2014 Kathryn Kennedy "Serious" Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot

SKU #1344043 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2014 Serious Merlot is actually pretty darn serious. Aged nine months in 100% new French oak, this medium to full-bodied effort has high-class notes of creme de cassis, red plums, spice box, espresso and tobacco leaf, as well as good concentration, firm tannin and a clean finish. There's 10% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend and it needs a year or two to let some of this oak integrate, but it should have a decade of longevity. (JD)  (10/2016)

K&L Notes

The 2014 Kathryn Kennedy "Serious" Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot is one of the most perfect $50 bottles of California red wine I’ve had this year, it just so happens to cost $35 due to our recent deal. More importantly, this will be the last ever vintage of this wine, meaning these bottles will end up as historical testaments to real California winemaking, one that continues to be threatened by the perils of modern pop culture. Spending some time with winemaker and owner Marty Mathis recently, we discovered he was planning on discontinuing one of the best and most honest expressions of Merlot made in the entire state! "In my thirty year career," Marty told me, "I’ve probably crushed more Merlot than Cab - over thirty different vineyards from around California. Merlot is a fantastic variety, world class, but there’s not a lot of Merlot in the Santa Cruz Mountains, even though it’s better suited to the cooler climate.So why discontinue what is one of the "better suited" wines of the Kathryn Kennedy line-up? Because the consequences of Paul Giamatti's fatal line in the film Sideways continue to effect the market more than a decade after its initial release. People still think Merlot is something to be avoided. "I called it ‘Serious’ Merlot because I hoped the Sideways effect had faded away a bit," Marty continued; "I wanted something that could be considered alongside Pomerol." The result is immaculate, concentrated, and full of character. (David Driscoll, K&L Asst. Head Buyer)

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Price: $34.99
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- A very popular red grape variety found in the great wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol. It is the most planted variety in Bordeaux, and it has also become an extremely fashionable red in many regions including California. Although it has a reputation to be smooth, and easy to drink when young, Merlot is also capable of producing extremely intense wines as well. It is often used as a blending agent with Cabernet Sauvignon.

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.


- 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.
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.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5