By: Jim Barr | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/5/2009 | Send Email
This year's harvest has to be smaller than normal, with a once-again cold spring and most of the summer (last time I wrote that, we experienced a prolonged heat wave). I have no feel for this harvest, as I did last year, which brings me to the fact that I may have made a judgment error regarding last year's harvest quality. And I do not know why, since I do not make mistakes about such aspects of this nature, and that alone has caught me off guard. The samples that I have tasted from wineries primarily in the North Coast from last year and from what I have in barrel and have bottled thus far have totally amazed me. Most of the wines are totally complete, with Cabernet and Pinot Noir showing incredible structure depth and superb balance. So, why? "Hang time" has been written off as pure nonsense and essentially mythical, but it would seem this concept, which I firmly believe in, might be true. The 2008 California wines are showing intense characteristics and richness. The 2008 vintage in Bordeaux that was written off as a loser because of all the weird weather during spring and summer (read Clyde's '08 Bordeaux report), is suddenly showing up as a stunning vintage, with immense proportions of character and depth, with self-anointed "Mr. Wine God" going ballistic over it. Hang Time! That is what this vintage is all about in California and Bordeaux, and you cannot explain this kind of natural concentration and intensity of flavor by writing off "hang-time" as being mythical.
If you want evidence of the above assertion, you must try our newly-released Kalinda 2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay, made for us by the same "cult" winery that produced our 2007, which sold out within six weeks of its release after some of you discovered who it was. This is a full-blown Chardonnay that provides a real tropical, white peach and spicy cinnamon apple set of varietal smells and flavors enclosed in a creamy/vanillin tone that provides richness, viscosity, and lushness. There's good acidity here to not make it flabby and the finish is long and intense. Sort of like a Rombauer, but unlike "R," it is dry and offers structure, and it's half the price. This Gem will be one of our house whites for September according to The Beaner. 15.4% abv.