Thursday, April 21, 2011

2009 Lineage - No Turning Back!

Yesterday, we actually put the 2009 Lineage blend together...and there's no turning back. Thankfully, I love this wine. It is a big departure from the first two vintages in terms of percentages of variety, but this is the kind of blend that suits the Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard and my own sense of what this wine can evolve into.

Lineage will always be a work in progress: our only goal is to make one of the best red wines in the world...and Mother Nature dictates much of what we have to work with in any given year.

In 2009, we had the best vintage of Merlot from the GEV that we've ever had (2010 is also great). The wine is rich, plush, gorgeously black-cherry in aroma and flavor with spectacular finishing tannin. Not surprisingly, it makes up a much larger portion of the blend than it did in the first two releases. The 2009 wine is:

  • 63% Cabernet Sauvignon (Clone 30)
  • 27% Merlot
  • 5% Malbec
  • 3% Petit Verdot
  • 2% Cabernet Franc

Clone 30 Cabernet is the back-bone of this wine, as it has been since the first wine, and - again - 2009 is spectacular. In fact four of nine barrels are part of the Lineage blend and the other five make up our 2009 Premier Cabernet Selection release.

As it rests now, back in barrel, the 2009 Lineage (there will be just about 150 cases produced) promises to move the quality line another step forward. For more information about becoming a Lineage Collector and insuring yourself an allocation, click here.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Oakville is home to such wineries as Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate, Dalla Valle, Far Niente and is described as being THE epicenter for world-class Cabernet in California. Some of these properties produce wines that are available only to those lucky enough or who have persevered long enough to get on the winery's mailing list where they can pay up to $750 per bottle for the estate's best offerings.

I had the occasion to attend the annual tasting of these wines put on by the Oakville Winegrowers Monday at the Robert Mondavi Winery. More than just the opportunity to taste some of these rare wines which I'd never tasted before, I was actually on a spy mission to learn as much as I could in one day about this heralded sub-appellaton and to try as objectively as possible to determine whether it is really possible for Lineage...By The Steven Kent Winery to achieve the level of vinous success that is now granted as a matter of course to Oakville.

After tasting through about 40 wines (some stunning...Futo's blend and Detert Family's Cabernet Franc come to mind; some spectacularly mediocre), and digesting what I had learned about the appellation's terroir in a terrific Master Class held earlier in the day and comparing it to what I know about the Livermore Valley, I can only conclude is MISSION:PROBABLE.  I went today expecting to be knocked back on my heels, tail between my legs...instead I left wondering what the fuss was all about and with that much more confidence in our little appellation (that most don't know about) and our ability to produce a wine of enduring quality and deliciousness.