Posted on | February 24, 2016
Written by | BevNetwork
Kenwood Vineyards has held a strong but relatively quiet presence in Sonoma County since 1970 (considering they produce about half a million cases annually). Part of Pernod Ricard’s wine portfolio since 2014, the brand is getting a fresh makeover. SKUs have been trimmed back, and not only do the bottles sport a new look, but longtime winemaker Pat Henderson has been charged with a new mission to refocus Kenwood by introducing a new terroir-driven, AVA-designated range.
The idea is simple—and made doable by Kenwood’s broad palette of vineyards. “Six Ridges is a tribute to the mountains and ridges that border this very special place,” explains Henderson. “With this new range, we wanted to bottle the very best of the County. We’ve chosen only the best varietals from each appellation and provided extra special treatment from grape to bottle.”
The new Six Ridge label both represents an aerial view of vineyard blocks and echoes the iconic wolf-head labels of Kenwood’s Jack London series. The Six Ridges range is rolling out nationwide now, with the following:
2012 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $24.99)
2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($24.99)
2014 Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($21.99)
2013 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($24.99)
2013 Dry Creek Valley Merlot ($24.99)
The sixth, a 2015 Sonoma Coast Sauvignon Blanc, will be available May 2016. Effectively a reserve tier priced under $25, the Six Ridges line should help draw renewed attention to Kenwood as a consistent and deep source for value. kenwoodvineyards.com
Napa Valley’s Raymond Vineyards and acclaimed singer/songwriter John Legend have launched the LVE Collection, which will be poured exclusively at 66 locations of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar through March. LVE stands for Legend Vineyard Exclusive. There are two wines: a complex 2013 LVE Cabernet Sauvignon ($24/glass; $96/bottle) and a balanced, fruit-forward 2014 LVE Chardonnay ($17; $66). In April, the LVE Collection will be available through current distributors of Boisset Collection wines. boissetcollection.com. flemingssteakhouse.com. lvewines.com
Look what’s having a moment: Sauvignon Blanc, the aromatic and naturally acid-fueled grape that has been a perennial distant #2 to Chardonnay. SB was lauded by Nielsen as one of the hottest varietal wines of 2015, growing 10.7% in volume and 13.3% in value. Over in Marlborough, NZ, Wine Spectator columnist Matt Kramer told a crowd at the first-ever Sauvignon Blanc Celebration that NZ’s own distinctive style of SB is entering a “mid-life” crisis, and in the next stage, “talent beats luck.” Meanwhile, Rombauer Vineyards, known for Cab and Chard like so many Napa Valley wineries, has released their first Sauvignon Blanc—it’s fresh, crisp and vibrant (SRP $24).