Supermarket Surprise

One of my favorite games!  Go to the name-brand market, and grab a bottle of something you USED to think was pretty amazing and could barely afford 25 years ago.  Take it home and re-set your tastebuds–or murder them.

Medium ruby and a little staining, despite wide edges tinged with garnet.  Big tarry wall of really strong eucalyptus, black olives and wet cement.  Not sidewalk, like petrichor, no: WET CEMENT, like still coming out of the truck.  POURING concrete.  Sweet reduced brown sugar and blackstrap.  Concentrated spice surrounding a strong–but fairly safe–middle ground of big, dense fruit.  It breathes out to a lifeless muddle of cardboard and mint in 20 minutes.

Who owns Kunde now?  One of those brands which falls off your radar when you stop shopping at supermarkets or move from Northern California.  The front label says “Family Estate” of course, and who knows, maybe it has managed to evade corporate conglomeration.  There were three vintages on the shelf–and not FIFO, I should add–and I grabbed the 11 not just because it was the oldest, but because of my (well documented) fondness for all things 2011.

This doesn’t disappoint.  I mean… I have a feeling Kunde wines probably do not vary much from year to year (I have no clue what their production is), but my experience with supermarket brands at this price-range dictates them to be a bit flabbier in the “Super Awesome” vintages of Napa/Sonoma and in the awkward years the fruit is just a tad hollow–something to be consumed immediately.  This leaves the *mixed bag* things like 06, 09 and 11, and I think these wines–even at high production levels and at 19-25 dollar price-points–can be something to cellar safely for a decade.

In the mouth, REALLY safe.  That classic metallic-sorta 40k-case fruit vapidity while still sweet and rich.  (I’m looking at you, Australia.)  I love the middle as it flows gallons of cassis down over the sides of your tongue and a bitter pie-cherry begins its crisp toccata on your throat.  Is this American oak?  The ‘acid’ has that somewhat contrived 7-Up spritz to it and the tannis are very straight-forward affairs.  I’m guessing 14-2.

I don’t hate this wine at all.  In fact, considering the price I found this for, I might just grab a couple more and *lose* somewhere in the cellar–just to see if I’m right.  I usually am.

2011 KUNDE FAMILY ESTATE Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Valley Sonoma Co. 14.2


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