Thursday, March 16, 2006

Cleavage Creek: just a wine for macho winos?

No, this picture is not an Ad for one of these sexy Victoria Secret tops. This is a wine label from Cleavage Creek Cellars, a winery owned by Jeff and Barbara Conners of Sonoma County, California. The couple had been home winemakers for many years until 2003 when they decided to start their own wine business.

I learned about this winery in one of Dr Vino's recent posts. And then I read that the label might be in violation of the Wine Institute's voluntary Code of Advertising Standards. The label was considered to be degrading to women and tacky.

“We wanted a label that was eye-catching and would stand out. If you look at wine labels from 20 feet away, they all kind of blend together on the shelf.” explained Jeff Conners, one of the winery owners, to the Wines & Vines publication, “We found a way we can help fund breast cancer research with a fun name, a fun look and an award-winning wine.”

In 1999, Jeff and Barbara Conners learned that Barbara's grandmother developed breast cancer. Thanks to early detection and modern technology, she is now a breast cancer survivor, but breast cancer could be hereditary and someday affect Barbara or her daughters. Therefore, the winery donates 10% of its proceeds to Breast Cancer Research.

The Conners purchase wine from wineries in Northern California. Then the juice is blended and bottled at Cleavage Creek. Their Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay come from Napa Valley grapes, their Sauvignon blanc is from Mendocino County, and their White Zinfandel is a California appellation. Four of the winery's five wines won medals at the 2004 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

So, is the wine any good? I decided to buy some and donate to breast cancer research at the same time.

The 2002 Cleavage Creek Sauvignon Blanc Mendocino County has a blond model with a white top on its label. it has a light straw color and citrus aromas on the nose. The palate is light-bodied with grapefruit and lime flavors and high acidity. This is a very crisp wine that needs to be paired with a lemony dish.

With a pink ribbon on the label, the 2003 Cleavage Creek Catherine's Blend was created to honor Barbara's Grandmother. The wine is a blend of different Bordeaux varietals from diverse regions of California. it has a deep red/purple color and a nose of sweet fruit. On the palate, it is light to medium-bodied, with red fruits and mint flavors, followed by an acidic finish. Try this unsophisticated wine with a pizza or with spaghetti and meatballs.

The 2000 Cleavage Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley has a blond model with a red top on its label. It has a deep garnet color and a more complex nose with blackcurrant and spicy aromas. On the palate, it is smooth, medium-bodied with a balanced finish.

After tasting these wines, I think that they are overpriced, even if 10% of the proceeds is donated to Breast Cancer Research. But the winery's website encourages you to join the Cleavage Creek Clinkage Club: as a member, you will have the privilege to access the photographs of prospective models and help selecting the ones for the new 2006 labels!
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bacchus said...

I've enjoyed your blog for sometime. I am a bit more of a novice wine taster but though we might exchange links. Please visit my blog and if you enjoy my novel mix of winery info and neophyte insight feel free to link to me.
Keep up the great blog,

PS- not sure what I think about these wine like Clevage Creek, yes they are trying to do some good but at what price. Their are lots of label options to sell wine and you can still donate to breast cancer research. Of course more damaging is over priced bad wine.

Catherine Granger said...

Thanks for the pointer to your blog! As for the Cleavage Creek, it ended up being an excellent cooking wine...

JORGE CACe said...

i bought two bottles of pino noirin st thomas virgin isjands\the best.......need more

howcan i order


anks|jorge caceres

friendlee said...

I read the story about the purchase of a bottle of 2002 Cleavage Creek Sauvignon Blanc and the support for breast cancer.I am interested in knowing more about the wine and how I can rely the message to our listeners. I do a morning show on 93.5KIK-FM (903 455 1400) and this is something we can really help with.Contact me please.
Thank You

Anonymous said...

Please update your Cleavage Creek coverage.

The real story is on the web here:

Your info is outdated and incorrect.