Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Tale of Two Vinnies

One of our most consistently popular wines has been Vincere. This super-Tuscan style wine, a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet grown on our Home Ranch, has always been predominantly Sangiovese. We have 1.1 acres of this grape planted on the home ranch, and it is the main grape in the Chianti region in Italy. Since 2000, when I made the first blend of this wine for a restaurant friend in South Florida, we have prized Sangiovese for its ability to give this blend its acid structure, its red fruit, and much of its length.

The Cabernet portion of Vincere is there to provide weight and structure and darker fruit notes to the wine. And because of the singular terroir of the Home Ranch, with its "Home Ranch Perfume," a wonderfully complex matrix of aromatic tree oils, the Cabernet from this site serves as a very obvious complexing agent in the blend.

In the nine previous releases of Vincere, Sangiovese has played a dominant role. In 2008, however, we ran short of this grape in our vineyard. After making a number of mock blends, we decided that the Cabernet-dominant wine that is the 2008 vintage was still Vincere; it still retained a spirit of the super-Tuscan style wine we were attempting to make. In fact, it has been the quality of the wine and not a recipe that has guided the blending of  Vincere from the very first vintage.

After recently tasting the 2008 and 2007 wines side-by-side, a number of really interesting things became apparent. Though the wines were different in structure and different in the sense of which variety was most dominant, they were very similar in tone. Vincere is a rich wine that's meant to be explosive aromatically; it's meant to be viscous in the mouth and to provide a foundation for a wide variety of foods with which  you might choose to pair it. Both of these wines passed this test.

They were both very true to their vintage also. 2007 was a classic vintage in California. Nearly every wine we made that year had an opulence and a richness and a dark-hued fruit palate that surpassed nearly every vintage prior to that. 2008, on the other hand, was a vintage of structure. The fruit palate was more about cherries than the black raspberry and cassis that we see in 2007. The 2008 wines have a mid-palate shape to them that is very intriguing; this is a vintage that should age dramatically well. Again, both of these wines passed that vintage specificity test.

Finally, for all of their differences, these two wines share one thing in common: as with most of our wines, they were significantly better the second day. The tightness and shy fruit that one has seen in the Steven Kent wines when they are first opened is present here also. Aerating the wines, or decanting them for a couple of hours prior to drinking, really helps to open up the wines both aromatically and from a structural standpoint.

For those people who have come to enjoy this wine, we believe that you will like the 2008 wine as much as any other previous release. The reasons may be different, but that's what great wine is supposed to be. It's supposed to be a reflection of a vineyard site, a given year of weather, and a winemaking philosophy.

The 2008 Vincere is made exclusively for members of our Future Release Program. For more information about joining our club and getting your allocation of Vincere, click this link.

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