I picked up this Kunde Cab around the same time I picked up their 2014 Chardonnay. Initially intrigued by a well-known Sonoma family name, I soon realized they have a good rep for a reason. So with such a good experience with their white wine, I was eager to bust open a bottle of red. I’ll tell you right now that the level of complexity in this wine is astronomical. But don’t be to eager to bust as I did. When it comes to Kunde Cab, patience is a virtue.

About the Wine: The Kunde Family Winery is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes harvested from the Kunde family estate vineyards located in the Sonoma Valley. According to the winemaker’s (Zachary Long’s) notes, 2013 was particularly warm allowing for the Cab grapes to hang for a few extra weeks — great conditions for this hearty, thick-skinned grape.

The harvested grapes then sat in cold soaks for about a week, allowing for native yeast fermentation. The skins then remained on the wine, resting for 30-50 days. Once released of its skins, the wine then aged in French oak (32% new) for 19 months.

Flavor Profile: You can’t not smell this wine when you pour it into the glass. It’s just so jammy. My partner in wine crime and I have two completely different palates (which is why it’s a joy to drink with him), but we certainly agreed that the nose of this wine was just completely plump with fully ripened fruits — blackberries, boysenberries, even figs. Quite beauteous.

Visually, I have to admit, there’s an endearing ugliness to it (I seriously mean this in a positive way). There’s an aura of light brown around this wine that gives it the same kind of red as an old scab. And yet, reddish-brownish — there’s something comforting in that color especially when drinking this wine in the cooler months, which I am.

Now the taste is something epic. It’ll take you on a roller coaster of “What’s that taste?” “How’s that texture” “What am I feeling?” At first, on the tongue, the wine is quite light and, almost, refreshing — to the point where you can’t exactly pinpoint any specific fruits on the tongue. That initial feeling and texture quickly dissipates, the mid-palate is skimmed through, and you’re left with a finish that is somewhat of a question mark: it’s a pure textural finish — one that is scratchy, nay, chalky on the tongue and the roof of the mouth (dry I suppose would be the common word for it).

Let the wine relax in your glass for a bit. Make sure it’s come up to room temp. Swirl and sniff again, you’ll receive the same voluptuous nose. Now sip and taste again. Again, the wine appears light in the front of the palate, though this time some of those fruits will come forward. But again, the mid-palate seems a rush — this is where one would expect that body smelt on the nose to truly shine, but it just…doesn’t. And, again, the finish is chalky, dry.

Not a disappointing wine by any standards. The pure potential in this wine is enough for me to say, sure, open it now and experience this wine in its youth. In fact, my partner in wine crime and I decided to buy a secondary bottle and mark it as one to try again in 2-5 years. It really won’t take that long for these flavors to meld together to perfection — the peak is near and I eagerly await its arrival.

Food Pairing: If you are opening this wine now, just have some fun with it. Promise me that. Open the bottle, pour a glass and taste all those right-out-of-the-bottle flavors and textures. Then decant it. Let it sit, come to room temp, and then pour, swirl, and taste again. Take notes on any differentiations you may encounter (or don’t depending on your palate).

Do all this while you’re prepping your pizza dough or cooking up a juicy burger. Because this wine is so full of youthful vitality, make sure that your food pairing is a decadent and fun-filled (and definitely either saucy or juicy to help with the dryness).

More Info: If you haven’t yet read my post on the Kunde Family Winery Sonoma Valley Chardonnay, definitely do — now there’s a bottle worth opening at this moment. (Go, do it now!) I purchased the Kunde Family Winery Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at Safeway (Sale Price: $15). Of course for more information about the Kunde Family, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, visit the Kunde Family Winery website.


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