One of the best things about visiting a boutique winery is being able to meet and greet with the proprietor, the vineyard manager, or the winemaker. The best thing about visiting Kukkula is you can meet all three because all those roles are each filled by founder Kevin Jussila.
Kevin, whose professional background is in business money management, has always been an agricultural enthusiast — an enthusiasm that transformed him into a hobbyist winemaker. In 2003 he decided to turn that hobby into a parallel career path (Kevin is still in the corporate business game), purchasing his 80-acre property off of Chimney Rock Road in the Adelaida hills of Paso Robles. ” In December of 2004 we moved to the Central Coast and started to build the dream,” Kevin says. And he means this literally. An avid architect enthusiast, Kevin’s are the hands that built both his family home and his current tasting room — both of which sit atop his beautiful estate vineyards.
I’d never heard of Hearthstone Estate until I was approached to taste their wines. Imagine my surprise when, upon opening the package, a bottle of Montepulciano was staring right up at me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen, let a lone tasted, a California Montepulciano. I discovered — and fell in love with — the varietal when eating my way through Italy on my honeymoon. I know to those more versed in Italian wines, Montepulciano may seem like an everyday “bulk-buy” type wine, but to me it bottles the beauty I think of when I think of Italian culture — forza, forte, y la bella vita. What I’m saying is that this wine had a lot to live up to…
I’m trying to plan a trip to Paso Robles. When I finally get there I know one of my first stops has to be Zenaida Cellars. They have killer Rhone-style wines — just check out their flagship red blend Fire Sign. But I think one of the main indicators of a truly stand-out Rhone-style winemaker are his or her take on the individual components: I want to know that the G, the S, and the M can stand on their own. Today I present to you the S of Zenaida Cellars — the 2014 Zenaida Cellars Syrah.
I am a Fire Sign. Born in the heat of the summer, I am an August Leo — my planet is the Sun, my element, Fixed Fire. There is not one aspect of my personality that strays from a textbook description of my astrological birthplace. I am a culmination of those bright-light qualities as Zenaida Cellars Fire Sign is the accumulation of warm-weather grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel. The difference is while Leo’s can have a tendency towards the lavish, the dramatic, the extreme, this Fire Sign is full of grace, delicacy, and refinement.
After tasting Re:Find Barrel Finished Vodka I wanted to craft my own signature cocktail using the product. It’s not fancy, but it’s a mix of flavors that I particularly enjoy and that I think go well together. I hope you enjoy it as well. Cheers!
Trying to keep my cocktail light, I use diet juice and soda. You can certainly replace these ingredients with equal portions of the non-diet versions.