03 April, 2009

The Land is the Brand - an afternoon at Kendall Jackson

I had a transcendental experience with my friend Alexis who was visiting from LA. Alexis took me to visit a long time friend of hers who is now one of my favs as well! Cory Jones has spent about 13 years at Kendall Jackson and currently manages the selling relationship with their channel.
Corey showed us the best of the KJ properties that we could fit into a short 5 hours. Our fault for the late start. We tasted too many martinis the night before! However late we were, the Matanzas Creek wine and lavender estate in Bennett Valley was breathtakingly beautiful and beckoned us to spend some serious time tasting wine. I am already planning a return trip to see the lavender in full bloom! First I must say a little bit about the land... Bennett Valley is an exquisite viticulture, surrounded by Sonoma Mountain and Taylor peak. Our host, Cory reviewed the basics of how wines become the memorable experience we were about to taste. He said the Kendall Jackson folks believe the land is the brand and in Bennett Valley the land has long been a bountiful agricultural site that enjoys cool winds that encourage a longer growing season. The fermentation of these mature berries is key - so they use barrels that are made from Oak from France to toast the wines to the desired smoothness. The last leg to the plan for delivering a great bottle of wine is the fermentation and KJ has an edge on softening malicacid. Enough about how the wine is made we were dying for our first taste of Matanzas' jewels.

We started with an '07 Savignon Blanc that was full of citrus fruit aroma and taste. I'm a Savignon girl so this was very pleasing to me. Alexis wanted to know when the Pinot was being poured (hint: her favorite from a previous trip to Matanzas). The '06 Chardonnay was ever so creamy with an earthy finish. Next Corey suggested we try a Rose' of Merlot that suprised me with its crispness and adaptability. It was great to get re-acquainted with a Rose' - I have memories of Rose' wine in college with almost no details. However, I will think of this Rose' of Merlot when I am perplexed about what to take to my next dinner party. The '07 Pinot Noir is Alexis fav and I was fully impressed with the taste of raspberry and spiciness of this silky wine. We all raved about the '05 Merlot, the premier vineyard designate merlot. I loved the floral notes followed by a nice peppery finish. I'm looking forward to drinking my own bottle of this soon.
Enough for now. Next stop - Kendall Jackson Tasting room

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