2012 Kathryn Kennedy "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1218847 97 points Wine Enthusiast

 A thoroughly elegant, serious and yet immensely enjoyable wine that stays lively many days after opening, this bottling from a regional icon shows dried violets, dried strawberry, crushed pepper and touches of leather and soy on the wondrous nose. Lithe black plum and elderberry fruits ride along a tight but forgiving tannic structure, with support from crushed gravel, asphalt, potpourri, sandalwood and cedar flavors.  (12/2016)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Similar aromatically to the '10 with its pure dark fruits, mineral, iron and underbrush-scented bouquet, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is more upfront and approachable, with a lot of ripe fruit, a forward, supple texture and a nice finish that carries bright acidity. It shines more for its purity and freshness than density or power, and should evolve nicely for at least a decade. This was a solid lineup from Kathryn Kennedy and I was thrilled to be able to taste cuvees with a few years of bottle age, all of which had aged gracefully. These wines are beautifully made and show the fresher, more focused and acid-driven style that’s common with the Bordeaux varieties from this region. The top wines will be very long lived. (JD)  (10/2015)

K&L Notes

Kathryn Kennedy was nothing less than a pioneer for women in the world of wine. One of the first women winemakers to start her own brand, put her name on the label and plant her own Estate vineyard in Saratoga in the early 70's, and helped put Santa Cruz Mountains on the map. Her efforts helped open the door for other female winemakers and owners in California and yet she never really wanted any attention for it. Her focus was always about the wine and little else and that attention to detail and quality has always shone through in her wines and now in her label long after she has passed on. With the Kathryn Kennedy "Estate" Cab, now certified CCOF Organically grown, you get one of the secretly tremendous, and always age worthy Cabs made in the state. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

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Price: $99.99
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Staff Image By: Dave Genevro | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/2/2016 | Send Email
This gem displays a dark, deep cranberry red/candy apple red in the glass. Aromas of wild mountain blackberries, earth, and tobacco leaves round out the lively and energetic nose. With a rich, decadent and seductive body, this wine releases herbs along with a melted, almost seamless tannin structure. An uplifting and long, generous length finishes out with a quite elegant bang on the tongue. This is a serious Cabernet that is from an approachable vintage in California, but will definitely reward the patient for another 15 - 20 years, with ease. 14.9% ABV. Enjoy!

Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/1/2016 | Send Email
Heady and fully varietal in the nose, this has deep-set and yet effusive aromatics of hardwood, clove, red currants, sweet fennel, kirsch and old, warm leather. This pretty, and more uncommon presentation of Cabernet, one that is more about balance and precision rather than full-out bombast and extract, is a treat for any Cab fan of yesteryear or someone with a palate that likes wines to be more traditional in their approach. Fleshy and yet fully in check, with velvety tannins and a tension between fruit and savor in its flavor palate, this deserves to be in the conversation with the other great “old-school” producers of Cab like Heitz, Mount Eden, Ridge, etc. Certainly at $100 this is not a cheap wine, but if you can afford it and you like the style, there is no way that you won’t love this now, or 15 years from now. Truly a phenomenal wine that wants a subtle filet or a classic like beef wellington, it will make everything better and will cure plenty of ills with its sublime nature and graceful flavors.

Staff Image By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/1/2016 | Send Email
Sophisticated, elegant and age-worthy, this Kathryn Kennedy estate Cab is one to definitely try! This wine over-delivers with top-notch quality and complex layering of flavors that keeps you going back for more. Well worth the price tag, and a great gift wine for the holidays.

Staff Image By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/1/2016 | Send Email
I don't always agree with the press, but this wine is worth every point (97 WE) it received earlier this year. It's high-toned and elegant, showing notes of strawberry rhubarb pie, pink peppercorns, bramble fruit and a dash of graphite and cedar on the back. I was a bit scared when I saw 14.6% printed on the label, but the wine isn't hot or flabby in the slightest. Another phenomenal wine from one of Santa Cruz's best.

Staff Image By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/1/2016 | Send Email
One of my favorite things about Cabernet coming from Santa Cruz is that it often displays the elegance, structure, and power that I want in a Cab, and almost no one does it better than Kathryn Kennedy. This beautiful bottle showcases ripe cherries, cassis, a touch of bramble hints of leather and oak, and a little pepper note that is not always present in California Cabernet. Long driving acid and supple tannin showcase how long this wine will age and remain absolutely drinkable. This is one to buy in pairs for now and later.

Additional Information:


Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Cruz Mountains

- Vineyards dot the valleys and ridges of this coastal AVA just south of San Francisco. Microclimates make it difficult to generalize, and vineyards are frequently separated by acres of forests and meadowlands (not to mention entire towns!), but this is nonetheless known as a cooler-climate zone ideal for pinot noir. Ridge is doubtless the most famous local producer, with its cabernet blend, Monte Bello, named after a Santa Cruz mountain peak. High-quality, low-production chardonnay and some Rhône varietals prosper as well.