I first met Stewart Johnson, Kendric Vineyard owner and winemaker, at the 2016 Pinot Days in San Francisco where I had the pleasure of tasting this wine. But it was during my one-on-one interview and tasting at his modest Treasure Island winery that I was able to really learn about what makes this 2012 Pinot Noir Reserve so special.

About the Wine: The Pinot Noir grapes for Kendric Vineyard are grown on Stewart’s private vineyard in Marin County. Typical to cool climate grapes, the Pinot Noir produced is often bursting with bright fruit and acidity. However, the batch used for this reserve comes from a small, shallow section of the vineyard where the vines tend to struggle. Because of this struggle, the grapes tend to become more concentrated, resulting in a denser, darker Pinot Noir.

This is a two-barrel production, whole grape fermentation, 13.9% ABV

Flavor Profile: Dense and dark it certainly is. In the glass this particular vintage presents a cloudy-red color and emits a warm, earthy aroma. On the palate, the wine is predominantly savory, including flavors of woodsmoke, cedar plank, as well as herbaceous hints of thyme and marjoram. Fruit elements are also dark in nature — think black cherries and plums — and quite subtle, surfacing predominantly towards the end of the tasting and in the aftertaste. Another interesting component to this wine is the texture. With a modest tannin, the wine is quite smooth — almost filmy (perhaps oily?) on the roof of the mouth. It’s very subtle, but when noticed, actually uplifts those savory flavors and adds another layer of complexity to the wine as a whole.

Food Pairing: Anything you can grill over an open-flame — seriously — will go with this wine. This is a big, bold Pinot Noir that deserves a juicy burger, a flame-grilled steak, or even a wood-smoked fish dish. Don’t be afraid to fire-up and add char to a dish — this Pinot Noir can handle it.

More Info: Read my full Kendric Vineyard Winery experience. For more information about Kendric Vineyard, to purchase current releases, and join their mailing list, visit their website.

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