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Wine Advocate

Wine Advocate January, 2024

Napa: New and Upcoming Releases

“Across the board, the 2021 Memento Mori wines are terrific Napa Cabernets, true to the variety, their origin and the vision of their winemaker. If you have the money (the wines are expensive) and the access (distribution is largely via the mailing list) and enjoy the style, don't hesitate to acquire whatever you can.” - Joe Czerwinski

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Food & Wine

Food & Wine January, 2024

How to Find Terroir-Driven Wines Next time you come across a single-vineyard wine, here's what you need to know.

“Even within single vineyards, winemakers have options for blending, and the process is often an important part of single vineyard wines. “When blending, we as winemakers have options to play with, even within, a single vineyard,” says Sam Kaplan, winemaker for Arkenstone, Memento Mori, Vida Valiente, and MAXEM. “Whether I’m focusing on different plots within that site, or (as is the case at Arkenstone Estate), working with different varieties in the same vineyard, [blending] gives me the ability to highlight the site and vintage with the different tools of blending components within the same site. Kaplan adds that great sites have shown themselves to be great over time, whether it be through a highly unique character, consistent wine quality, or simply because quite often the best sites can shine in great or challenging vintages.” - Brian Freedman

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Men's Journal

Men's Journal December, 2023

Holiday Gifting Guide 2023: The Best Napa Valley Cabs Give the gift of the very best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons to someone you love.

“A dynamic blend that marries fruit from all the vineyards that we work with, this Cabernet reinforces that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts while spotlighting a truly wonderful vintage. Dark red raspberries, mulberries, spiced mocha, pencil shavings, incense, and vanilla bean lead into a plush and sensual mid-palate full of red plums, crushed stones, kirsch, freshly cut lilacs, clove, and toasted marshmallow. Aged in 100% new French oak for 22 months, finely grained tannins frame a concentrated and powerful liquid expression that lead into an opulent finish that lingers on the palate and delights the senses.” - Matt Kaner

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Modern Luxury SF

Modern Luxury San Francisco December, 2023

Take Five Come bearing a great bottle this Holiday Season. We picked five that hit the gifting mark.

“Cabs produced by this Napa wine label boast a cult following, and the new release – with notes of everything from blueberry compote to black truffles – recently received a 100-point rating from The Wine Independent.” - Michael McCarthy

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Robb Report

Robb Report November, 2023

How To Find Napa Valley's Next Great Cult Wines In pursuit of the bottles that will be someday be trophies in your cellar

“Small production wineries like Memento Mori, Vice Versa, and La Pelle are generating the type of excitement and in-the-know buzz last seen when wineries like Screaming Eagle, Harlan, or Hundred Acre were gaining attention.”  - Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen

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The Press Democrat

The Press Democrat October, 2023

Napa Valley Tequila Made Like Wine Shines For What It Lacks El Negocio is turning heads for everything it lacks — and because it’s crafted just like wine.

"The tequila is the brainchild of Adam Craun, one of the three friends who started Calistoga-based Memento Mori winery, and entrepreneur Nicholas Lutz." - Matt Villano

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The Wine Independent

The Wine Independent October, 2023

Unbreakable Memento Mori and Vida Valiente

"Hayes Drumwright sees his near-death experience when he was twenty as the best thing that’s happened to him. Since then, he co-founded the wine estate Memento Mori—a reminder to live." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown

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Modern Luxury SF

Modern Luxury San Francisco October, 2023

Genius Farmer

“Sam Kaplan continues to be one of the most talented winemakers in the region. He might also be the kindest.” - Michael McCarthy

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Beverage Media Metro New York

Beverage Media June, 2023

How To Get The Most Out Of Winery Visits A guide to maximizing the educational value and networking opportunities of in-person winery trips.

"For most wine professionals, nothing beats getting out of the office and into the vineyards with the winemakers and vineyard managers responsible for crafting the wines they work with every day... To maximize the educational value and networking opportunities of in-person winery trips, Beverage Media gathered best practices from experts across the industry." - Laura Burgess

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Oltre April, 2023

The Oltre Guide to Napa Valley and Sonoma County 101 tips for fabulous resorts, world-class wines, craft beer, art, music, adventure, dining, and shopping.

