This is based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

 

2016 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Franc BDX Collection

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Series Ghielmetti

2013 Steven Kent Lineage

 

 

 

 

I was recently lucky and grateful to receive some wine samples from the Steven Kent Winery.  These are my first samples from the winery in a few years.  In the past these wines were top notch offerings that would make any meal a special event.

 

 

 

The Steven Kent Winery Was Born.

In 2005, Steven joined forces with the Ghielmetti family who owned a spectacular vineyard site about three miles east of the winery.  The site was planted to Bordeaux and Rhône varieties, many of which he used to make small-lot releases for his burgeoning wine clubs.  Steven realized in 2007, though, that the farther he went down this path, the further away he’d be from the vision with which he started in the business – to make a single, great, statement wine.

 

Lineage—our Livermore Valley Red Wine—then, is the renaissance of that need to have the effort mean something; for the wine to be a symbol of the passion to create something of great quality, an emblem of one family’s generations-long commitment to the grape.

 

Also in 2005, Steven found an opportunity to close a circle.  His cousins, who had earlier sold the Mirassou brand to Gallo, had started a brand called La Rochelle, named for the town north of Bordeaux from which their progenitor had come to America in 1854.  La Rochelle had an amazingly talented winemaker, Tom Stutz, and a portfolio of wines whose only focus was family vineyard fruit from Monterey.  Steven acquired the brand and brought it and Tom up to Livermore with a new focus on Pinot Noir.  Seven years later, La Rochelle is making some of the best Pinot Noirs (and a newly released, small-lot production focus on Chardonnay) in California.

 

Much more information, links to the wineries, and purchasing information is available at their website.

 

 

Steven has a very nice blog here – Steven’s Blog.

 

 

 

Steven Kent Winery Info

“Steven Kent is producing today’s greatest Livermore Cabernets, wines that hearken back to the valley’s roots as one of California’s best wine regions.” – Wine Enthusiast

 

The Steven Kent Winery was started in 1996 with one mission: to make Cabernet here in the Livermore Valley that rivals in quality the greatest red wines made anywhere in the world.

 

Livermore Valley has a long, dedicated history of growing the “Bordeaux” varietals, and in particular Cabernet Sauvignon.  In the 1880s, pioneering winegrowers began to discover the potential of the Livermore Valley region.  Then, as today, L.V.’s climate and soils closely resemble those of Bordeaux’s famed left bank of the Gironde.  By the turn of the last century, Livermore Valley was already far ahead of its Napa Valley neighbor in specializing in the Bordeaux varieties.  The goal at Steven Kent is to carry on that tradition.

 

“We have worked joyously and strenuously to know our vineyards; to learn how our fruit expresses itself from those sites; to discover the best winemaking and barrel regimens that translates those grapes into world-class vintages.  We’re very gratified that customers, critics, and collectors alike consider our “historic Cabernet” to be an essential addition to their table, their “best of lists,” and their cellars”.  – Steven Kent Mirassou

 

More information is available at their website.

 

 

To check availability or to purchase any of these wine or other wines offered by the wineries in the Steven Kent Portfolio, visit their website.

 

 

 

The line up for this tasting:

Steven Kent Winery

Steven Kent Winery

 

 

 

2016 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard – SRP $24

This wine is a blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillion from the winery’s Ghielmetti Vineyard in California’s Livermore Valley.  This wine is a crowd pleaser that will be enjoyed by casual wine drinkers it has the crispness and complexity to please an experienced wine lover’s palate.

 

The varietals were fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks separately for three months before being blended.  The wine did not go through malolactic fermentation so it would retain the fresh, crisp personality of the grapes.  There were only 476 cases produced in this vintage.

 

The wine is a pale yellow with a slight green tint.  The exuberant nose has green apples, lime zest, orange blossoms, white peach, crushed stone minerals, ginger and a hint of green leafy herbs.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate tart green apples, lime zest and crushed stone minerals quickly grab your attention with white peach and ginger coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with orange blossoms and a touch of leafy green herbs providing depth.  This is a very nice, crisp wine perfect for a lighter meal on a sunny day.  This is very easy to enjoy.  This has 13.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (91 pts)

2016 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

2016 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Franc BDX Collection – SRP $48

All the fruit for this wine comes from a 3.73 acre block in the winery’s Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard.

