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2019 Denman Ranch "Van der Kamp Vineyard" Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir (Elsewhere $65)

SKU #1557108

What do you get when you take the ex-Cellarmaster of Littorai, plus the Assistant Winemaker from Flowers, plus a free rein and ample funding to make the very best wines you can for a new winery...then a global pandemic comes along? The answer is phenomenal wines, from top quality, iconic vineyards, at ridiculously sharp pricing. These wines came onto my radar as a tip from a good friend on the winemaking team at Rhys Vineyards. Another winemaking friend of his had a parcel of wines from a startup project that had "changed direction" in the face of the Covid 19 pandemic. Trusting my friend's referral, and seeing the resume of the project's winemaker, I was excited to taste the wines. The lineup included two single vineyard wines from top notch sites in Sonoma, plus three Sonoma Coast appellation bottlings. I pulled the corks as soon as the wines arrived and was thoroughly impressed by the quality and pedigree of the wines. After a little back and forth we agreed on a take-all price for the wines, and I bought every wine that was offered! At our deeply discounted pricing, these are some of the finest values I've ever found in my ten years at K&L. The wines totally hold up to their original SRPs and qualitatively can stand toe-to-toe with some of the best examples in the region. At our more than 50% off most wines, these are just ridiculously good and shouldn't be missed. (Ryan Woodhouse - K&L Domestic Wine Buyer)

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By: Kaj Stromer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/6/2021 | Send Email
This might be the best Pinot Noir offer we've pulled off this year. Our domestic wine buyer Ryan Woodhouse has secured a significant cache of this pedigreed jewel of a wine. Thanks to his deep connections, he got first crack at this first-class Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir for a fraction of its original price. As one of California's oldest and finest Pinot Noir sources, the Van der Kamp vineyard is highly sought-after by some of the Golden State's best producers. This is my preferred style of Pinot Noir—silky, sexy, elegant, and absolutely sublime. It's complex, driven by red and black cherry with just a touch of wood spice. The finish is long and memorable and encourages the next sip. I give this wine my strongest recommendation.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/6/2021 | Send Email
This much heralded vineyard on the slopes of Sonoma Mountain is home to some of the oldest Pinot Noir vines in all of California, planted in 1952! This wine combines those 67-year-old plantings with with Dijon clones 828, 777, and a suitcase clone from La Tâche Grand Cru in Vosne-Romanée. The vines grow on a sloping bench at around 1,500 feet on the western side of the mountain. They're rooted in volcanic and clay loam soils. The fruit is handled very gently, a native ferment before draining to French oak (30% new) for a long 18 months ageing on the lees. This wine really combines power and elegance. The overall feel is very much medium-bodied and refined, yet there's a brooding power and structure underpinning it, perhaps from the old vines, perhaps from this rugged mountain terroir. Dusty red berries, black raspberry, crumbly earth, wild thyme, and briar. Crushed rock mineral tinges, more dried herbs, and woodsy spices. Fine but noble tannins give great framework to the mid-palate. I love the slightly wild, gamey notes this wine has along with the floral top notes and spice. Very serious, age-worthy, terroir-driven Pinot Noir that is a beautiful representation of the this unique and sensational vineyard.
Top Value! Drink from 2021 to 2035

By: Thomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/6/2021 | Send Email
The moment this wine hits the glass you can tell it’s crafted with a light touch. The color shows light extraction, which is further affirmed by elegantly layered aromas of ripened strawberry, black cherry, clove, brambles, and spice. There’s a ton going on here. It has an incredible sense of depth to its aromas that draw you into the glass. I often remark on how well balanced wines are, but this one is exceptional with soft, sweetened fruit, absolutely perfect weight and texture, and acidity that gently supports. This wine is a total knock-out with a finish that goes on and on. We’ve had plenty of great deals over the summer on domestic Pinot Noir, but this one is my favorite.

By: Adam Winkel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/31/2021 | Send Email
While not one of the Sonoma Coast bottlings in this producer's lineup, the high energy of the Van der Kamp Vineyard Pinot Noir is not a departure from the style. Crunchy red fruit with sandalwood-inflected spice has a weightless concentration, precision, and sneaky length. A feminine style that I appreciate.

By: Tim Telli | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/27/2021 | Send Email
From a very well regarded vineyard on Sonoma Mountain, this Van Der Kamp Pinot Noir shows the classic spicy fruit profile the vineyard is known for. 30% new oak gives the right amount of body and structure and lets the fruit shine without being overtly oaky. The soils here are volcanic which add a little darker terroir to the palate of black cherries, smoked charcuterie and forest floor. This is a medium bodied Pinot Noir that is very well priced and something to enjoy now and over the next 5 years.

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