There’s a running theme when you drink Kobza Wines. Ryan Kobza, winemaker of his eponymous private label crafts wines that are not just elegantly restrained, speaking of vintage and vineyard, he makes wines that are just down right gluggable.

Open a bottle of anyone of his wines and you’ll find yourself looking at an empty bottle in no time asking, “Where’s the wine?” But I encourage you not to, actually, glugg this, or any, of his wines. I urge you, instead, to sip and savor. Because wines like this don’t come around too often. Enjoy.

About the Wine: Kobza Wines 2016 Wirz Vineyard Mourtaou Rosé is made from 100% Mourtaou grapes, more commonly known as Cabernet Pfeffer. However, Cabernet Pfeffer itself may not be “commonly known.”

The grape hails from the Girornde region in France. For a long time, it was thought to be a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Trousseau. However, the grapes from the Wirz Vineyard, where Ryan Kobza gets his grapes for this rosé, were sent to UC Davis for DNA testing in 2015. What they found was that the Cabernet Pfeffer submitted is a “synonym” for both Mourtaou and Gros Verdot—another seemingly “lost” French variety.

According to Kobza, the plantings on the Wirz ranch date from 1903 to 1921, “Making the average fine age for the rosé approximately 100 years old.

After harvest, the grapes are foot-stomped and then settled overnight before pressing and cold settling for 24 hours. The juice then undergoes all native fermentation in neutral punchons. The wine is sulfered, racked once, fermented to complete dryness but without undergoing any malic conversion. The wine is bottled immediately.

13.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Pop the cork on the Kobza Wines 2016 Wirz Vineyard Mourtaou Rosé and breathe in distinct aromas of apples, apple blossoms, strawberry shortcake, watermelon, and agave. This rosé is near clarity on the pour, settling into the glass a luminescent sunset orange.

Initial aromas are almost the same as in the bottle. It’s very Spring-like with the addition of florals and soft honey-nut aromas to that dominant apple scent. Swirl and find a bit of decadence, again like that strawberry shortcake scent—not sweet, more round, soft, and moist like the body of the springy yellow cake. Again, that red apple scent takes center stage; a subtle oak scent takes the background.

The palate of the Kobza Wines 2016 Wirz Vineyard Mourtaou Rosé is soft and round at the front. The background has a light but certain texture. The acidity is evenly distributed, zipping through from start to finish. A white pepper spice lingers on the tongue, leaving the taste buds at attention and ready for another experience. Dominant flavors are, yes, of red apple and its skins, underripe wild strawberry, a river water minerality, a background of white chocolate.

Food Pairing: I paired the Kobza Wines 2016 Wirz Vineyard Mourtaou Rosé with a cedar plank salmon glazed with a balsamic-honey mustard concoction, atop a strawberry salad. I loved this pairing. Despite all those dominant flavors in the wine, this rosé is actually quite dry, leaving no lingering perception of sweetness at all. The delicacy of the wine paired beautifully with the innate meaty, oily fish and the thick glaze. Meanwhile the salad was the perfect companion to complement those fruit notes.

More Info: I received the Kobza Wines 2016 Wirz Vineyard Mourtaou Rosé 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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