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  • Robb Report

    Robb Report

    Rare Birds
    May 2016

    "From the beginning, collector interest played an important role in Blackbird's exemplary reputation. To reward these supporters in their never-ending quest for the unique, Blackbird has launched a members-only program called BlackMail (blackmailwines.com) that not only enables collectors to gain preferred access to the label's coveted portfolio with a lifetime fixed-price guarantee but also allows them to acquire small-batch wines made exclusively for the club."
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  • Sunset Magazine

    Sunset Magazine

    The Right Reds
    November 2015

    "...Ask Napa Valley's Aaron Pott, who makes Blackbird Vineyards wines as well as those under his own label and he'll set you straight: 'For me, the greatest wines of Bordeaux are made with Merlot and Cabernet Franc.' These two Bordeaux grapes share characteristics with Cabernet Sauvignon - to a point. Merlot has rounder, gentler tannins, while Cabernet Franc carries lovely floral aromas."
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  • California Style

    California Style

    Flying High
    September 2015

    "... Oak Knoll District vintners continue their tradition of forward-thinking offerings with their fi rst white varietal crafted by winemaker Aaron Pott."
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  • DuJour Magazine

    DuJour Magazine

    Inside a $15 Million Weekend
    June 2015

    "There were many celebratory events, including a sumptuous dinner on Friday evening at Ma(i)sonry in Yountville, hosted by Blackbird Vineyards and Bulgari. Blackbird founder Michael Polenske was joined by newly appointed President of Bulgari U.S. Daniel Paltridge and San Francisco Director Daniel Diaz in welcoming the intimate group for extraordinary wine parings and an expertly prepared meal by Chef Victor Scargle of Bardessono's Lucy Restaurant & Bar."
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  • The Wall Street Journal

    The Wall Street Journal

    How to Blind Taste Wine Like a Sommelier
    August 2014

    "Winemakers frequently taste blind as well–not just their own product but others' too. Aaron Pott... said he rarely tastes his own as it always stands out, but he employs the method elsewhere, in part to avoid "cellar palate," i.e., becoming overly fond of his own beverage."
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  • Verve Napa Valley

    Verve Napa Valley

    "Summer of Rosé: Part 1"
    May 2014

    Arriviste Rosé | "Love this wine's watermelon afterthoughts, and the way it invigorates the palette."
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  • The Agency

    The Agency

    "Top Ten California Vineyards"
    March 2014

    Blackbird | "Catering to the most discriminating palates, winemaker Aaron Pott has created wines that are innovative and masterfully blended..."
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  • Cellar Selects

    Wine Enthusiast Magazine

    An Insider's Guide to the Well Lived Life
    November 2013

    "Top 100 Cellar Selections 2013 | 2010 Illustration | There's something enormously satisfying about this Merlot-based blend..."
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  • Shortlist

    Shortlist

    An Insider's Guide to the Well Lived Life
    September 2013

    "Insider: Tyler & Stephanie Mithcell | Current favorite California Wine: Blackbird Vineyards Contrarian"
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  • Financial Times

    Financial Times

    Golden Grapes
    August 2013

    "...It makes Napa the most valuable wine name outside Europe." Andrew Jeffers picks: Napa Wine Estates — Blackbird
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  • Wine Spectator

    Wine Spectator

    12 Noteworthy Napa Cabernets
    July 2013

    "BLACKBIRD Paramour Napa Valley 2010 Score: 92 | $125 | Subtle black cherry, black licorice and floral scents extend onto the palate. This is an elegant, graceful, deftly balanced young wine that retains focus and persistence.
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  • Into Wine

    IntoWine.com

    Top 100 Most influential U.S. Winemakers
    June 2013

    Aaron Pott is taking Napa Cabernet Sauvignon back to its roots...He also makes wine for star properties like Blackbird...Pott's influences are far-ranging, but his true inspiration is his home turf, Napa. He was named Winemaker of the Year in 2012 by Food & Wine Magazine."
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  • The Wall Street Journal

    The Wall Street Journal

    What Winemaking Consultants Really Do
    May 2013

    2009 Arise - "Mr. Pott consults to 10 Napa estates and also makes his own wine. He said he believes that one of the chief benefits of hiring a winemaking consultant is having someone with wide-ranging experience"
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  • PressDemocrat.com

