Bodkin Wines

We few, we happy few!

Despite growing up in eastern Iowa in a non-drinking household, Christopher Christensen, the “winesmith and head honcho” at Bodkin Wines, caught the wine bug soon after graduating from Stanford University. But without preconceived notions about how to start and run a winery, Christensen does march to the beat of his own drummer. Guiding him has been the line “We few, we happy few,” from Shakespeare’s King Henry V, a play he loved so much that his labels depict the 15th century Battle of Agincourt and his winery is named for the type of arrow point that may have helped Henry defeat the French.

As a winery, Bodkin is no less unusual than the labels. For one thing, it’s built upon the labor of “one man, one dog, and an army of friends.” Christensen purchases most of his grapes from the Sandy Bend Vineyard in Lake County and makes his wines in space rented in Healdsburg. Odder still is the narrow focus on Sauvignon Blanc. But these Sauv Blancs are made in a variety of styles, some downright atypical if not unheard of. For example, Bodkin has released California’s first sparkling Sauvignon Blanc - a product Christensen learned to love in New Zealand. While sparkling Sauv Blanc isn’t likely to change California’s production of Methode Champenoise based on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it’s a delight nonetheless, reminding us that popping a cork needs no special occasion. Bodkin’s “The Victor’s Spoils” is Sauv Blanc in the traditional Loire style - unoaked, dry and moderate in alcohol. On the other hand, the “Musqué Clone” bottling features a clone of Sauvignon Blanc that’s planted in few California vineyards but offers unique aromatics and flavors. Finally, “The Albino” is another rule breaker: Sauvignon Blanc fermented on the skins and aged in oak like a red wine and bottled without fining or filtration. Orange-hued and bold in flavor, it alters one’s expectations for clean and correct California wine and suggests that a new generation of winemakers, like Chris Christensen of Bodkin, will be taking California wine in new directions.

Wine Maker

Christopher Christensen





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Wines from this Winery

BODKIN Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

Bodkin Wines bills itself as America’s first producer of sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. Now, we at Hotei  are delighted to offer this fun wine. If you love the racy flavors and aromas of Sauvignon Blanc and the acidity, low alcohol and bubbles in sparkling wine, you may wonder why this combination has eluded you for so long. When Bodkin’s Chris Christensen first encountered bubbly Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, he thought it nearly rivaled peanut butter and jelly as one of the great taste combinations; he knew that if he could not find it in the U.S., he would make it himself. Sourcing grapes from the high elevation, Sandy Bend Vineyard in Lake County, Christensen believes the combination of intense sunshine and cool nights allow Sauvignon Blanc to develop higher levels of phenolic ripeness for flavor, aroma and mouthfeel. The bubbles in “Cuvee Agincourt” (named for the decisive battle in the medieval 100 Years War) are made via second fermentation inside the bottle, as in Champagne. Bottle aging on the lees rounds out the texture and gives complexity to this lively wine. A party wine if there ever was one; bring it to your holiday get-togethers as well as spring and summer picnics. 

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¥4,070 (incl. tax)
BODKIN Sauvignon Blanc

Bodkin’s Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from growers in Lake and Sonoma counties. A medium-bodied crowd-pleaser, the wine is relatively low in alcohol and bursts with refreshing citrus fruit flavors. The Bodkin winery recommends “live music, sunny days and fresh cuisine” as a suitable pairing. “To the victor go the spoils!” Wine lovers win out with this fresh and energetic Sauvignon Blanc.

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¥2,970 (incl. tax)
BODKIN White Dessert Wine

For lovers of sweet wines – indeed, all lovers! –  here is a golden elixir to accompany a special dessert or evening. This late harvest white wine, like a Sauternes in some respects, is a blend of 51% Sauvignon Blanc from Rogers Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, 34% Muscat Canelli from Sandy Bend Vineyards in Lake County, and 15% Chardonnay from the Sinclair Ranch in Dry Creek Valley. The grapes – “moldy raisins!” – might have looked unsalvageable, but this mold was botrytis cinerea, aka "Nobel Rot," the secret ingredient to many of the greatest dessert wines. At harvest, the average Brix (sugar concentration) was 35 - i.e. potential alcohol at dryness of 23%! Pressing the raisins took effort, but then the juice was left to ferment without intervention until it stopped naturally after 5 weeks. The resulting wine, with 10% residual sugar and 16.5% alcohol, was aged in French oak from the Alain Foquet cooperage, which is widely used in Sauternes. States the wine maker, “Melon, apricot, candied hazelnuts, orange blossom, honey and pear compote all show themselves in both the nose and palate of the wine. In the mouth, the viscosity of the wine is a liquid-gold baby maker.”

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¥4,290 (incl. tax)