2005 Sarah Nader Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Slo 2-20 Ranch Vineyard
California: Amador County
What we say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Kaz Winery.
Be sure to sign up for our Daily Dispatch email so you are the first to know about all of our great wine offerings.
Mission Codename: The Kult of Kaz
Operative: Agent Zin
Objective: Unravel the mystery of Agent Red’s almost reverential devotion to Kaz wines and determine, once and for all, if Red has been brainwashed
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Kaz Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Sarah Nader Zinfindel
Winemaker: Richard “Kaz” Kasmier
Backgrounder: Wine Spies Operatives know that Agent Red credits Kaz wines for launching his activities as a Wine Spy. His early exposure to Kaz wines led to his overall interest in wine, and to launching his career ultimately to his formation of The Wine Spies organization. Today we send Agent Zin, undercover, to the Kaz Winery to render a final determination on the sanity of Agent Red. Or at least on his fervent love for Kaz wines.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Perfectly clear pink-to-purple-garnet color with a tight and springy surface and widely-space pencil-tip thin legs that start off slow and then streak down the glass
Smell – Cherry and spice and everything… stonefruit with oak, acerola, blackberry, mild black pepper and a wonderful hint of grape Bazooka bubblegum – if Bazooka were made from real grapes
Feel – Wet, cool, balanced, round and silky smooth, this wine glides through your mouth before bringing some heat to the back of the mouth and soft tannins to the front of the tongue and the inside of the lips
Taste – Wonderfully balanced flavors of tart cherry, plum, blackberry, cranberry and boysenberry with a hint of sweet wood and black pepper
Finish – Slightly warming and wet at first, then warmer and drying as the wines soft to medium tannins kick in, with flavors that taper slowly
Conclusion – I am now a fan as well. Be sure to read the mission report below to see how I, too, became an instant convert. Now all of us Wine Spies universally love wines from the Kaz Winery. Why? Easy, Kaz makes wines that are delicious, feel handmade and never drink like a mass produced wine. Kaz wines have a heart and a soul and they deliver more than just great drinking… they deliver an experience and a sense of the winemakers love for his craft. This wine, from grapes grown in Amador County, is the first that we have featured from the region. Amador is gaining notoriety as the up and coming region for California Zinfandel. You can bet that we’ll be conducting more research, but if today’s wine is any indication, Amador has it goin’ on_. *_Kaz certainly does* with this exceptional Zinfandel!
After my mission briefing at Central Command, I stopped off for a brief chat with Wine Spies staff psychologist, Agent Currant (it’s a slightly obscure cover name but you’ll get it if you think really hard).
Currant was well informed on Agent Red’s reverence for Kaz wines and assured me that Red’s devotion was, “…fine. No problem…”. I checked in with Wine Spies Operatives Agent Sparkle and Agent White_. They both assured me that I had nothing to worry about and that Kaz wines were, “…amazing, the best.”. They tried to convince me that I should leave poor Agent Red alone and simply report to Central Command that Red’s affliction for Kaz wines was “Healthy” and "_Well founded".
What got to me – what sort of creeped me out – was the look that my fellow agents got on their faces when they discussed Kaz wines. It was almost as though they had all been brainwashed. There was just one thing to do: I needed to visit the Kaz Winery and see what was going on for myself.
The balance of this mission report is transmitted in real-time, utilizing our new sub-vocalization tranmitter/transcoder device:
I’m wearing my disguise and I’m in my Zinmobile, heading straight for the Kaz tasting room. Straightening my faux mustache, I’m parking. I’m nervous, but steeling myself for what lay ahead. Now I’m walking into the tasting room.
_The decor is ‘farmhouse country’ and the broadly smiling faces on both sides of the counter set me on edge. The people here may see my jaw flexing, but with this subvocalizer in, they can’t tell that I am transmitting my report. _
“Pour you a glass of my favorite Zinfandel?”
That was the woman behind the counter.
I’ll bite. “Umm, sure,”
She just set a filled glass down in front of me and I’m covertly dabbing a SpyStrip into the wine.
[note for newer agents*: Wine Spies SpyStrips provide instant wine analysis-at-a-glance, and screen for undesirable substances in wine].
Reading the SpyStrip. All Clear.
Swirling. Sniffing. So far so good.
Now for a sip.
_"Wow! This is GREAT ZINFANDEL_! Do you all agree with me that this is the best Zinfandel you have ever tasted?"
[loud sounds of agreement]
Central Command Mission Footnote: Agent Zin returned to our NorCal lair, a case of today’s Zinfandel in hand. Agent Red has been cleared of all accusations. Have you tried today’s Zin? C’mon, take a sip… just a little sip………
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the Slo 2-20 Ranch Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Check out The Wine Spies on Wine Library TV
About This Wine:
A fantastic mix of fruits and spices. This one will go down easy with its ultra smooth finish. Sarah Nader will serenade your senses!
Go gourmet with this one. Or… serve with a meat and cheese platter for full effect. A Triple Cream Brie and a smoked cheese along side a dry salami or smoked fish is a fine way to do it up. Oh! Don’t forget the figs and olives! Now the party can start.
About Amador County:
Amador County and the California Shenandoah Valley AVA was aptly named by the Virginians who settled in the Sierra Nevada foothill during the California Gold Rush. Officially being designated as an AVA in 1983, this area is known for Zinfandel and Italian varietals. Many of the vines in this region date back to 1881 when many of the original gold miners ran out of gold and turned to wine making.
Kaz… the Winemaker
Who is Kaz?
Richard Kasmier, “Kaz”, has been making wine since 1985. Winemaking was little more than a hobby for a decade before he became bonded as a winery in 1994. The transition from a professional commercial photographer to a winemaker was natural for Kaz. His graphic and marketing sense was perfect for making his labels pop and his word spread. The Kaz way of making wine would earn him recognition, acclaim and admiration as his organic wines scored well with sippers.
Kaz takes great pleasure in doing things his way. His philosophy is “Do it how you like it”. Kaz makes wines from varietals that he admires like Mourvedre, Carignane, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Barbera, Alicante Bouschet and many more. He likes BIG RED WINES with loads of complexity and finding a good balance or a fun extremes by blending varietals. Kaz makes wines organically because he respects the Earth and those who drink his wine. He will make wines in a style all of his own or borrow from old world methods when he simply wishes to. He loves to push boundaries and open new doors. Thus, Kaz’s motto is “There’s No Harm in Experimenting”.
Character… He is one!
Perhaps the most infamous and loved ingredient in the whole of the Kaz Vineyard and Winery experience is Kaz’s personality. He’s a funny guy with nutty humor, a vivid imagination and a loose ego. A member of Kaz’s family is almost always by his side. His tight family shows his warmth by their evolvement. His wife of thirty years, Sandi is the definition of warm. She is always the voice of reason that adds calm to Kaz’s frantic energy. Their son, Ryan, considers Kaz his hero and best friend. Ryan loves pouring at the tasting room for dad and using his computer skills to make his father look as crazy as he is. Daughter, Kristin, is the organization queen at Kaz… Someone has to crack the whip! You see Kaz’s personality in his wine labels, marketing and smeared around the winery/tasting room. Luckily, what you see is what you get,
a true original.
Barrels made: 5
Vineyard: Slow-2-20 Ranch
Label by: Ryan Kaz (Many thanks to Uncle Jeff for the great image!)