Friday, September 4, 2015

Kinkead Ridge / Lowell Marie

The new label
Log time readers of this corner of the internet should be aware of my fascination with Kinkead Ridge wines from the Ohio River Valley.  They have been world class wines from locally grown, vinifera grapes - not an easy project in this part of the country.

The good news is that the winery opened again on September 4 after being closed for a year due to the two  devastatingly cold winters this area experienced in 2014 and 2015.  In short  - there were no grapes.  The sad news is that the vineyard is no more.  It could not recover from those two bad winters.   Additionally the winery has new ownership, and the land where the vineyard was has  been sold to different ownership.  The new owners of the land do not intend to replant the vineyard.  The estate grapes are gone.  Very sad. 

Viognier grapes before the two bad winters
There are still three red, estate wines from the 2013 vintage that will be released in November, but the winery reopened with wines made from purchased grapes, some from a considerable distance away.  The wines also have a new name,  Lowell Marie, named for the new owners.  Plans are to produce wines under that name from purchased grapes and hopefully plant a vineyard elsewhere to again make estate wines under the Kinkead Ridge label.  The news wines are good and interesting and after tasting through the lineup I found four to bring home in a mixed case.

A row of cabernet vines
The  2014 Pinot Gris made from juice purchased from Washington State.  It is light, refreshing and a wine with an herbal core to it.  It would be good chilled with whitefish or lighter chicken or pork dishes, but would probably be at its best just chilled and consumed with snacks.  It’s a happy wine.  13.5% alcohol.  105 cases produced.  A good bargain at $11.99.

There is a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc (53%)  and Semillon (47%) blend made from grapes purchased from Washington state.  There is mellow apple, some citrus and green figs on the nose.  The figs really came through to me in the taste of the wine.  This is much fuller bodied than the Pinot Gris.  It was unquestionably my favorite of all the wines.  14.8% alcohol.  258 cases produced.    At $13.99 it is the best buy of all of the wines. 

Cabernet grapes
The 2014 Merlot was made from grapes purchased from the Lodi, California area.  It smells like fresh crushed plums and berries.  It’s light bodied and full of fruity flavors with just enough tannin to keep the fruit in check.  This is not a wine for keeping,  just a wine to open and enjoy.  12.9%  alcohol.  190 cases produced.   $10.99

The last wine in my case was a 2013 Chambourcin from the McCafferty Bridge vineyard from the Ohio River Valley.  Chambourcin is a French-American hybrid that survives the winters in this area.  It is a very full bodied wine with dark color.  It attacks the palate on the first few sips with tannin and grip, but it quickly mellows to dark fruits.  I got a bit of mushroom in the wine.  It is not for the faint of heart.  I am usually not a fan of the hybrid grapes, but I can make an exception for this wine.  It is sold under the River Village Cellars label. 12.8% alcohol.  111 cases produced. $11.99.

There are three other wines available that I did not purchase.

A 2014 Rousanne-Viognier was made from Washington state grapes.  The mix is a little strong on the Rousanne for me.  Good wine, but I would have preferred more Viognier.  And there were two vintages of Traminette available on the River Village Cellars   The 2013 I already had in the cellar.  The 2014, at 2.9%  residual sugar, is a better wine.  The acid is better and makes this a better wine.  Both are $9.99.

The vineyard house

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