“A brush with death inspired the exquisite wines sourced from Napa’s most exalted vineyards. Intimate, industrial-chic tasting room by the river.” - Maria Hunt

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Wine Industry Advisor

Wine Industry Advisor April, 2023

Memento Mori Purchases 17-Acre Calistoga Estate Luxury Napa Valley Wine Winery Invests in Long Term Vision for its Growing Label

The Azalea Springs Way property, formerly known as Stonescape, was previously owned by Norah and Norman Stone. Prominent Bay Area art collectors, the Stones were known for the rare pieces displayed in their art caves (which included works by Marc Chagall, Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol) and the lavish parties they would throw at their estate for San Francisco society. Memento Mori’s purchase of this storied estate reflects the high demand, growing success, and nascent cult status of its wines.

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Wine Spectator

Wine Spectator February, 2023

At Memento Mori, It’s Carpe Diem Time A dozen years into its life, a boutique Napa Cabernet producer gains a permanent home in Calistoga

"With the purchase of the former Stonescape estate in Calistoga, this new star among boutique Cabernet producers is following a similar path in trying to set itself up for a generational run." -James Molesworth

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San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle February, 2023

How product placement gets wine bottles into shows like ‘The Last of Us'

“About half the time, Moore said, a prop master will come to his agency with a specific wine in mind that they’d like to include in a film, and it’s then up to him to track down the wine. (He recently got just such a request for Memento Mori, a high-end Napa Valley wine, so Legacy got in touch with the winery’s publicist.)” - Esther Mobley

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Food & Wine December, 2022

14 Comforting Red Wines for the Coziest Time of the Year As winter approaches, this is the time of year to start enjoying big, dramatic reds from Napa Valley.

2020 Memento Mori Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

"Opulent and propulsive, this wine speaks of black raspberries, pomegranate syrup, and blackberry coulis as well as espresso, cocoa powder, and hot-rock minerality that’s informed by flecks of cedar, singed sage, and tobacco. Charred vanilla sings through the toasty, candied-floral finish, all of it carried on a velvety, plush texture that’s excellent now and promises two decades of evolution." - Brian Freedman

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Mensbook White

Modern Luxury - Mensbook December, 2022

The 7 Best Holiday Gifts for Wine and Spirit Lovers Break out the holiday gift list—these exceptional bottles will immediately impress.


Nob Hill Gazette Logo

Nob Hill Gazette November, 2022

Crowd-Pleasing Pours: What Bottles to Bring this Holiday Season When it’s time for various holiday events and scenarios, allow us to suggest some magnificent wines that will definitely make your next gathering jollier.

2020 Memento Mori Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

"Memento Mori is a winning choice for this important, anxiety-inducing situation with your partner’s family because it’s an excellent small Napa Valley producer with a wonderful backstory: The winery’s owners — a trio of childhood friends who have been there for each other through lots of triumphs and challenges — believe in cherishing every day. Their flagship cabernet sauvignon is a grand, beautifully balanced wine with redwoods, red fruit and umami flavors, concluding with a finish that tastes like a Manhattan cocktail–soaked cherry." - Trevor Felch

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Wine Spectator August, 2022

Spectator Selections: Highly Recommended The issue's most impressive wines.

95 points—Memento Mori Cabernet Sauvignon
Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard

"Sleek in style, with a lovely sense of purity to the cassis and cherry reduction notes inlaid with a subtle iron thread. Offers a pretty floral lift in the background from a steady violet note, and the finish has a tug of warm earth to keep it honest. Best from 2023 through 2036. 125 cases made." - James Molesworth

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Wine Spectator July, 2022

Keeping an Open Mind on 2020 All was not lost in a Napa Cabernet vintage turned upside-down by wildfires and a pandemic: Hope, and great winemaking, finds a way, and 2020 may yet yield successes

“As the pandemic progressed, we were really worried about how to farm, pick fruit and make wine. There were a lot of unknowns,” says Sam Kaplan, winemaker for Memento Mori, a boutique Napa Cabernet producer. “And then when it came to the fires, we had to test for possible smoke taint. But doing that in a pandemic and with the crush of everyone testing, samples were taking weeks and months to come back. But we just kept plowing forward.” - James Molesworth

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MAXIM June, 2022

The Ultimate Rolls-Royce Road Trip Through California Wine Country: Part II More wine and food-fueled Northern California adventures in a custom orange Cullinan SUV.

