An Inauguration Day Toast with Bodkin The Fearless Blanc de Blanc and Cauliflower Curry #WinePW


I generally try to keep politics out of this blog, but I must admit that I was quite euphoric on January 20, 2021. Not just euphoric, but also relieved like a huge weight had begun to lift. As a woman of color living in Oakland, I was also feeling a measure of pride that a woman of color born here had stepped into the vice president’s office. I know many of my friends felt the same way, regardless of their ethnicity. My all-lady tasting group decided to have a zoom party to celebrate the occasion.

We all decided that we’d each make or order in food that celebrated Kamala Harris’ background in some way, and we’d toast with wines that honored her in some way as well. (We also all wore RBG T-shirts I’d bought this small group for the holidays.) I decided I’d make an Indian curry and paired it with a really fresh sparkling wine made by a young black winemaker here in the Bay Area. Funny enough, 3 of the 4 of us on the Zoom call had wines from Bodkin Wines. Bubbles are their calling card, although they do make other styles, and I think most of us really felt that this occasion called for sparklers. (My friend Maura went in a different direction, opting instead for a wine from Rock Wall Wine Company in Alameda since Kamala Harris is a member of their wine club.)

Maura and Adriana joined me in sharing pairings in Three Takes On Theopolis Symphony. Our friend Marlene, who was on this call but was away during this photo, sells Bodkin's wines and arranged for Chris to virtually join our tasting group, although I wasn't able to join that particular meeting.

It was a really joyful celebration, even if we couldn’t get together in person.


The first time I recall one of Bodkin’s wines really getting my attention was at a GuildSomm “Backroads of California” Masterclass in 2017. I don’t think it was the first time I’d had one of their wines, because I know we carried them periodically while I worked at Bay Grape, but at this particular tasting it really stood out to me. Most of the wines we tasted were good, as they’d been carefully selected and even included several favorites, but Bodkin’s Cuvee Agincourt Brut Blanc de Sauvignon Blanc ($25) stood out to me for its verve and its freshness. It was clean, crisp, and fun. The fact that their wines are very reasonably priced has allowed me to continue to enjoy them from time to time.

Bodkin was founded in 2011 by Iowa native Chris Christensen. Per their website, “His passion for aromatic wines and winemaking led him to create America’s first Sauvignon Blanc with bubbles.” Although Chris continues as the winemaker, in 2013 he was joined by Andrew Chambers as “Co-head Honcho,” and now they both live and work in Sonoma County.

Image borrowed from Bodkin's website.

Chris actually joined my tasting group virtually one evening, as last year we occasionally organized zoom tastings with a few winemakers. I sadly had to miss that particular event, which is really too bad as not only do I really enjoys his wines, but I’m also very drawn to the nerdy Shakespeare references all over his website. Specifically, the allusions are to Henry V and “bodkin” refers to the type of arrowhead used by Henry V’s forces in the epic Battle of Agincourt (also the cuvée name of that sparkling Sauv Blanc I mentioned). The company’s motto is “We few, we happy few,” which is a quote from the play’s famous St. Crispin's Day speech, and the red cross that’s the company’s logo is also a reference to the cross Henry’s men wore. I’ll turn down the nerdiness now, but it’s just to say that this all appeals to my Shakspeare-loving, former-English-major heart and I hope to get another chance to meet him.

It’s also clear that he’s a guy with grit and a sense of humor. Chris was featured in San Fransico Chronicle’s 2017 Winemakers to Watch, and the article shares this quote:

I love sparkling wine and I love Sauvignon Blanc, and if that makes me less of a man, so be it,” he laughs. “I grew up biracial in Iowa in the ’80s. I’m secure in who I am.


On Inauguration Day I opened a bottle of Bodkin’s The Fearless Blanc de Blanc ($25). I already had it on hand and it seemed to fit the occasion perfectly. This wine is a blend of  75% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Gris, 5% Chennin Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Blanc, with the majority of the grapes coming from Suisun Valley in Solano County, located between San Francisco and Sacramento. The dosage is kept to just  2.5g/L.

To be completely honest, I'm not sure if I purchased this bottle or if I got it from my friend Marlene, who reps these wines. Both have definitely happened, but I suspect this particular wine came from Marlene. I even see Bodkin wines offered fairly regularly offered on, at least in CA.

