Because We’re National Now!

Recently we have begun selling wine in the national market through distributors in a few key states: Florida, Texas and Tennessee. Florida and Texas are quite obvious places for us to sell wine as they are some of the top selling areas for California Cabernet, but Tennessee leaves a few people scratching their heads. There is a story:

A few months ago we got a late night e-mail from a couple requesting a tasting the following morning. It seems they had discovered our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc on the wine list at A16 in San Francisco, and had instantly fallen in love with it. They just had to come see us the next morning before they headed home from their wine country trip.

Ryan and Leah arrived the next morning, explained that they were in the process of starting a new wine brokerage in Tennessee, and after tasting through the rest of our line-up wanted to make us the first brand that they would carry. Their passion for wine in general and our wines in particular persuaded us to take a chance on them and the market – the first pallet ships this week!

As for the other states, we have just returned home from our first market visit to Florida, and are about to leave for some work in Texas next week. In Florida we visited many accounts and had a blast hosting a winemaker dinner at a country club in the Naples area. Naples has been especially good to us, with a local writer penning a fantastic little article about us in Florida Weekly. Check it out:

Here Comes the Judge – Wine Whisperer column in Florida Weekly

Because If We Can Make It There, We’ll Make it Anywhere

Recently, a New York City based website that reviews a variety of artisan and luxury products, tasted some of our wines and conducted an e-mail interview with Palmer. We’re so pleased that their panel enjoyed the fruits of our labor and that the fabulous owner of the site Peachy Deegan featured us so prominently. Here are links to their articles on four of our wines and the interview:

OUR FIRST VERDICT IS IN: KEEPING AMERICA ON TOP: WHOM YOU KNOW CELEBRATES AMERICAN STYLE INTELLIGENCE and EXCELLENCE with Whom You Know’s Inaugural Feature of the Great New American Brand: Judge Palmer by Palmer Emmitt & Michael Scorsone! 2012 Judge Palmer Malbec Bavarian Lion Vineyard Knights Valley, Sonoma County is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

2014 Sauvignon Blanc “Sur les Peaux” Alexander Valley, Sonoma County Proves Judge Palmer Wine Has No Sophomore Acts! Extended Barrel Aging of this Orange Wine Style Will Wow You Tremendously Says Whom You Know.

See the World Through Rose Colored Glasses with Judge Palmer’s 2014 Rose of Malbec, Blau Vineyard Knights Valley, Sonoma County Recommended by Whom You Know!

Drink American Luxury: Judge Palmer Keeps America on Top! Judge Palmer 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard Rutherford, Napa Valley Earns Whom You Know’s Highest Recommendation

MOVERS and SHAKERS: Palmer Emmitt, Owner and Artisan Winemaker at Judge Palmer Our Coverage Sponsored by Fresh Origins


Because Sonoma is Under-Appreciated

From the conception of the Judge Palmer brand, our two chief goals went hand-in-hand: to make some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in California, and to show people that while you can certainly achieve the first goal with grapes from Napa Valley, it’s not the only place in California where world-class Cabernet is grown.

Over the past few years, we’ve sought out some unique spots in Sonoma County where we believe the potential for Cabernet is every bit as exciting as the best sites in Napa. And while we’re eager to showcase these places in vineyard designate bottlings (the first will be released next month…), we also thought that a wine that represents Sonoma County as a whole while also delivering tremendous value at the price point was something our customers and the wine world as a whole would appreciate. Thus the 2012 Vintage Select Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County was born.

We sell the wine for $40, and have heard great feedback from our customers and people in the wine trade, with the common refrain being some variation of what said last week in their very flattering blog post: “at $40, this is a screaming deal and quite frankly, its worth double the price.”

Indeed most Cabernet at this price point is not aged in new French oak barrels for over two years, and some people even prefer it to our Napa Valley Cabernet from Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard. If you need any further incentive to join our wine club, members get this wine for $35. Open your bottle and let us know what you think!

Because if it Grows Together it Goes Together

A common refrain for sommeliers and chefs when pairing wine with food is “if it grows together it goes together,” meaning that the traditional foods and dishes from a particular region always pair extremely well with the wines native to that region.

When asked by Wine Enthusiast magazine to suggest a recipe to pair with our 2012 Malbec, the first thing that came to mind was cassoulet. The traditional winter stew of beans and cured meats traces its origins to the French wine region of Cahors – where Malbec is the dominant grape variety.

While the balance and acidity in this particular Malbec make it versatile enough to pair with any grilled or roasted meat, there is certainly something magical to the traditional pairing with cassoulet; if you have the time and inclination I highly recommend giving it a shot.

This recipe from J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats is a great one that will excite your taste buds and enhance the drinking pleasure of our Malbec. As they do in Cahors, we like to use duck confit for the poultry component, but Kenji makes a great case for using chicken instead – you be the judge! If you’d like to try out the pairing, use promo code WE50 in our online store for 50% off shipping on 3 or more bottles of our wine.

