Thursday, January 8, 2015

Kenwood 2010 Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County

Kenwood Artist Series 001

Artist Series is right! Like an artist dabbing the palette and brushing on azure blue with glistening cadmium highlights this Kenwood line of Cabernet delivers beauty to delight the senses.

For 36 vintages, Kenwood has selected the finest lots of Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County for their Artist Series. The grapes are picked at the peak of flavor and after two years of barrel aging, the winemakers taste through all of the individual vineyard lots and select barrel by barrel the most flavorful wines to make up the Artist Series blend.

A unique component of the bottling is the artwork on the label. Each year a beautiful work of art is selected to grace the bottle. This year the work featured was “Sonoma Serenity” by Keith Wicks. It depicts two sailboats bobbing serenely on the water as a brilliant sunset cascades through the clouds and illuminates the waves.

We had a chance to enjoy all aspects of this fine wine on New Year’s Eve when we popped open this special bottle with friends. We decanted for about one hour before pouring.

Much like the artist’s composition, the 2010 Artist Series Cab is a canvas with varied brushstrokes. It is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot. Fruit comes from Sonoma Valley (55%), Alexander Valley (41%) and the Merlot coming from Dry Creek Valley. It is aged for 26 months in French oak barrels.

My initial impression was that of warm, red fruit with black cherry. It achieves a great balance of power and grace, remaining smooth through the long finish. Subtle cinnamon flavor notes are there as well.

While ready to drink now, this is a wine that could evolve with aging over the next decade. You can enjoy the artwork on the label while you wait! There were 1,494 cases produced and it retails for $75.

This is a superlative Sonoma Cabernet. We also give this wine an additional dollop of praise for its fine blending of visual art with the art of the vine. The Artist Series in general, and this wine in particular, are highly recommended.

Full disclosure: The wine was received as a marketing sample.

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