Posts tagged ‘Steven Kent’

Cliffs Wine Picks –Steven Kent Winery

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

I post a lot more pictures and pairing suggestions on my Instagram account, consider joining me at https://www.instagram.com/cbbrown3/

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2017 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.

 

 

 

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 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!

 

Steven Kent Wines – Lola White Blend

 

2014 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

 

This sample was provided by the winery.

 

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Overview

Over the last couple of years, receiving samples from Steven Kent Winery (and La Rochelle) has always been a high point.  Steven Kent Winery produces some of the best Bordeaux varietal based wines coming out of California.  La Rochelle is at the other end of the varietal spectrum producing outstanding wines from the grapes of Burgundy.  This shipment was of one of my favorite warm weather wines, the new vintage of Steven Kent Winery Lola.  This is usually an outstanding blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, the white grapes of Bordeaux.

 

 

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.  Our 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.

 

 

2014 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard – SRP $24.00

The fruit for both varietals was fermented separately in stainless tanks.  The Semillon was aged in neutral oak barrels for about three months then blended with the stainless steel aged Sauvignon Blanc.  To maintain as much of the racy fruit as possible Lola did not go through malolactic fermentation and was thus filtered before bottling.

 

This wine is a blend of 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Semillon from the Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard located in the foothills 3.4 miles east of the Winery.  The wine has 13.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.  There was 500 cases of this wine produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a clear light straw yellow with a slight green tint.  The fresh and sexy nose has lemon zest, honey suckle, orange blossoms, crushed stone minerals, apples, cut grass, lime zest and a touch of spice.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate tart apples and lemon zest jump out quickly with minerals and white flowers coming in later.  The finish has very good length with lime zest and a slight grassy note coming in adding nice depth.  This is a killer bottle of wine for a nice au fresco meal on the deck or patio or to sip on its own on a warm day at the pool.  Count me in as a big fan.  (91 pts)

2014 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

2014 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2015 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.

 

 

 

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 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!

 

Steven Kent and La Rochelle Wineries

 

These reviews are based on samples provided by the winery or another company acting on their behalf.  Prices noted are the Suggested Retail Prices.

 

Over the last month, I have had the extreme pleasure of tasting through a dozen different wines from the Steven Kent and La Rochelle wineries.  Every wine has been outstanding and distinctive.  These aren’t the cookie-cutter wines being offered by some of the larger wineries in the world.  Every wine shows the distinct terroir of the vintage, region, and vineyard from where they originated.  Generally these are wines that taste good now with some aeration, but have the balance and all the key ingredients to age and improve with extended cellar time.

 

The wines, though above some people’s normal price points, are reasonably priced based on their level of quality.  These are small, limited production wines, most are produced in quantities under 100 cases.

 

I highly recommend these wines.  The winery also has a number of wine clubs that can guarantee you an allocation of the wines at discounted prices and offer other benefits.  Visit the website for more information.

 

 

 

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.  Our 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.

 

 

La Rochelle Info

Our mission at La Rochelle is a simple one:  to make California’s best, most interesting, most collectable Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

 

My family introduced the Pinot Noir grape to California in the 1850s.  Today, we partner with the state’s most renowned Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards – Garys’. Sleepy Hollow. Rosella’s. Londer. Paraiso. Tondre. Ferrington. Deer Park.  We craft Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grown on these famed estates that let the individual vineyard’s terroir, its special sense of place, shine through.

 

My great-great-great grandfather left the French port of La Rochelle one hundred and sixty years ago on a voyage of possibilities.  Our journey at La Rochelle Winery is an equally exciting one:  to discover the best vineyards and translate those exceptional estates into limited releases worthy of our heritage.

 

Steven Kent Mirassou

 

 

La Rochelle Winemaker, Tom Stutz also has a blog – Tom’s Blog.

 

 

Much more information is available on La Rochelle wine 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 lineup:

SKW Lineup

 

 

2009 La Rochelle Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Block A – $48.00

 

Wine Information

This 100% Pinot Noir was aged 26 months in 45% new oak and 55% second use.  The barrels were 74% French and 26% American.

 

The vineyard is one of the most northerly sites in the Santa Lucia Highlands.  The vineyard has been a source of fruit to La Rochelle since 2003, and provided fruit to the family’s Mirassou Vineyards label for close to 20 years before that time.  This is generally one of the “bigger” Pinot Noirs produced by the winery.

 

The final alcohol is 14.7% and production was 11 barrels.

 

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The very inviting nose has black cherries, raspberries, warmed baking spices, earthy underbrush, a nice smoky element, cola, minerals, fresh wild flowers, and a touch of pine needles.  This has medium body, soft, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has a nice helping of darker fruit, spice, and good earthiness.  The wine thins a touch on the finish which is flavorful with nice length.  I think with additional cellar time, the finish will fill out and the wine will develop additional complexity.  (92 pts)

2009 La Rochelle Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Block A

 

 

 

2009 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley – $48.00

 

Wine Information

This is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Home Ranch, Ghielmetti Estate, and Folkendt vineyards, as well as a few percent each of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.

 

The lots were made and aged separately before being blended about six months prior to release.  The wine spent a total of 24 months in 75% new oak barrels.  The barrels were 52% French, 43% American, and 5% Hungarian.

 

The final alcohol is 14.4%

 

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color.  The interesting nose has cassis, cedar, Asian spices, tobacco, black olives, dark chocolate, dried herbs, black cherries, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has nice fruit and spice up front with olives and earthiness coming in on the back end adding nice depth.  The finish has nice length and leans heavily on the savory elements.  This improved a lot with air; initially there was a green bell pepper element that after a couple hours integrated nicely.  (90 pts)

2009 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley

 

 

 

2009 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Folkendt Vineyard – $65.00

 

Wine Information

There were 82 cases produced of this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The 4.5 acre vineyard was planted in 1992.

 

The wine was aged 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels.  As with all their red wines, this was bottled without fining or filtration.

 

The final alcohol is 14.6%.

 

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The sexy nose has cassis, cedar, melted licorice, dried herbs, black plums, baking spices, dark chocolate, and some black cherry.  This has medium to full body, solid tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has solid dark fruit and spice with some dark chocolate and spicy oak in the background.  The finish is long and full of spicy fruit and chocolaty oak.  This really needs a couple years in the cellar to strut its stuff, but tastes nice now with several hours of air.  (93 pts)

2009 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Folkendt Vineyard

 

 

 

2009 Steven Kent Malbec Ghielmetti – $50.00

 

Wine Information

The Ghielmetti Vineyard is a touch under 65 acres and is planted to 11 different grapes on 20 distinct blocks.  This Malbec comes from Block 13, which is comprised of 66 rows and 5,940 vines that were grafted over from Petite Sirah in 2006.  This is the only block of Malbec in the vineyard.

 

The four barrels used in this offering were aged in 100% new oak and yielded a total of only 98 cases of wine.

 

The final alcohol is 14.1%.

 

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The exotic nose had plums, blackberries, stony minerals, Asian spices, licorice, cedar, charred meat, cherries, dark chocolate, and a touch of vanilla.  The wine has medium to full body, solid tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has big, bold, spicy fruit up front with very nice savory notes coming in on the back end adding considerable depth.  The finish is long and very flavorful with the spicy fruit, cedar, and a touch of dark chocolate slowly adding some cherry.  Very tasty today with some air, but this could use at least a year or two in the cellar.  This was much better on day two.  (94 pts)

2009 Steven Kent Malbec Ghielmetti

 

 

 

***** 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!

 

Steven Kent / La Rochelle Tasting

 

 

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!

 

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