Laguna Beach residents Steve and Seanne Contursi own Arrow&Branch wines in Napa Valley. Steve, a numismatist , who has had immeasurable experience with historic treasures, purchased the estate in 2007. Now the couple is creating their own precious gems—and in a fitting analogy, these wines are worthy investments.
Here are four that are currently released, with my notes:
2015 Sauvignon Blanc, $35 (this wine is amazing—in capital letters)
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon “Black Label,” $100
2013 Red Wine, $125
2013 Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, $175 (I gobbled up this 100 percent cab, which was a knock-out. Wine critic James Suckling gave it a 97-point rating.)
Dining out, you can experience Arrow&Branch wines at Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, and at Michael Mina’s Stonehill Tavern at Monarch Beach in Laguna Niguel. To purchase by the bottle, try Hi-Time Wine Cellars, Spectrum Wine, and Hidden Vine. Or shop direct at www.arrowandbranch.com
I had the opportunity to learn more about the Contursis transitioning from the beach to the vineyard:
What lured you to the wine business?
After several decades of being a premium Bordeaux and Burgundy lover, it became natural—after raising five children in Laguna Beach—to look for a second home with a drastic scenic change focused around what Seanne and enjoy immensely: great food and great wine. In our minds, the greatest wines in the USA are coming from the Napa Valley.
With a home in Laguna Beach, how much time do you spend at the vineyard?
For the last nine years, we’ve been averaging 3-to-5-day visits twice a month. This routine may change to more time in Napa when all five of our children are out of the house and Seanne and I are finally empty nesters.
I’m a big lover of quotes, so I noticed the Benjamin Franklin quotes on your bottles and corks.
Good observation! Each one of the four Arrow&Branch wines carry a unique Ben Franklin quote. On our flagship Red Wine, we change the quote every year. We selected Ben Franklin because of his ties to Americana and because he holds the distinction as the designer of the first coin struck for colonial use in 1776. This Continental Currency coin was struck primarily in pewter, with the quote “Mind Your Business” shown boldly on the coin. His meaning, of course, was to tend to your affairs. This is our motto for Arrow&Branch. Since my day job for over 40 years is as a numismatist and I’ve had the honor of being the custodian of many of America’s greatest coin rarities, Seanne and I decided that every branding element will subtly incorporate numismatics elements. Furthermore, Benjamin Franklin was a lover of French wines and served as the first Ambassador to France.