Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Steven Kent Winery, Protocol #WineStudio, and #Wine Credentials

The January theme at Protocol #WineStudio is Wine Credentials: Letters of Distinction and to help sip our way through the discussion, samples of Steven Kent Winery to several participants. The winery started in 1996 with the goal of producing world class Cabernet in the Livermore Valley. Bordeaux grape varieties have been planted in the valley since the 1880's and many believe it's "climate and soils match those of Bordeaux’s left bank of the Gironde".  And Steven Kent Winery is all about Bordeaux - producing wine from all five red varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. The winery was also a perfect match for discussing wine credentials as they have a well educated tasting staff. The winery trains every employee on the Livermore Valley section of the California Wine Appellation Specialist® (CWAS) program from the San Francisco Wine School. And a full 90% of the staff continued with the entire program. That's impressive.

For the #WineStudio twitter event, we tasted the 2011 Small-Lot Petit Verdot, Ghielmetti Vineyard ($50, 14.3% abv) and the 2011 Livermore Vally Cabernet Sauvignon ($48, 13.5% abv). The Ghielmetti Vineyard was planted by the Ghielmetti family in 2001-2002 and hosts vines from 10 different grape varieties. According to Tracey Hoff - VP Sales & Marketing, Petit Verdot thrives in the vineyard's gravelly soil, warm days, and cool evenings. Six barrels were chosen for the small-lot PV and the results are quite impressive. The 2011 Small-Lot Petit Verdot, Ghielmetti Vineyard starts off big, and I mean big, on the nose with dark fruit and tobacco leading to a complex mixture of blackberries, dirt, chocolate and some vanilla at the tail. Quite often, 100% Petit Verdot can be one dimensional - plowing straight ahead - but not the Steven Kent. This wine has depth and character.

The 2011 Livermore Vally Cabernet Sauvignon is also a well structured wine with the help of 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot & 2% Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged 2 years in a combination of new and used French & American Oak. Being an acid hound, my first impression was the racy acidity, but there's also plenty on the nose - most likely an assist from the PV.  The wine has more of a cherry undertone with similar notes of chocolate and vanilla as the Small-Lot Petit Verdot. And the finish is spicier on the sweeter side with more cinnamon than pepper. A solid wine.

And catch the last night of #WineStudio's Wine Credentials: Letters of Distinction on Tuesday January 27th to learn about the San Francisco Wine School's programs on French Wine Scholar (FWS), Italian Wine Professional (IWP), and the above mentioned California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS)® program. Cheers.

No comments: