Getting to the Bottom…

February 3, 2013

You’d think that when you nuture a wine from the grape to the bottle, tasting it from its youth, tracking each change, the effect of the new barrel on fruit, the growth of tannin, and the blossoming of balance and complexity..that each one would be as singular and unforgettable as one of your children.

Things don’t always work that way. Especially when you are tasting that wine blind with a bunch of really big wines.

I was pouring the 09 Lineage over the course of a few days last week  in Southern California, and I had the rare opportunity to have the wine newly opened three days in a row…and to taste the wine as it opened up over a multi-hour tasting. Then at the end of the week, I tasted the wine again, along with The Premier Cabernet 2009 in a flight of 8 very high-end wines from Napa.

The wine I thought was Lineage, was in fact The Premier; and the Premier ended up being a different wine, altogether.

The point is, I guess, that each time I taste wine…my own wine most assuredly, it is a new experience. No matter how well I think I know the wine, it has something special in reserve to show me, some new layer that I haven’t yet fathomed. This is one of the greatest things about wine: the truly great ones are bottomless…there is no getting everything, no understanding all that it has to offer; each tiime you taste it, there is a new level of complexity and a new level of potential beauty there.

Here’s hoping that the mystery never ends.

A little housekeeping to send April off….Reviews from the esteemed Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine for several of the Steven Kent Cabs:


STEVEN KENT Clone Thirty. Ghielmetti Vineyard. Cabernet Sauvignon. Livermore Valley 2008

Very Limited AvailabilityAgeBeef/Lamb
The deepest, richest and most outgoing of Steven Kent’s several new Cabernets, the Clone Thirty bottling is also the most definitively ripe in character. It is a big, fleshy, mouthfilling wine rife with extracted black cherry fruit, and if in no way a nuanced wine at this point, it is appointed with loads of very sweet, vanillin oak that stays step for step with that fruit. A few may find it a too much of a good thing, but those who enjoy wines of its style would be smart to stash a few bottles away for a half-dozen years.
STEVEN KENT Ghielmetti Vineyard. Cabernet Sauvignon.  Livermore Valley 2008
Very Limited AvailabilityAgeBeef/Lamb
Elements of black cherries, sweet oak, fresh herbs and a bit of forest-floor spice are nicely married in both the outgoing aromas and easy-to-access flavors of this one, and the wine’s convincing Cabernet credentials are never in doubt. It is fairly supple on entry and generally well-balanced with fine-grained tannins showing on the latter-palate, and, while it does want four or five years to show its best, it is not one that needs protracted aging.
And a new review from the terrific Wine Enthusiast Magazine:
90 Points – Steven Kent Winery 2008 Ghielmetti Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 
“This lovingly made wine is packed with boysenberry, black cherry, and swirls of vanilla cream around its soft, round texture and structure. Its long finish is laced with plum, whispers of smoke, licorice and a touch of cedar. Another 3-5 years in bottle will tame its tannins further and enhance every last nuance. “
Unfortunately, these wines are currently unavailable, but we are set to release The Premier, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine represents our best 100% Cabernet release of the vintage and is sure to be regarded as one of the finest Cabernets we have yet produced. Only 480 bottles of this wine are available in the Reserve Room and Barrel Room. You can order the wine here.