Four of the TWAV tasting team took part in a virtual tasting of Kunde Family Estate wines earlier this week. This was certainly a high-tech affair with computers, monitors and tablets mixed in with appetizers, dessert and wine bottles.
Even though we were linked to the Sonoma winery though a video stream and participated in a social media discussion -- very high tech -- the main feeling that came through was the authenticity of the wines.
Kunde Family Estate is a sprawling 1,850 acre operation which ranges from the Sonoma Valley floor to the 1,400 foot elevation of the Mayacamas mountains.
The first vines were planted in 1879. All the wine is estate produced with special attention to sustainable practices. They all “rock” due to the unique red volcanic soil.
We were led through a tasting of three selections by virtual hosts Jeff Kunde, winemaker Zach Long and Marcia Kunde Mickelson.
2009 Sonoma Valley Chardonnay: Glorious T made some teriyaki sesame chicken, which paired fantastically with this. Crisp body with notes of grapefruit. Buttery with acidity. Oakiness but not too much. The wine is aged in small French and Hungarian oak barrels for eight months. Quite a deal at just $17.
2008 Red Dirt Red: I thought this was a signature wine, not because it is the most expensive or elegant Kunde wine, but a taste of this is like digging your hands into the rich red soil of their Sonoma winery. This is a blend of 37% Barbera, 29% Syrah, 25% Zinfandel and 9% Sangiovese. This is an earthy, smoky wine that is a real mouthful. It is intense with long legs. This gets aged for 16 months in French, Hungarian and American oak. Sax Man commented: Nice wine for a Fall tasting when there is a slight chill in the air. The nose has an earthiness that is not overpowering. Jam gives way to a slight, dry bite that evokes considerable juiciness that lingers in a sustained finish. It retails for $28.
2008 Reserve Century Vines Zinfandel: Made from vines planted in 1882, this wine has finesse. More restrained than the Red Dirt Red, this has a swirl of red berry aroma and a concentrated taste of dry cherry. We paired this with a dark chocolate Godiva truffle and the combination was sumptuous. This shows the result of five generations working the soil and vines. It’s a wonderful Zinfandel and a great wine experience. Retails for $35 but drinks like more.
Full disclosure: These wines were received as a free sample.