Taste Zero Compromise: Kenefick Ranch Wines


By Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”


BIG BLEND RADIO INTERVIEW: This episode is all about Kenefick Ranch Wines with founder Dr. Tom Kenefick and writer Linda Kissam. Listen to the podcast on: BlogTalkRadio.com, Spreaker.com, YouTube.com, Soundcloud.com.

Making a strong statement on my list of the best mid-range red wines are three wines from Kenefick Ranch in Napa Valley, CA. Full-bodied, smooth and tannic, these wines are right up a wine lover’s alley. If you like deep, elegant and aromatic wines, I think you’ll fall in love at first sip.

Some Background on the Winery
In 1981, Dr. Tom Kenefick acquired a 205-acre parcel at the foothills of the Palisades Mountains in Calistoga. In 1982 he acquired an additional 35 acres.  An additional 10 acres (Dr. K’s current residence) was acquired in 1989.

His goal with every vintage is, “To create from each vineyard block a finely balanced wine – one with all of its structural elements united in seamless harmony.” Calling himself a terroir-driven winegrower, the Doctor’s simple philosophy allows him to make brilliant wines from the ground up. They are really exceptional, just sayin.’

Great wine starts in the vineyard.  Smart farming decisions that affect quality like matching row alignment, vine spacing, rootstock and clonal selection to a specific site is vital. Keen farming techniques result in increased tannin, and color in the maturing grape also enhances flavor and aroma. Strict management oversite during the growing season, canopy management, leaf pulling, shoot removal and hedging, is crucial. Dr. Tom lives on the ranch overseeing all aspects of the vineyard. His hands-on approach drives every aspect of the vineyard operation. He is always in the vineyard – inspecting the vines, learning, refining, and improving the process.

Dr. Kenefick is joined at the winery with daughter Caitlin Kenefick who participates in strategic decisions such as branding, distributor relationships, case volume, and direct-to-consumer business, oversees hiring and some marketing. She travels around the country representing the brand at wine events. Son Chris Kenefick focuses on the national sales of Kenefick Ranch, helps out in the vineyard and spends time with visitors in the tasting room.

Kent Jarman is the winemaker. He enjoys working with a rich variety of soil profiles and micro-climates. It enables him to create an overall complex product with different characteristics from unique sites on the estate. In the cellar, Kent uses hand-crafted techniques to maximize the spirit of the estate.

The Wines
I did a tasting of three red wines from this estate.  All were small production lots, in a mid-price range from about $50 -$125. Each was magnificent in its own right. I don’t say that lightly. These wines each had their own unique taste and profile.  I highly recommend these wines to those who love rich, elegant wines with aromatic noses. I also like the versatility of pairing options these three wines present.

2016 Caitlin’s Select Cab Franc (about $50): The lightest and least expensive of the three I tried, this handsome wine presents on the nose and palate with juicy notes of red cherry and black plum. You’ll appreciate its lively presence and personality. Hints of spice and rose petal give it a natural liveliness you won’t soon forget.  Try it with any variation of cheddar cheese and crackers. Or, think outside of the box, with a lunchtime classic bacon, lettuce, and cheese sandwich.

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chris’s Cuvee (about $65): This is a complex wine that showcases a fine tobacco leaf/ lean chocolate profile. Wonderfully intense nose. Good acidity and balanced tannin provide a sophisticated berry profile.  Aromatics of cherry, hints of raspberry, currants, and vanilla spice combine and integrate on the nose. The palate is completed by warm, pleasant notes of oak, fresh berries. Lovely tannins extend the finish. Try a taco salad with this beauty.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Doctor’s Cuvee (about $120): 100% Estate Grown in the Calistoga AVA in Napa Valley. Only 75 cases produced. The strong blueberry nose sets the stage for a wondrous sip on the palate. Think oak, vanilla, and boysenberry hugged by a woody- earthy combination kissed with a rich cranberry splash. Good to drink now and will cellar well for the next 15-25 years. Awesome with an aged steak.

Visit https://www.kenefickranch.com/   

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit www.AllInGoodTaste.info


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About the Author:

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits.

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