Traditional French Cassoulet


  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 packets (3/4 ounces) unflavored gelatin (see note above)
  • 2 tablespoons duck fat (optional)
  • 8 ounces salt pork, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 6 to 8 pieces of chicken thighs and drumsticks, or 4 whole chicken leg quarters
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound garlic sausage (2 to 4 links depending on size)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 carrot, unpeeled, cut into 3-inch sections
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 3-inch sections
  • 1 whole head garlic
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves


  1. In a large bowl, cover beans with 3 quarts water and add 3 tablespoons salt. Stir to combine and let sit at room temperature overnight. Drain and rinse beans and set aside.
  2. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. Place stock in a large liquid measuring cup and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Set aside. Heat duck fat (if using) in a large Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add salt pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. (If not using duck fat, cook pork with no additional fat.)
  3. Season chicken pieces with pepper (do not add salt) and place skin side-down in now-empty pan. Cook without moving until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip chicken pieces and continue cooking until lightly browned on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to bowl with salt pork.
  4. Add sausages and cook, turning occasionally, until well-browned on both sides. Transfer to bowl with salt pork and chicken. Drain all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot.
  5. Add onions to pot and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook until onions are translucent but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add drained beans, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, cloves, and stock/gelatin mixture. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce to low, cover Dutch oven and cook until beans are almost tender but retain a slight bite, about 45 minutes.
  6. Using tongs, remove carrots, celery, parsley, bay leaves, and cloves and discard. Add meats to pot and stir to incorporate, making sure that the chicken pieces end up on top of the beans with the skin facing upwards. Beans should be almost completely submerged. Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered, until a thin crust forms on top, about 2 hours, adding more water by pouring it carefully down the side of the pot as necessary to keep beans mostly covered.
  7. Break crust with a spoon and shake pot gently to redistribute. Return to oven and continue cooking, stopping to break and shake the crust every 30 minutes until you reach the 4 1/2 hour mark. Return to oven and continue cooking undisturbed until the crust is deep brown and thick, about 5 to 6 hours total. Serve immediately.


Because Hidden Gems Exist

We are very excited about the passionate network of wine bloggers on the internet and how they are influencing the future of wine consumption – no longer does the mainstream wine press have a stranglehold on “taste-making.”

Katrina Rene at “The Corkscrew Concierge” is the latest blogger to discover our wines. In addition to some of the typical wine blog tasting features, her beautifully composed site explores wine travel and food & wine pairing, and in approaching our wines she hints at the sublime experience of discovering a hidden gem off the beaten path… Take a look:

Finding Wine Greatness Off the Beaten Path at Judge Palmer Winery

Because Wine & Food Go Together

We are excited to announce that we will be hosting our first official winemaker dinner on Wednesday, April 13th in San Francisco at the fabulous A16 on Chestnut Street. Our friend Kurt Beitler from Bohème Wines will be co-hosting and pouring his stunning line-up of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay alongside the Judge Palmer wines. The 3-course prix fixe menu will be available throughout the restaurant all evening, but if you want to reserve a spot at the winemakers’ table on the back patio at 7 pm, RSVP to us ASAP.

A16 Wine Dinner Collage

A16 is the paragon of southern Italian cuisine in San Francisco, with an incomparable wine list curated by our friend Shelley Lindgren. We are proud that they currently serve our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc – one of only 4 California wines poured on their 20-deep selection of white wines by the glass. We highly recommend a visit here on your next trip to San Francisco – the hen of the woods mushrooms are a great pairing with our Sauvignon Blanc, and the pizzas and squid ink pasta are not to be missed.

Because Millennials Drink Wine Too

Millennials are a hot topic in wine business circles these days, as wine marketers try to figure out how to reach the next generation of wine buyers. All sorts of ill-informed generalizations exist about their buying habits – they like beer and cocktails more than wine, they won’t spend more than $20/bottle, they don’t listen to the traditional wine press, etc. We reached out to Greg and India from the aptly named blog “Millennial Drinkers” to see if we could gain some insight, and came away with much optimism for the future. They are curious, engaging and passionate, and what do you know, they loved our wines! Here is their post that includes an interview of Palmer and some tasting notes on our inaugural release wines:

Judge Palmer Wine Co. Interview | Wine Tasting

Because Lawyers Drink Wine

We came across the Wine Esquire on Twitter – “A wine blog written by a lawyer. Because lawyers drink wine.” – and thought this might be the perfect blogger for us. Our suspicions were confirmed after reading a bit of the well-written blog and speaking on the phone to the fabulous Regina von Gootkin. Here is her great post about our wines and a bit of the backstory about our namesake Judge James W. Palmer:

From Electrician to Judge: When Law School Optional