    PressDemocrat.com

    Sip & Sit: Places to Enjoy Rosé Outdoors
    April 2013

    "Blackbird's just-released 2012 Arriviste is a Napa Valley rosé...grapes come from some of the finest vineyards in Napa, from Stagecoach and Hudson to Crocker & Starr, a prime home for cabernet franc."
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  • Forbes.com

    Forbes.com

    This Year's Coolest Wine Labels
    April 2013

    "2010 Blackbird Vineyards Contrarian calls to mind Edgar Allen Poe...surely a dark and serious wine awaits in the bottle."
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  • Napa Valley Life Magazine

    Napa Valley Life Magazine

    The Best of Napa Valley Life
    March/April 2013

    "Featuring Michael Polenske - Chairman, Creative Director of Bespoke Collection"
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  • San Diego Magazine

    San Diego Magazine

    Perfect Pairings
    March 2013

    "Look for a Blackbird Vineyards Wine Dinner at the Grand Del Mar on Friday, March 29, featuring the terroir-driven, Pomerol-inspired wines from Napa Valley..."
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  • City & Shore Magazine

    City & Shore Magazine

    Top American Fine Wine Competition Winners
    February 2013

    "Wines from California and Oregon uncorked Best of Show and Best of Class honors at the American Fine Wine Competition, a homegrown South Florida competition now in its sixth year. 2010 Blackbird Vineyards Arise | Best in Class"
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  • Nob Hill Gazette

    Nob Hill Gazette

    Blackbird Vineyards
    November 2012

    "The Beatles famously wrote about blackbirds singing in the dead of night, waiting for their moment to arise. Did you know there is a Napa Valley winery, tucked in the middle of our tranquil wine country, and amid an array of our fine feathered friends, inspired by this famous song?"
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  • Robb Report

    Robb Report

    Host's Guide
    Holiday 2012

    "Blackbird Vineyards 2009 Illustration...The signature blend from this Oak Knoll District producer, this masterful Pomerol-style blend—another creation from winemaker Aaron Pott..."
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  • Food & Wine

    Food & Wine Magazine

    Winemakers of the Year: 2012
    November 2012

    "Aaron Pott is trying to take Napa Cabernet back to its roots...also true of the wines he makes for star properties like Blackbird and Seven Stones."
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  • Food & Wine

    Forbes Life

    The Entrepreneur's Tour
    November 2012

    "...the Blackbird is an enlivening drink, taut and cascadingly flavorful, and one Michael Polenske might have named for himself, a blend dubbed The Contrarian."
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  • Robb Report

    Robb Report

    October 2012

    "(Blackbird Vineyards) owes its existence to the keen eye (and palate) of (Michael) Polenske, who in 2003 bought a parcel in Napa's Oak Knoll District that produced Merlot on par with Pomerol, France's most impressive estates."
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  • Bloomberg

    Bloomberg

    June 2012

    "Chinese Wine Lovers Go Californian As Taste Widens"
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  • Wine Spectator

    Wine Spectator

    June 2012

    "Auction Napa Valley Raises Over $8 Million"
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  • SF Weekly

    SF Weekly

    May 2012

    "Blackbird Vineyards is a great business story and makes some very nice wines..."
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  • Wall Street Journal

    Wall Street Journal

    April 2012

    "The Mouth Behind Some of Napa's Best Wines"
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  • O Magazine

    Metro Society

    July 2011

    "Blackbird vineyards brings New World wines with Old World élan to the table..."
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  • Robb Report

    Robb Report
    Host's Guide
    Summer 2011

    "2010 Arriviste Rosé - a refreshing rosé that achieves a beautiful harmony ($24)..."
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  • InStyle

    InStyle

    March 2011

    "Try a little taste. Finally, a miniature bottle that delivers maximum value. The Flock Box Collection ($48) allows you to taste wine that would cost more than $400 when it comes in standard bottles."

