Having just returned from a fantastic week in the
Mrs. Cuvee and I first experienced the Kunde Family Estate back in 2005 on a cold damp winter morning, where we had a chance to sample their wines, take the "cave-tour" which they still offer, we walked away with a few gems back then. Every time I have an opportunity to taste their wines, I always come away with a few favorites in tow. So much has changed since that last visit, they have modernized the tasting room, it's much brighter and inviting. Most of the observable changes come in the form of a new parking lot, a brand new deck over looking a newly built man-made pond, plenty of deck chairs and umbrellas which invite lounging and the flower strewn trail, leading to the large cellar doors.
Honestly, do yourself a favor if you find yourself in the area, Kunde Family Estate is a place you need to stop, sip and relax. Whether you choose the "Mountain-Top" experience, a Sustainable Hike, a Horseback Ride, the simple pleasures of the Kinneybrook Room like we did, or you just want to belly-up to the tasting-bar, they have something for everyone. Their prices for the tours and the wine are very reasonable, when compared to many of their counterparts in area, delivering palate pleasing QPR in every sniff, sip and slurp.
Okay here's the skinny [or what some folks will call the tasting notes] on the wines I took home. I failed at showing any restraint having taken four bottles of each, nothing like putting your money, where your mouth is.
2008 Reserve Century Vines Zinfandel: This wine has a SRP of $35, under a cork closure. As I often say during these live tastings, like they guy with no filter, tasting the wines out of order at times, "this is the big boy in the room". To say this wine is a monster of finesse, would be a huge understatement. Depth and complexity draped over abundant red and dark fruit, making this Zinfandel the mother of all "old-vine" Zinfandel's. The Zen of Zinfandel's should really be the title of this wine. In a game of poker with other supposed old vine zins, this wine would be "all-in" sitting pretty with a full house and no I'm not bluffing.
Folks this Zinfandel is the "real-deal", not a pretender to the throne like so many other so-called Old-Vines Zins. This wine is produced from the Shaw vineyard [don't miss this] which is reported to be 126 years old, Booyah! This is my third encounter with this same vineyard and oh my the layers of flavor, piped with nice acidity, give the fruit real pop. This is how you do it, not a jammy note insight, this wine is seamless and the flavor sails on into the horizon. Well done, I give this wine 93 points.
2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley: Many folks think you have to go to Napa to get a decent bottle of "Cab" but nothing could be further from the truth, this wine blows that misconception out of the water, like a broad-side from old Ironsides [the oldest commissioned U.S Navy ship afloat]. Bold, fresh, and delicious are the words that immediately spring to mind for this 2009 Kunde Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Its glass staining ruby color immediately tells you this is a wine to take seriously, tasting great now, immediately approachable.
Bang, bang black cherry and fresh blackberries scents easily grab your attention. In the glass, right out of the bottle, no decanter in sight, after the first slurp, mouth-filling flavors of blackberries, ripe plum, rich toast and dark chocolate plays nicely in the background. A touch of chalky tannins on the finish, reminding you it's still a youngster, but one that has great aging potential. If you’re looking for pairing suggestions, this wine will be right at home with the “classic” complements to Cabernet: grilled steak and prime rib, it's also very impressive with the Duck Confit prepared at Bistro Ralph in Healdsburg, Ca. My score for this wine is 92 points and it sells for $45.
2008 Kunde Meritage 202: As for the 202 on label, it's a silent reminder of how long the Kunde Family Estate has been making wine, as the two hundred and second bonded winery in the U.S. The other name on the label, meritage, indicates that it's a Bordeaux style blend. One which incorporates, 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 8% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot. This wine is the recipient of a 3-day cold soak, barrel aged 18 months in 53% new French oak and pump-overs twice a day, producing a an elegant blend, which beams with rich red and dark fruit from start to finish, in a word this wine is plush. You will find this wine a bit flamboyant, putting my snout in the glass, wow a bouquet of roasted coffee, florals and plum liqueur inviting the first long slurp. After the first splash down, dark bakers chocolate, dark plum and ripe cherry, toasty oak is accompanied by a full-bodied, deep, luxuriously rich, framed with good structure. Again this wine is young, giving boat-loads of youthful flavors, but laying this wine down a bit will reward the patient. My score is 90 points and this wine sells for $30, well worth the price of admission.
Okay folks, I know it has been some time since I posted, nearly two weeks, "yikes" but I appreciate you hanging in there. I have much more on the launching pad, so keep your score cards handy it's going to be fast and furious. Until next time, please continue to sip long and prosper, cheers!