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2008 Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon Jack London Vineyard

I am generally not a fan of wines with animal labels. I’ve had too many experiences where the wine's most engaging aspect is the label itself. So, I suspect, have you. Good news then! The wine I’m recommending today has a handsome wolf on the label, yet is a fine example of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

In this case, the bottle came by its wolf honestly. Grapes for this 2008 Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon are from the Jack London Vineyard, named for the Jack London who wrote Call of the Wild and White Fang. The Jack London who built a mansion called Wolf House on his 1,000 acre Sonoma Mountain ranch. The vineyard is located on land that used to be part of the ranch.

I suppose Kenwood could have used some other icon from London’s life for their label. He was, of course, a writer. He was also a gold miner, a failed rancher, a miller of jute, a sailor, a tramp and an oyster poacher. That’s poacher as in one who takes what is not his, not one who boils. Hmm... Good choice, the wolf.

And good wine, the Kenwood. It is dark ruby in the glass with aromas of black currant, dry currant leaf and dry cedar. With some breathing time, hints of leather and graphite emerge. The palate is nearly full-bodied with lightly chalky tannins. Flavors of dry leaves and cedar accent a core of rich black currant. There is some warmth from the alcohol, yet the wine is well-balanced. Decant it for an hour and then serve it with a juicy grilled steak. Even better, let this wine gain complexity in bottle for up to eight years. Now - 2019. Recommended+.

2008 Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon Jack London Vineyard
2008-kenwood-cabernetRating: Recommended+

Drink: Now through 2019
Bottling Date: February/March 2011
Closure: Cork
Production: 11, 712 cases
Retail Price: $30.00

Winemaker: Pat Henderson

Blend: 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot
Origin: 100% Jack London Vineyard, Sonoma Valley
Aging: 25 months, 65% French oak barrels, 35% American
Alcohol: 14.5%

The wine above was received for review. It was initially tasted blind in one of four flights of eight Cabernet Sauvignon wines from around the country. I re-tasted this wine non-blind twenty-four hours later.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.