By The Glass
Make these wines your mantra
WHETHER we go on wine trips, have wineries visit our office, or go to industry tastings, we taste a lot at Vintage Wine Cellar, so our customers don't have to.
There is a sea of bad wine out there -- and there is a sea of good wine out there.
When I was invited to lunch to taste Mike Kuimelis' wines called Mantra, I had no idea what to expect. Fortunately, these wines were a revelation.
Mantra is based in Sonoma, where Kumelis' family owns 90 acres of planted vines and sells most of the grapes to notable wineries such as Copain and Carlisle.
Kumelis is a self-taught wine maker who makes roughly 3,500 cases of various wines, primarily cabernet- or zinfandel-based.
His wines show great fruit, while still retaining nice mouthfeel, suppleness and length. The wines are incredibly reasonable for the quality -- worth seeking out.
2002 Red Wine Dry Creek Valley ($23.99): This wine has a dark crimson/garnet color with aromas of sweet currants, blackberries, orange blossom and spice. It has a supple texture from start to finish, with a round middle and soft, structured finish. Flavors of pomegranate and raspberry define this wine.
2004 Old Vines Reserve Zinfandel ($29.99): A big, delicious zin! The vineyard is interplanted with small amounts of petite syrah (probably around 3 to 4 percent). This wine is very aromatic, with aromas reminiscent of blackberry, raspberry, cherry and chocolate. It is concentrated and juicy, with sweet and supple forward flavors that finish clean.
2004 Asti Vineyard Zinfandel ($29.99): This wine exhibits aromas of ripe raspberry, rose petal, nutmeg and an earthy terroir character, which is unique to this site. The Asti Zin is round and long and coats the mouth with sweet ripe fruit and finishes with flavors of kirsch and spice.
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County ($19.99): Although predominantly cabernet sauvignon, this wine is blended with judicious amounts of merlot, zinfandel, cabernet franc and syrah. Aromas of dark, ripe fruits such as blackberry and blueberry are accented with toasty overtones. On the palate the wine is rich and full-bodied, with flavors of cassis, pomegranate and caramel.
Jay Kam is president of Vintage Wine Cellar.
This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org