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


“We few, We happy few” is certainly apropos in connection with Bodkin Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc. After all, who makes sparkling wine from Sauvignon Blanc? But if you love Sauvignon Blanc and you love sparkling wine - as Chris Christensen clearly does - then why not? Indeed, sparkling Sauvignon Blanc is not uncommon in New Zealand, where the grape is so beloved that it accounts for over 70% of NZ wine production. But in California, Bodkin may be one of the few, if not the only one. The wine is a blend of two Sauvignon Blanc Vineyards from Lake County – 72% from Sandy Bend Vineyard in the Upper Lake AVA and 28% from HRSV Vineyard, also in Upper Lake. Hotei members may remember an earlier version, called “Cuvee Agincourt.” According to Christensen the new bubbly packs 35% more fizz than before. Aiming to add more of an aromatic punch to sparkling wine, Christensen describes the wine as bright and fruit forward and as “Sauvignon Blanc-y” as ever with overtones of pineapple guava and lemon-lime, and a palate that matches the nose. Sounds like the perfect wine for enhancing hot summer evenings!

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¥4,730 (incl. tax)
BODKIN Sauvignon Blanc

Bodkin’s Sauvignon Blanc gets evenings off to a great start — in any season! As Christopher Christensen puts it, “Peaches, pear, guava and jasmine aromas explode from the glass. Subtle hints of gooseberry and pine needles add to the complexity of enticing aromas. The wine begins on the palate like taking a fresh bite out of a crisp pear. Sweet apricots and green apples dance along the tongue. The limey, textured finish is refreshing with just a hint of toasted cashews from the very small percentage of the wine fermented in oak.”

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¥2,970 (incl. tax)
BODKIN Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc (375ml)
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)