“Now this is a Wednesday wine.” I’m quoting my partner in wine crime here because I think this statement is spot on. I must be on a Kenwood kick because I had several of their wines in my cellar and, thus, several reviews to publish. Thoroughly impressed by the depth and complexity of their Sonoma County Zinfandel and Chardonnay, I had high hopes when I pulled the cork on Kenwood Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
Now I know what you’re thinking — “Wednesday wine” may sound like I was disappointed with my Kenwood Pinot. And I’ll be Frank here: Did it have the depth and complexity I was hoping for? No. But that doesn’t mean I was disappointed in the slightest. I mean sure, it’s always nice when you find a wine that’s deep and engaging, thought provoking or challenging. But sometimes, you’re sitting at home on a random Wednesday eating a mid-week meal and just want a wine you know tastes good. You don’t want to think, you just want to drink — something with enough quality and backbone so as not to have wine regrets at work the next day, but nothing that you have to think, “oh no, will this really pair well with my re-heated pasta…?” Right? Right. Well, here you go. This is that.
About the Wine: Alright, basic “abouts” for a basic Pinot Noir here…
The Kenwood Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is made from 99% Pinot Noir grapes and 1% Syrah from the Russian River Valley (in case you didn’t guess that from the name). The grapes were aged in French oak barrels (neutral oak: 1 to 3 years old) for 12 months. The Syrah was added just before bottling.
Flavor Profile: The wine is a somewhat translucent shade of brownish-purple in the glass and emits a somewhat refreshing aroma of bright red cherries mixed with a bit of sea-breeze minerality. On the palate, the primary flavor is that of the red cherry, mixed with something a bit darker — like cola along with a dank woodsiness (the latter if you’re super paying attention). The tannins here are medium if not low, present enough to give the wine a well-rounded balance. Acidity is medium to high, truly amplifying those fruit flavors and adding a bit of brightness to the red wine.
In the end, don’t fight with yourself or work the wine too hard. There honestly isn’t much more going on than just that. And that’s ok: the wine is balanced, enjoyable, and, in regards to food pairing, versatile.
Food Pairing: Anything. Seriously. Because of the lack of complexity (the “Wednesday wine” quality of it all), Kenwood Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir could pair well with their recommendation of “mushroom bruschetta and grilled wild salmon,” but could just as easily pair well with spaghetti and meatballs, a summer salad, heck — even hotdogs!
And I don’t know about you, but that’s what I want sometimes — whether it’s Wednesday or Friday — a laid back, chillaxed wine that you open simply because you want to.
More Info: If you haven’t read my other Kenwood reviews, please do so. They have a lot to offer outside of a mid-week wine. For more information about their wines and to purchase directly, please do visit Kenwood Vineyards website. I was able to purchase the Kenwood Vineyards Russian River Pinot Noir at Safeway (Sale Price: $13.50).
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