  • O Magazine

    O Magazine

    "The O List"
    January 2011

    "Tour a winery without leaving your kitchen thanks to Blackbird Vineyards' extraordinary sampler of six 50ml bottles of red and rosé (Flock Box Collection)..."
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  • San Francisco Chronicle

    San Francisco Chronicle

    California Bordeaux-style blend recommendations
    October 2010

    "It is logical that wine regions noted for Cabernet Sauvignon, such as Napa Valley, can also produce noteworthy blends of traditional red Bordeaux varietals. Our recommendations... 2007 Blackbird Vineyards Illustration Napa Valley Red Wine."
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  • Uncork Life! Blog

    Uncork Life! Blog

    Wine Review Wednesday: Blackbird Vineyards
    October 2010

    "Blackbird relies on sustainable farming, noninterventionist vinification, rigorous fruit selection, and a willingness to produce less wine if that means raising its quality and staying true to the vintage. I recently had the chance to taste the new releases, and was utterly blown away by the wines' expressiveness right now and potential for evolution in the long term."
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  • Gentry

    Gentry

    Art and Wine
    June 2010

    "Michael Polenske has honed his skills over the years as a master of public relations, keenly understanding the synergy between good press and good business. His latest ventures in Napa Valley have made him a media darling, but the hype would be short-lived if his products weren't great - and they are."
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  • Rosewood Magazine

    Rosewood Magazine

    Influentials: From City to Rusticity
    May 2010

    "In Napa Valley, where many winemakers go from profitable wine making to art collecting, Michael Polenske, the valley's most recent vintner turned gallerist, is an exception. His interest in art began when he was a boy scout in Washington D.C. where his father, a military pilot, worked under Nixon."
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  • Sophisticated Living

    Sophisticated Living

    The Business of Leisure
    April 2010

    "Blackbird Vineyards is one of the many outstanding vintners participating in the Lexington Cancer Foundation's 2010 wine auction (Thursday, April 29) at Keeneland. Blackbird Vineyard founder Michael Polenske has been an ardent supporter of the LCF, not only through his participation at the event, but also as a host for related vintner events taking place in Napa Valley."
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  • San Francisco Chronicle

    San Francisco Chronicle

    Michael Polenske's Blackbird winery takes flight
    January 2010

    "After making his fortune teaching others how to build theirs, Michael Polenske quit the world of financial planning to pursue his dream of becoming a Napa Valley vintner. Making Merlot, no less, a wine whose sales were eviscerated by the 2004 movie "Sideways," in which the fictional wine snob Miles delivers a now-famous (and profane) rant against the varietal..."
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  • Chicago Tribune

    Chicago Tribune

    Seasonal wine splurges
    December 2009

    "Whether the bottle is meant for Christmas present or Christmas future, these Napa Valley wines combine a fruit-forward friendliness with the tannic structure needed for aging. 2007 Blackbird Vineyards Contrarian: A big hit with the tasting panel, this is a blend of 46 percent cabernet franc, 34 percent merlot and 20 percent cabernet sauvignon..." *** $90
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  • Playboy

    Playboy

    The Imbiber: Grape Expectations
    October 2009

    "Napa is an international standard bearer for cabernet sauvignon, but Blackbird is hell-bent on putting NoCal merlot on the map. If the just-released 2007 vintages I tried - Arise ($50) and Illustration ($90) - are any indication, consider its rep redeemed. Both are extremely approachable and well put-together..."

  • Robb Report

    Robb Report

    100 Perfect Pours
    October 2009

    "Renowned for its miraculously complex Merlot-based wine, Blackbird Vineyards has historically flouted Napa Valley tradition by emphasizing red Bordeaux varietals..."
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  • Cooking Light

    Luxury Las Vegas

    May 2009

    "Bottled Poetry. Blackbird debuted its first vintage in 2003. Its name derived from the French patois for Merlot, 'Little Blackbird'. Appropriately, their vineyard in the Oak Knoll District is planted to Merlot, and their wine style reflects Pomerol wines..."
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  • Cooking Light

    Cooking Light

    December 2008

    "Top 10 gift wines"
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  • Town
& Country

    Town & Country

    December 2008

    "Blackbird Vineyards helps an oenophile craft a personal blend of its Illustration Napa Valley Proprietary Red Wine..."
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  • Men's Journal

    Men's Journal

    "2008 Best List" - Best Red under $100-Blackbird 2006 Illustration Proprietary Red Wine
    December 2008

    "It's the first American merlot with the flavor and complexity of the great French Bordeaux. And it's still a bargain relative to other luxury wines..."
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  • Rob Report

    Robb Report

    "101 Fabulous Fermentations"
    November 2008

    "These brilliant bottles are guaranteed to please the crankiest connoisseur and supply some welcome liquid cheer to beleaguered hosts..."
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  • Men's Journal

