is a Bay Area architect with a passion for wine. After taking
a few wine courses through UC Extension, he started becoming
more "serious" about wine in the early '90s. Ken
has been taking wine-tasting trips to the Central Coast since
early '92, and has come to love the area - not only for the
wines, which just get better year by year, but also for the
people. Ken's interest in wine is more than passive, and he's
been volunteering his help at several urban East Bay wineries
since 2001 - and in fact was recently named assistant winemaker
for both Eno Wines in Berkeley and Harrington Wine in San Francisco.
A Visit with Ed Kurtzman -
January 21, 2008
I was among a group of people who visited Ed Kurtzman at his new winery in San Francisco. Ed moved into his new space just in time for last Fall's crush. It's a good-sized space and Ed is able to get all of the wine arranged into barrel stacks that are no more than two high. We tasted from a range of barrels from both of Ed's own labels - Sandler and August West (which he co-owns with growers Gary & Rosella Franscioni and Howard Graham) - and from ROAR Wines, Gary & Rosella Franscioni's label. Ed took over winemaking duties for ROAR starting with the 2007 vintage, with Adam & Dianna Lee of Siduri & Novy remaining as consulting winemakers.
Just some brief impressions......
From barrel (all 2007s):
- ROAR Rosella's Vineyard Chardonnay, new barrel: citrus aromas, some oak and lees notes, rich mouthfeel (final blend will be 75% new oak)
- August West Rosella's Vineyard Chardonnay, used barrel: similar profile to ROAR but brighter acidity shows through with less overt oak (final blend will be 25% new oak)
- August West Rosella's Vineyard Pinot - 113 clone: black cherry, very nice
- August West Rosella's Vineyard Pinot - Pisoni clone: darker fruits, bit more tannin
- August West Rosella's Vineyard Pinot - 667 clone: sour cherry
- August West Rosella's Vineyard Pinot - we did a rough blend of the 3 clones (Ed said this was the first ever trial blend of the '07).....this brings everything together better than could be imagined from the three separate components, adds a floral element to the aromas, should be another stunning AW Rosella's
- August West Graham Family Vineyard RRV Pinot - 667 clone, new Cadus barrel: dark cherry/plum, earthy, oak shows up in finish
- ROAR Garys' Vineyard Pinot - Pisoni clone, 5C rootstock, 1-year old Remond barrel: plummy fruit with smooth mouthfeel
- ROAR Garys' Vineyard Pinot - Pisoni clone, 3309 rootstock, 1-year old Remond barrel: more raspberry flavors with citrus undertones, great silky mouthfeel
- ROAR Pisoni Vineyard Pinot - Pisoni clone, new Remond barrel: dark fruits, with sweet oak, a bit smoky & spicy from barrel
- ROAR Pisoni Vineyard Pinot - Pisoni clone, new Ermitage barrel: more coffee aromas from this barrel....Ermitage barrels used more for Syrah but this seems to go well with the bigger dark fruit character of the Pisoni clone
- Sandler Connell Vineyard Bennett Valley Syrah: 100% whole cluster - green/stemmy, spicy, and tannic right now, but Ed says he feels this will evolve much like the '05
- Sandler Buck Hill Vineyard RRV Zinfandel: terrific RRV Zin, lots of brambly raspberry & boysenberry fruit and spice
From bottle :
- 2006 August West Rosella's Vineyard Pinot: all I can say is....wow! Ed is the master of Rosella's Pinot! This has the potential to be up there with the '03 & '05, my favorite AW Rosella's to date
- 2006 August West Graham Family Vineyard RRV Pinot: really nice, a bit lighter than Rosellas with more earth and herb elements
- 2006 Sandler Pinot: tasted this but somehow didn't take any notes....not sure where it's from - Sonoma Coast like the '05 Pinot?
- 2006 Sandler Connell Vineyard Bennett Valley Syrah: the stemminess and tannins seem a bit tamer on the '06, lots of nice spicy aromas from the whole cluster but will still take time to come together
- 2005 Sandler Connell Vineyard Bennett Valley Syrah: can really see how the whole cluster transforms....this is losing that overtly stemmy character and has great spice and dark fruits
Thanks to Ed for allowing us to taste these wines!
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