 

After a 5 to 7 day cold soak and fermentation, the wine had an extended 14 day maceration.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels with 30% being new.  The total production was 249 cases.

 

The wine is a nice garnet red color.  The sexy nose has black cherries, plums, dried leafy herbs, sandalwood, dark chocolate, warm baking spices, dry underbrush, licorice, dusty minerals and dried wild flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate nice bright fruit and baking spices quickly grab your attention with dried leafy herbs, sandalwood and dusty minerals coming in on the back end.  The nicely lingering finish is highlighted by dark chocolate, a dried floral note and dry underbrush.  This is the full package for a Cab Franc, nice upfront fruit with spice and herbs on the mid-palate.  This tastes great now but a year or two in the cellar will be warmly rewarded.  This has 13.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Franc BDX Collection

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Franc BDX Collection

 

 

 

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Series Ghielmetti – SRP $65

This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the winery’s Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard in the Livermore Valley.

 

After a 5 to 7 day cold soak and fermentation, the wine had an extended 14 day maceration.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 24 months in mostly new French oak barrels.  The total production was meager 212 cases.

 

The wine is a deep ruby red to maroon color.  The enticing nose has cassis, cherries, spicy oak, baking spices, plums, dried leafy herbs, crushed stones, licorice, scorched earth and violets.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the open and very expressive palate cassis, cherries, baking spices, crushed stones and spicy oak quickly grab your attention on the front end with plums and dried herbs coming in later.  The finish has great length with scorched earth and a nice floral note providing very nice depth.  This tastes great now with some air but some cellar time will be rewarded.  This is a top notch cabernet that will rival any Napa cabernet that costs twice this price.  Needless to say, I love this wine.  This has 13.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Series Ghielmetti

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Series Ghielmetti

 

 

 

2013 Steven Kent Lineage – SRP $155

This vintage of Lineage is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec from the Ghielmetti Estate & Home Ranch Vineyards in the Livermore Valley.  Even though 2013 was one of the best vintages in the Livermore Valley in the past 20 years, extreme sorting and sampling lead to the “declassification” of 95% of the Bordeaux varietals.  This meant the total production of 2013 Lineage was a miniscule 3300 750ml bottles (mine was number 3112).  There were also 60 magnums, 5 double-magnums and 5 five-liter bottles produced.

 

Each vintage of Lineage begins with the evaluation of individual lots of wine after malo-lactic conversion is finished in late winter the year after harvesting. This process will take many months as each barrel in each lot is tasted blind several times before it is deemed of great-enough quality to be considered as part of the Lineage blend. Scores of mock blends later, the final assemblage is made, rebarreled for about six months so that the wine’s components have an opportunity to marry into an elegant whole, then bottled.

 

10 of 13 barrels included in this blend were new French oak (Taransaud, Le Grand, and François Frerès.)  Total aging time was 24 months.

 

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to maroon color.  The incredible nose is full of cassis, warm baking spices, dried herbs, dusty minerals, cedar, violets, dry underbrush, dark bittersweet chocolate, cherries, road tar and freshly ground espresso beans.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and outstanding acidity.  On the palate cassis, minerals, baking spices and dried herbs quickly grab your attention with cedar, cherries, dry underbrush and espresso beans coming in later.  The finish is long and nicely layered with dark chocolate and violets providing good depth.  This wine is a stunner even at this very young period in its evolution.  This wine deserves a year or two in the cellar, even more time will be rewarded.  This is a WOW wine.  This has the balance to age and improve for a long time.  The wine has 14.4% alcohol and the heavy duty, premium bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  I loved this wine, without a doubt my favorite wine this year.  (96 pts)

2013 Steven Kent Lineage

2013 Steven Kent Lineage

 

 

 

Conclusions

Across the board these were some of the best wines I have enjoyed this year.  The Lola is a wonderful white wine to enjoy in the waning days of Summer but would also be fantastic any time of the year.  The three red wines, especially the Lineage, would benefit from some cellar time, but with some air would be a welcome addition to your dinner table in the upcoming holiday season.  It was the winery’s aim to showcase the Livermore Valley as a world class region, and in my judgment, they have succeeded.

 

 

 

 

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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 always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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!

 

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