    Men's Journal

    "Merlot is Back"
    November 2008

    "For years, overdone merlot has been too embarrassing to order. But now vineyards are turning out great-value bottles you just can't miss..."
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  • Sommelier Journal

    Sommelier Journal

    Winery Spotlight - Blackbird Vineyards - Oak Knoll District, California.
    August 2008

    "A three-word, hand-scrawled change in an employment contract bought Michael Polenske his dream vineyard in Napa Valley... with Merlot overdue for a return to prominence, it looks like it's time for this little Blackbird to fly..."
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  • Travel + Leisure

    Travel + Leisure

    "GOLF"
    August 2008

    "Every few years a flock of new, would-be cult wines appears in Napa Valley. Most of them are turkeys; a few soar like eagles. One of the more impressive newcomers has been a merlot-dominated blend from Blackbird Vineyards..."
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  • Rob Report

    Robb Report

    "Best of the Best"
    June 2008

    "Several of the most coveted and long-lived wines of Bordeaux—Chateau Petrus and Chateau Le Pin, for instance—are Merlot-based. Michael Polenske, entrepreneur and proprietor of Blackbird Vineyards, is among these Merlot admirers, and his releases stand among Napa's most beautifully articulated boutique wines..."
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  • Vanity Fair

    Vanity Fair

    February 2008

    Blackbird Vineyards released its acclaimed 2005 Napa Valley Proprietary Red at a V.I.P. dinner, hosted by Chanel, honoring the Host Committee of the charity P.S. Arts. The gala event was held at Cut, Wolfgang Puck's ultra-chic Beverly Hills steak house, and the exclusive wine poured was the Proprietary Red.
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  • Town & Country

    Town & Country

    December 2007

    The 2005 Blackbird Vineyards "Paramour" Napa Valley Proprietary Red Wine is endorsed by Town & Country as their "Perfect Gift for the Home."
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  • Rob Report

    Robb Report

    October 2007

    "Winemaker Sarah Gott has shown once again she is a virtuoso in handling this (Merlot) grape...The 2004 tempers powerful fruit with earth elements of roasted coffee, cocoa, and ginger, all of which are wrapped up in a texture like royal red velvet."
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  • Stratos

    Stratos

    September 2007

    Merlot has fallen out of favor with some, but enophiles know it is the grape that powers Chateau Petrus, among the most sought after wines in the world.
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  • Food and Wine

    Food and Wine

    April 2007

    Ask Michael Polenske, 45, why he decided to give up an extraordinarily successful career in finance to start Blackbird Vineyards, his Napa Valley winery, and he'll say wryly, "Why take a vow of poverty, you mean?"
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  • In Style Magazine

    In Style Magazine

    The Perfect Gift...For The Proud Homeowner
    December 2006

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  • C Magazine

    C Magazine
    by Alison Clare Steingold

    Gourmet Gifts
    December 2006

    "Never mind those cruel jokes in Sideways. Merlot can be marvelous, and the limited-production release of winemaker Sarah Gott's Blackbird Vineyards 2004 Merlot ($80; six bottle allocation) shows the subtle finesse of Napa's other red wine."
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  • Distinctive Living

    Distinctive Living
    by Jenny Peters

    Michael Polenske and His "Business of Leisure"
    July/August 2006

    "Funnily enough, it all started at Chico State, the place investment advisor and entrepreneur Michael Polenske calls "the very prestigious university in Northern California that was rated the Number One party school in 'Playboy' magazine two out of the three years that I was there." He must have learned something in those formative years..."
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  • San Francisco Bay Club

    San Francisco Bay Club
    by Christine Blake

    Enjoying the Business of Leisure
    July/August 2006

    "Bay Club member Michael Polenske does more than just enjoy the good life-he creates it. This full-time investment advisor and part-time entrepreneur has fashioned a collection of lifestyle-based ventures that reflect his passion for great food and wine, and the little things that make life sweeter."
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  • 7x7 Magazine

    7x7
    by Jordan Mackay

    Introducing the latest must-have Merlot
    May 2006

    "You've heard it before: Wealthy guy buys expensive vineyard in Napa Valley, produces small amount of expensive wine. It's the tale of Michael Polenske, the owner of Blackbird Vineyards, who was finally able to make his vinous dreams come true in 2003, after years of long hours in a lucrative financial business."
    Download the article.


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