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

2018 Taken

In Spain and Southern France, winemakers know that Grenache and Syrah go together like… peas in a pod? hugs and kisses? peanut butter and jelly? Grenache brings bright strawberry and raspberry flavors – but potentially more alcohol and less acidity for a well-balanced wine. Syrah darkens the color and adds tannic structure and notes of blueberry and spice. Taken’s 2018 “Complicated” was sourced from vineyards in the Central Coast, a.k.a., the “Rhone Zone.” In Monterrey County’s Arroyo Seco ava, west of the Salinas River, sunshine is abundant, yet temperatures are tempered by the influence of the Pacific Ocean. The blend of 69% Grenache and 31% Syrah was aged in French oak. It’s a juicy, opulent wine with an excellent balance of bright fruit, acidity and tannin. This red blend offers great value and is ready to drink – especially with whatever comes off the grill. 

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¥3,190 (incl. tax)
2019 Taken

An exciting new addition to Hotei’s line of Taken wines, the 2019 Chardonnay is fine wine at a great price. Almost entirely sourced 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. As the winemaker, Rebecca Jain, says, “The 2019 Taken Chardonnay boasts 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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¥4,290 (incl. tax)
2019 Taken