almonds for well over 40 years. But his current cultivation, spearheading a search for a cure for breast cancer, may very well be his greatest harvest.