"Speaking of wine, although taking place in wine country, the focus of this trip was not on actual wineries, aside from the mission-critical evening at Aperture. We did however find time to visit the Memento Mori tasting salon in Downtown Napa, which insiders know is something that can’t be missed. The boutique winery specializes in cult 100-point Cabernet Sauvignon from some of the most famous vineyards in Napa Valley." - Jared Paul Stern

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Decanter June, 2022

Winemaker profile: Sam Kaplan From helping his father with his small vineyard in Oklahoma to being consultant and co-owner of multiple wineries across California, Sam Kaplan’s ‘valiant life’ in Napa wine’s top tier has grown to the point that now he’s ready to start giving back.

"Vida Valiente is much more than just another winery for Napa winemaker Sam Kaplan. Over the past 20 years, Kaplan has become the shepherd of a growing number of blue-chip Napa wineries, including Arkenstone, Memento Mori and Vangone. His newest project is a joint philanthropic venture with his wife Nancy, along with Memento Mori co-owner Hayes Drumwright and his wife Susana Cueva Drumwright." - Jonathan Cristaldi

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Robb Report Logo

Robb Report March, 2022

13 Outstanding New Sauvignon Blancs That You’ll Want to Sip All Spring The crisp and refreshing white pairs perfectly with the season.

"Having spent about 11 months in oak (50 percent new), this jewel of a Sauv Blanc, from Memento Mori’s acclaimed winemaker Sam Kaplan, is balanced between satisfying weight and delicate nuance. Lovely acacia blossom aromas lead into lush but fresh citrus, with hints of apricot, guava and river stones. Mouth-filling textures amplify a gamut of spicy citrus on a broad but vibrant palate—from lemongrass to Meyer lemon and clementine—joining forces with ripe stone fruit and tropicals. A savory vein throughout lends sophistication. Special to Robb Report readers: Through April 11, mention this article in a request to, to receive a limited allocation of this Sauvignon Blanc." - Sara L. Schneider

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Worth December, 2021

31 Wines To Help You Finish Out 2021 And Ring In 2022 Whether they cost $15 or $300, here are 31 wines to help you ponder the year gone by and celebrate the year ahead.

"Founded by three former roommates and friends who began careers outside of the wine world, Memento Mori isn’t trying to appeal to everyone: The phrase typically refers to an artistic representation of the inevitability of death, and, appropriately, this wine comes in a box decorated with skeletons. The founders, however, translate the phrase as “Remember to Live,” the implication being that one should not wait to drink great (and expensive) wine, which is certainly hard to argue. And on this promise, Memento Mori delivers: Blended with grapes from some of Napa’s most renowned vineyards, this is a big but mature cabernet, with lots of dark fruit, cassis, black tea and spices. It’s balanced enough to drink now, but if you do want to wait a bit, a few years in the cellar would work nicely." - Richard Bradley

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People Magazine Logo

People Magazine November, 2021

In Vino Veritas: The Best Gifts for the Wine Lovers in Your Life From bottles and books to chocolate pairings and wine-themed T-shirts, we've rounded up the ultimate oenophile wishlist

"What do you get the wine lover who already has all the gadgets — the decanters, the sets of stemware, the top-of-the-line corkscrews? An exceptional bottle of wine is a foolproof option. Memento Mori's 2019 flagship Cabernet Sauvignon hits all the right notes: a blend from five of Napa's top vineyards, this dense and dark-berry wine would be a welcome addition to any collector's cellar. Smoke and wood balance silk and crushed berries in this incredibly balanced bottle; it's ready to drink now, or could be cellared for another 20 plus years." -Sophie Dodd

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Lonely Planet September, 2021

Top things to do in Napa Valley: a wine expert's guide

"Cabernet Sauvignon is the most prized (and most expensive) grape in Napa Valley, accounting for more than half of all vineyard acreage. While it can be fun to search out your favorite wines from home and see where they are made, it’s even more exciting to try something rare and exclusive that you can’t find at your local liquor store.