On the nose, the wine showed notes of gold and green apples, lemon, and white flowers. These were joined on the palate by lime and grapefruit notes – a citrus cocktail. It was very refreshing and generally steely, but there was a little roundness in the mid-palate to round things out.

The wine worked very well with my Inauguration Day curry. My dish was basically a blend of two recipes I found on Food & Wine and Indian Healthy Recipes, along with a little improvisation. It was made up of cauliflower, tomatoes, coconut milk and savory spices. I also added shredded chicken, because I happened to have some on hand and welcomed the protein, but it’s definitely not needed if you prefer to go meat-less.

The wine counter balanced the flavors in the food in a nice way, and helped cleanse the palate after each complex, savory bite. 

Curry, Cauliflower
Servings: 6 to 8
By: Nicole Ruiz Hudson
Cauliflower Curry

Cauliflower Curry

Prep Time: 10 MinCooking Time: 35 MinTotal Time: 45 Min
This is a very easy curry that comes together quickly. Don’t stress if you don’t have all of these spices. Feel free to omit things or get playful with what you have available., as that’s basically what I've done here. I added shredded chicken because I had some on hand, but it definitely doesn't need it, so feel free to leave it out to go meatless. Similarly, feel free to add potatoes, sweet potatoes, or other vegetables, as well as herbs like cilantro. Serve over rice.


  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 1 pound), cut into large florets (about 4 cups)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon asafoetida powder (optional)
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 13.5-oz can coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or as needed
  • 1 to 2 cups shredded chicken (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas
  • Cooking oil, as needed
  • (Optional additions: potatoes, cilantro)


  1. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat, then once hot, add the cumin seeds to the dry pan. Toast the seeds until starting to turn fragrant and lightly browned, about 1 minute, shaking the pan often to stir the seeds. Once toasted, move the seeds to a mortar, then roughly crush with a pestle.
  2. In a large deep frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower starts to soften and brown lightly, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower temporarily out of the pan. (Alternatively, you can start the cauliflower by roasting it in the oven at 425°F.)
  3. If needed, add more oil to the pan, then add the onions, and sweat until starting to soften and beginning to turn translucent. Add the spices to the pan and stir. Once everything is beginning to turn fragrant, return the cauliflower to the pan, then add the tomatoes, the coconut milk, and the salt and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, then stir in the shredded chicken (if using) and cook, lightly covered, until everything is tender, about 15 minutes. Add the peas and continue cooking, uncovered, until the peas are tender, about 2 to 5 minutes longer.
  4. Serve the curry over cooked basmati rice.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @thesommstable on instagram and hashtag it #sommstable



The rest of the Wine Pairing Weekend Bloggers (#WinePW) are joining me this Black History Month in Celebrating BIPOC Winemakers & Winery Owners. (You can read my invitation post for this event here.) If you read this post early enough, join us on Twitter tomorrow morning, Saturday, February 13th, at 8 am PT/ 11 am ET and join our discussion by following #WinePW. Be sure to check out the rest of their posts:



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  1. I, too, enjoyed my wine on inauguration day. Love your post and I see your previous post featured the LVE that I'm sharing today. Off to take a look at your review.

    1. I really love that we were both enjoying our wines on Inauguration Day. It's like we were toasting from far away.

  2. I can't even begin to tell you how much I LOVE this post. The dish, the winemaker's Shakespeare references, all of it. Thanks for hosting this month. I have learned so much from the articles I've read so far. And, naturally, my wine shopping list is now even longer.

    1. Thanks! I was feeling a little "sorry not sorry" about going on for so long on the geeky Shakespeare rant. Glad you enjoyed it with me.

  3. I sipped on a wine made by Chris also, the Where's Linus? Sav Blanc he made for Jenny & Francois Selections. I really want to try his Sparkling wines. It's on the list for a future order!
    I must say that your curry sounds delicious and I will be trying that recipe soon!
    Thanks for leading this journey this month!

    1. Thank you for joining! As well as for making me aware of another of his wines.

  4. You weren’t the only ones celebrating with some bubbly that day! I just wish I had known about this particular one, because that would have been such fun!

  5. I still haven't had the pleasure of Bodkin wines yet, but hope to soon. And love your ladies group. As an attorney, RBG was a personal hero.

  6. Sounds like a delicious pairing! I go for cauliflower quite a bit with Indian, I like the way it absorbs the flavors. Thanks for hosting this important topic!


Thanks so much for leaving your comments and questions. I always love to hear from you!