2 Wines. 2 Wineries.
2009 Estate Cabernet
100 percent estate-grown at 1,100 to 1,450 feet
Certified organic and biodynamic
1,460 cases, 14.5 percent alcohol, $80
Robert Kamen’s cabernet reflects his personality: intense, focused, rich and deep. The 2009 vintage has big fruit and enough tannin to be laid down 10 to 15 years. If you drink it now, consider decanting it, or let it breathe for an hour.
2009 Sonoma County Cabernet
From three mountain vineyards all above 1,000 feet.
550 cases, 14.5 percent alcohol, $59
Respris produced this, its very first vintage, in extremely limited quantity with mountain fruit from vineyards near Moon Mountain Vineyard, which now accounts for the majority of its grapes. The 2009, though, does reflect winemaker Erich Bradley’s deft hand with Bordeaux varietals.
The tasting panel: Four members of the invino tasting team—founder Tony Westfall, Paul Manchester, Emily Rasmussen and Marla Nease Gilbert—sniffed and sipped and rendered their decidedly different judgments.
On Kamen: I think it’s full-bodied and intense. This is my kind of wine. I actually like this kind of upfront fruit and firmness.
On Repris: I get the chocolate, and I like that, chocolate and coffee notes.
On Kamen: It’s young, and tight. It’s smokey, some woody character on the nose. Deep black fruit. You can tell it’s got good structure to come together, it’s just the pieces haven’t had time to meld yet. This is something that we would suggest people lay down for couple years.
On Repris: More neutral oak, and maybe 25-to-30 percent new French oak. Not as much tannin structure, and won’t have the aging potential of the Kamen, but I like it. That’s a nice bottle of wine.
On Kamen: It’s certainly very concentrated. There’s a thickness to it, a fatness to it. Definitely spent a lot of time in the barrel, but very rich fruit. A lot of blackberry and cassis to it. But certainly some structure, definitely some tannins, that will round out very nicely when it ages. If you can’t stay away from it, you should decant it, that would round it out. It’s got elements of coffee and chocolate, some of the very rich, sweeter notes that you see in very concentrated cabernet.
On Repris: I don’t think it’s 100-percent cab. There’s a lot more restraint to it, it’s not as big. I get the coffee, not as sweet, a little more muted. I like it.
Marla Nease Gilbert
On Kamen: I would say that it’s intense, with very firm tannins.
On Repris: I like the nose. It’s lush and milk chocolatey.
From the 2012 Winter issue of SONOMA