Great wines to share with friends!

For most of us, an enthusiasm for fine wine hits in our thirties, while the notion of starting a winery may signal the onset of a mid-life crisis. But for Josh Phelps and Carlo Trinchero, the entrepreneurs behind the Taken Wine Company, founding a Napa winery soon after graduating from college seemed like the right thing to do. They say wine is in their DNA after growing up in St. Helena in winemaking families. Indeed, where they stand out from the norm may be in their confidence at reaching fellow millennials, who appear to prefer pale ale over Sauvignon Blanc. Josh and Carlo released their first vintage of Taken Red Wine, a blend of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, in 2010. But they have quickly grown from just 100 cases sold to friends to 12,000 in 2014 that are available in every US state - as well as here in Japan. While the Taken Red Wine Cabernet/Merlot continues to be their flagship product, they also produce “Complicated,” a Grenache/Syrah blend sourced from the Central Coast, as well as “Available,” a Sauvignon Blanc/Muscat designated as “California” but mainly from Mendocino County. The whimsical names derive partly from experience and partly from their goal to make wines that are fun and meant to be shared with friends. The story goes that while brainstorming for a name for the company, they found that all the good ones were “taken.” As for “Complicated” and “Available,” frequent users of social media (i.e. the younger, target demographic) should understand such “status updates.” Kidding aside, these wines are crafted for delicious drinking upon release. The affordable prices mean they are yours for the “taking!”

Wine Maker

Rebecca Jain





Wines from this Winery

TAKEN Chardonnay Napa Valley

Taken Napa Valley Chardonnay is lively and nuanced with all the complex flavors you expect from a Napa Valley wine – but priced to go easy on the wallet. Sourced primarily from vineyards in the Napa Valley (there’s a dollop of Sonoma in there, too), this is Chardonnay crafted with high-end methods, including fermentation on native yeasts and in French oak barrels. Winemaker Rebecca Jain describes “a beautiful nose of spice, citrus, and lemon blossom. On the palate, Asian pear, grapefruit, and Gravenstein apple are rounded out with hints of butterscotch and walnut. The mouthfeel is juicy, though not too heavy, with an uplifting, refreshing, crisp finish. Bright Napa Valley acidity is balanced out with creaminess coming from a splash of Sonoma fruit.”

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¥4,950 (incl. tax)
TAKEN Red Wine Napa Valley

“Taken” red blend by new generation winemakers, Josh Phelps and Carlo Trinchero, offers a new take on Napa Valley wine. Most Napa Valley wineries make either 100% Cabernet Sauvignon or a blend of the traditional Bordeaux varieties. But Taken is a wilder expression of the Napa Valley, a blend you will never find in France: 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Zinfandel, 17% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 7% Pinot Noir, and 3% other grapes. James Suckling gave the 2019 “Taken” 91 points saying, "This is a fruitier expression of Napa with red and black cherries, dried strawberries, currants, red peppers and olives. Some sweet spices, too. A juicy, medium-to-full-bodied palate, full of dusty cocoa powder and berry fruit. Drinkable now, but can hold for a few years, too."

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¥6,930 (incl. tax)