These wines were provided by Balzac Communications acting on behalf of Steven Kent and La Rochelle Wineries.

 

 

The Lineup

 

 

These wines were tasted as part of the Steven Kent Wines online Twitter tasting on Friday, February 15th.  The notes that follow were compiled first during the event but modified as needed after retasting the bottles again on Saturday.  As expected a few of the larger red wines showed the most improvement on the second day.  Since these wines are priced on the higher side (but very reasonably, in my opinion) it would be best to allow the big reds considerable air or preferably a few years in the cellar.

 

 

Steven Kent Winery and La Rochelle Winery are part of the Steven Kent Portfolio.  Information is available online for Steven Kent Portfolio, Steven Kent Winery, and La Rochelle Winery.

 

 

 

2011 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard (SRP $24)

 

This is a blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon from the Ghielmetti Vineyard in Livermore.

 

Each variety was fermented separately in stainless steel tanks after whole cluster pressing.  After four months in tanks, the final blending was performed and aged a few more months in tanks to help marry the flavors.  The wine did not go through malo-lactic fermentation to help maintain the crisp acidity.

 

The final alcohol is 13.9%.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a golden yellow color with a slight green tint.  The fresh and full of Spring nose has apples, citrus zest, minerals, straw, and some spice.  This has a medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate the tart apples, lime zest, and a touch of white pepper grab center stage.  Even though it is only 35% of the blend it seems to stand out a bit.  This would be perfect for dinner on the deck or patio on a warm day.  (89 pts)

2011 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

 

 

 

2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Morelli Lane Dutton Ranch (SRP $65)

 

This 100% Chardonnay was pressed off into stainless steel tanks and allowed to settle for a day or two.  It was then transferred to French oak barrels, 40% new, for fermentation.  The wine underwent malo-lactic fermentation and was aged sur-lie for 18 months in the 40% new French oak.

 

The final alcohol is 14.8%.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep yellow with a slight golden tint.  The very appealing nose has apples, hazelnuts, fresh bread, baking spices, citrus zest, minerals, and a touch of pineapple.  This has medium body and nice acidity.  On the palate the ripe apples, citrus zest, minerals, and spice steal the show.  Watch the serving temperature on this one, it was too bright when a couple degrees cold but became a bit too soft and out of balance when it warmed a bit too much.  (89 pts)

2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Morelli Lane Dutton Ranch

 

 

 

2009 La Rochelle Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands (SRP $38)

 

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.  The vineyards used are Paraiso (31.3%), Sarmento (31.2%), White Sage (12.5%), Tondre Grapefield (12.5%), and Mission Ranch (12.5%).

 

The wine was aged 31 months in 100% French oak, 40% new and 60% second use.

 

The alcohol is 15.2%.

 

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The dark and enticing nose has cherries, earthy underbrush, wood smoke, cola, minerals, warm baking spices, black raspberries, dark chocolate, and a touch orange zest.  This has medium body, ripe, velvety tannins, and very good acidity.  Earthy cherries, baking spices, and minerals grab the palate initially, slowly allowing some cola, black raspberries, and spicy oak to add considerable depth.  The finish has very nice length with earthy fruit and spice slowly fading away.  This is very young and deserves some cellar time to open and fill out.  This improved greatly on the second day.  (92 pts)

2009 La Rochelle Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands

 

 

 

2009 La Rochelle Pinot Noir Donum Estate Vineyard – (SRP $75)

 

This 100% Pinot Noir from Donum Ranch in the Carneros region was aged 19 months in 100% French oak, 40% new, for 19 months after being destemmed and crushed into 1 3/4 ton open top bins for fermentation.

 

The final alcohol is 14.6%.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a touch lighter than a medium ruby red color.  The very enticing nose has raspberries, dried sage, eucalyptus, cherries, and some earthiness.  This is barely medium body with soft, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate is dominated by the cherries, raspberries, and spice, but a touch of earthiness creeps in on the back end.  The finish has nice length but it seemed to get a touch thin.  Drinkable now, but I’m sure some time in the cellar will add some complexity and help fill out the finish a bit.  (90 pts)

2009 La Rochelle Pinot Noir Donum Estate Vineyard

 

 

 

2009 Steven Kent Petit Verdot Ghielmetti – (SRP $50)

 

Petit Verdot is generally used as a blending grape to help add tannins and color to Cabernet Sauvignon wines.  As an experiment, the winery selected their five “best” barrels to bottle and release as a “small lot” offering.  In my opinion, their experiment was a glowing success.

 

This 100% Petit Verdot from the Livermore Valley was aged 18 months in 60% new and 40% second use oak barrels from America and Hungary.  To the winery, the wine aged in the American oak  provided the “most pleasurable combination of structuring elements, flavor/aroma contribution, and forwardness of fruit”.  Total production was only 98 cases.

 

The final alcohol was 14.1%.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The dark and manly nose has blackberries, cocoa, vanilla, warm baking spices, and some nice earthiness.  This is medium to full body with fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  The velvety palate is headed by dark, spicy, earthy berries, with some cocoa coming in on the back end.  The finish is fairly long and a nice continuation of the palate.  The best straight Petit Verdot I have ever had the pleasure to drink.  This wine was very good on the first day but even better on day two.  Some cellar time will be greatly rewarded.  (93 pts)

2009 Steven Kent Petit Verdot Ghielmetti

 

 

 

2009 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch Vineyard – (SRP $65)

 

The Home Ranch in the Livermore Valley was planted in 1996 and is 2.8 acres.

 

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon was destemmed and crushed into open top fermenters.  After fermentation, the wine was moved into 100% new American and French oak barrels for 24 months of aging.

 

The final alcohol is 14.2%.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine was a dark ruby to maroon color.  The exotic and very inviting nose has a quick hit of mint accompanied by cassis, dried herbs, smoke, baking spices, minerals, fresh ground espresso, and dark chocolate.  This has medium to full body, solid tannins and good acidity.  The palate was just as inviting as the nose lead me to expect with spicy cassis, mint, and a touch of earthiness leading the way.  The finish was fairly long with a very nice dark, bittersweet chocolate note lingering seemingly forever.  This improved greatly on the second day and deserves some time in the cellar.  (92 pts)

2009 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch Vineyard

 

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!