"For example, Memento Mori and BRION are two wineries specializing in 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines from some of Napa Valley’s most iconic vineyards. Each will only schedule a couple of one-on-one tastings a day, but you can simply request an appointment through their websites. Be prepared to spend more than $200 a bottle – but for true Cabernet connoisseurs, it’s worth it.

"BRION is the newest winery in Napa Valley, with a lovely tasting room overlooking Sleeping Lady Vineyard, while Memento Mori hosts tastings at a discreet salon in an industrial district in Napa. Its flagship Cabernet is strong, supple and sublime." -Amber Gibson

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Forbes Logo September, 2021

Memento Mori And Realm Cellars: Two Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Stars

"Memento Mori was founded in 2010 by Hayes Drumwright, Adriel Lares, and Adam Craun. The name, which translates from the Latin as "remember that you will die" or, alternatively, "remember you must die," is a reminder to the three partners that success is about leaving it all on the proverbial field, and working to succeed no matter what the challenges." -Brian Freedman

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This Napa Valley winery REALLY wants you to examine your own mortality

"Though Memento Mori is translated from Latin as "Remember That You Will Die," the founders of the mega-hit winery have their own translation: Remember To Live. Founded by best friends Hayes Drumwright, Adriel Lares & Adam Craun, Memento Mori started as a way to ensure their families got to see each other more. Adriel and Hayes' friendship stems back to their childhood in a small town in Alvin, Texas, and though their respective paths took varying turns, they remained best friends. When Hayes left for Boston University he met the third musketeer Adam while swimming for the school." -Amanda McCrossin, SommVivant

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The Times UK June, 2021

Postcard from California: ‘Visitors are toasting their new‑found freedoms’ There’s a festive atmosphere in Napa and Sonoma, where tourists are back and Covid rules are set to be dropped

"Take the tasting experience at the cult favourite Memento Mori winery in south Napa, for instance. At the modern man-cave-vibe tasting room visitors are greeted with a flute of bubbles from the Champagne Paul Launois portfolio, then dive into a flight of different cabernet sauvignon wines, from selections that might include the 2018 Memento Mori Vine Hill Ranch.

"Over the course of each visit staff regale guests with the story of how the winery was born — three longtime friends who battled life-threatening illness and other adversities came together to create a brand that celebrates every moment. Given our collective experience during the pandemic, this narrative is a good reminder of what matters most in life." -Matt Villano

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Robb Report

Robb Report June, 2021

How Three Longtime Friends Overcame Adversity to Build the Winery of Their Dreams Memento Mori's co-founder Adam Craun discusses making a mark in Napa Valley.

"While he was in college, Hayes Drumwright was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. He was able to pull through, but it had a profound effect not just on him, but on his college friend Adam Craun and high-school buddy Adriel Lares. The brush with death unsurprisingly made the three of them decide that life really was for living. After establishing successful careers separately, their mutual love of wine drew them to Napa with the desire to open their own winery." -Jeremy Repanich

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Modern Luxury Silicon Valley

Modern Luxury Silicon Valley April, 2021

The Ultimate Insider's Guide To The New Napa Valley

"Another noteworthy experience is visiting the Memento Mori tasting room, where visitors can taste founding winemaker Sam Kaplan’s world-class cabernet in a hip industrial area close to downtown Napa. With grapes sourced from five of the best vineyards in the area—two Beckstoffer Vineyards in St. Helena, and in Oakville, Weitz Vineyard, Vine Hill Ranch and Oakville Ranch—each bottle shines with unique, elegant characteristics." -Lauren Brocato and Laura Eckstein Jones

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