Friday, June 17, 2011

Good Recovery Mav

I'll be honest, nothing makes my blood boil more than a supplier representative coming in early on a Wednesday or Thursday. It blows the whole day to pieces and ruins the rythm developed by our earlier actions in the week. Ray did that this week. But he recovered. He was traveling with the wines from Kamen Vineyards. I had never tasted these wines before nor had I known anything about them. 9 hours later, I'm still thinking about the wines like it was the first time I met my wife (she'll say it was the second time).

Robert Kamen, screenwriter for such films as Karate Kid, Taps and The Fifth Element, acquired 280 acres of the southwestern slopes of the Mayacamas Range in Sonoma County in 1980. At the time the area was extraordinarily remote, rugged with no roads and no power. His website will tell you that his plan from the outset was to plant the highest quality Cabernet Sauvignon in the county. However, the other story is there were plans to plant something else (wink wink nudge nudge say no more). Viticulturist Phil Coturri was brought into the project to develop and oversee the master plan and when he realized what they had, he convinced Kamen that vineyards were the way to go. Good call.

Initially, Kamen fruit was sold to premium Sonoma wineries. In 1996, a devastating fire tore through the property destroying half of the vines along with Robert's home. Where others would see this as a tremendous setback, Robert's credo, "Everything happens for a reason", held sway. The fire forced him to focus not on what had been lost, but on what could be gained. A major replanting began as soon as the ground cooled. Cutting edge viticultural techniques were employed, new selections of Cabernet clones were chosen and different rootstocks were used. The first release of Kamen Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was in 1999.

Recommended Wines:
Kamen Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Only 1,400 cases produced, the Kamen Cabernet is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon produced from Southern Mayacamas Mountains fruit. Luxuriously rich and deep with dark cherry, chocolate and coffee notes. There's an underlying funk that could be mistaken for Cabernet Franc but it's well integrated with the fruit and spices. Just a small amount of vanilla on the finish hints at oak aging but not overly toasted. Was shocked to find the wine possesses 14.8% alcohol. There is not a hint of heat and it's silky smooth. Danger. This is serious Cabernet from a serious vintage. Winemaker Mark Harold has done an outstanding job here. This is as good as it gets at this price level.

Wine enthusiasts should also read about Mark's Syrah. Another fine example of just how good a winemaker Mark is. 

Kamen Estates Syrah 2008
Only 90 cases where produced of this top notch Syrah from fruit grown on Southern Mayacamas Mountains. Lovers of big, opulent, savory, smokey, fruit driven wines be warned. If you can find it, this Syrah will drain your bank account faster than a Citibank hacker. Winemaker Mark Harold has produced a Syrah (fermented with the skins of Viognier) that shows dark, royal fruit with notes of roasted nuts, mocha, bacon fat and fresh herbs. Your palate will be embraced by a velvety texture so bosomed you won't notice the 14.8% alcohol. Or you won't care. Smooth like Marvin Gaye, seductive like Zeta-Jones and dangerous like "Mr. Blonde". A combination that is devastatingly beautiful. 

You Can Find The Wines Here:

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