If you gave five different winemakers the same grapes from the same vineyard, you’d end up with five different wines (or in this case six, since one winemaker made two bottlings). And you would expect that all of the wines would achieve a consistent level of quality and offer a thread of continuity, or expression of the site, in keeping with the theory of terroir.
It didn't surprise me, then, that all six different bottlings of 2007 Pinot Noir from Kanzler Vineyard were excellent to classic. All of the wines showed wonderful fruit flavors, depth, richness and complexity built around vivid dark berry fruit. Most were deeply concentrated and well-balanced, more alike than dissimilar, give or take a nuance or two.
One wine, from Kutch, was made in a notably more elegant and understated style. Winemaker Jamie Kutch picked his Kanzler Pinot several weeks before the other vintners did, he told me, deliberately seeking a different style. The other five have more assertive, denser flavors, but share Kutch's delicacy and finesse. And of course each of the wines comes from different blocks of the 16-acre vineyard, which is on a gently sloping hill. Each of the blocks ripens at a different pace.
The biggest surprise was the step up in quality from owners Steve and Lynda Kanzler's two bottlings. Their wines have been getting progressively better under the direction of winemaker Greg Stach (who made two bottlings, including a Reserve), but for 2007, both wines ranked alongside the Kosta Browne bottling, which has been one of KB’s stars for several vintages. Landmark’s almost berry jam profile matched Kosta Browne’s ripeness. The A.P. Vin offers ripe, zesty dark fruits, in a vibrant, juicy style.
All of the wines had a pleasant earthiness, and what struck me is how well-balanced they all were, whether they were made in a bigger style or somewhat more understated. (Notes and scores for Landmark and both of the Kanzler bottlings are not yet in the Wine Spectator database).
Single-vineyard Pinots don't always have enough individual personality to merit individual bottlings, in my experience, and you often pay a premium for those wines even when they aren't that distinctive. The Kanzler Pinots, though, show the greatness of the vineyard in a great vintage.
Dave Reuther — Deerfield, Illinois — June 30, 2009 7:40pm ET
Rick Johnson — July 1, 2009 11:58am ET
Dave Reuther — Deerfield, Illinois — July 1, 2009 1:43pm ET
Jim Gallagher — Jim Gallagher — July 1, 2009 3:05pm ET
Jason Gullion — July 1, 2009 5:21pm ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions