This is my first taste of Kobza Wines, but not my first taste of Ryan Kobza’s wines. He’s winemaker for the previously reviewed Big Sur Vineyards Chardonnay and Big Sur Vineyards red blend. Ryan was kind enough to send me a sampling of wines under his eponymous label and I started with this red blend.

I can’t even put into words how delicious this wine was. It was just a straight up experience drinking this wine. Everything was so in balance, that we just kept pouring glass after glass. I’ll use the word gluggable because, at the end of the day it is. But, oh please do not glug this wine too quickly.

By the end of this week (if you’re reading these chronologically), you’ll have read about each of the wines Ryan sent me. Spoiler alert: I loved them all—all of them unique, all of them refined expressions of the grapes used. But I’ll give away the ending right here: The Kobza Wines 2016 Wirz Vineyard Red Field Blend is my absolute favorite.

About the Wine: The Kobza Wines 2016 Wirz Vineyard Red Field Blend is a field blend made of approximately 60% Mourvedre and 40% Zinfandel, with a small percentage of Kobza Wines Rosé of Mourtaou and an “occasional cluster” of Palomino. The grapes are sourced from Poison Oak Hill in the Wirz Vineyard, located in Salinas, California.

After harvest, grapes were pressed and settled overnight. The wine then aged in neutral barrel for 10 months before racking off the lees, returning to the same neutral barrels.

NOTE: Ryan suggests decanting for at least an hour before enjoying or simply opening the bottle for a couple of hours before consuming. I let this wine decant for approximately 2 hours. My tasting notes are based on that.

Flavor Profile: Upon opening the bottle of the Kobza Wines 2016 Wirz Vineyard Red Field Blend, the aromas are, indeed, quite closed off. Decanting is highly recommended.

After decanting, the wine is already so much more aromatic, even from the decanter: there’s a background of truffle funk, a hint of chocolate, a mixture of soil. Pour the wine, swirl the wine, release fresh fruit scents: black cherry, marionberry, black plum. There are also soft florals and a subtle, confident acidity.

On the palate the Kobza Wines 2016 Wirz Vineyard Red Field Blend is soft, warm, smooth but for that confident acidity that adds a thin line that pierces as covertly as a sewing needle. The finish is all-in-all clean with just a small bit of heat at the very center of the tongue. Dominant flavors are of blackberry, boysenberry preserves, a hint of mint, an almost volcanic rock minerality, with nearly not after taste—the wine is just that clean.

Food Pairing: I paired the Kobza Wines 2016 Wirz Vineyard Red Field Blend with homemade seafood paella. Loved this pairing. The wine has such a subtle vibrancy that it can accompany a heartier, spice-filled dish like this one (although, do note I don’t make my paella that spicy).

The other thing is that this wine reminds me of an old world wine. I’m not talking Italy or France, I’m thinking more like Croatia, Slovenia, or even Egypt. Even though it’s a blend, it’s so pure in its overall essence of what it is. And that quality makes the wine so food friendly, especially with traditional, authentic cuisines that are full of history and full of flavor.

Obviously I couldn’t (can’t!) get enough of this wine. I would drink it again, recommend it to all my friends, and pair it with this or a similar style dish over and over.

And keep drinking it well after the meal is over.

More Info: I received the Kobza Wines 2016 Wirz Vineyard Red Field Blend as a sample for review. (Cheers Ryan!) For more information about Kobza Wines, Ryan, and to inquire about purchasing, please visit the Kobza Wines website.


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