Kristian Story Wines
2006 Soirée Estate Meritage
Meritage •St. Helena Winery Vineyard
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s elegant wine was selected for our Elite Operative Saturday due its exceptional quality and exceptional value.
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Mission Codename: The rest of the Story
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red to Kristian Story Winery, in order to investigate reports of a fantastic Meritage. If the rumors are true, secure an ample cache of their 2006 Soirée Meritage for our Bordeaux blend-loving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Kristian Story Wines
Wine Subject: 2006 Soirée Meritage
Winemaker: Kristian Story
Backgrounder: Meritage (pronounce like ‘heritage’, no French style accent) wine, blends made in the tradition of the great wines of Bordeaux can only carry the name if the winery is a member of The Meritage Association based in Sonoma County. Most wines made in the US are varietal wines, comprised of over 75% of a single varietal. Unfortunately, this labeling requirement is believed to impair many winemakers from making exceptional blends, since they are often labeled as simply Red Table Wine with the noble grapes of Bordeaux. Thus in 1988 Meritage was born as a way to highlight the winemaker’s art of careful blending and crafting of wines in the tradition of some of Europe’s finest wines.
Today’s is a lovingly-chosen blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 8% Petite Sirah and 2% Petit Verdot.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet, with a darkening heart. Color is evenly concentrated, right out to the purple edging. When swirled, the inside of the glass is coated with color. As the wine settles, thin wine-stained tears move slowly down the glass.
Smell – A heady bouquet with lots of dark berries and earthy character. Pronounced black cherry, blackberry and currant are followed by bramble, soft chocolate dust, cigar box, anise and a hint of dark spice.
Feel – Plush and smooth with soft, ripe tannins and a balanced acidity. The wine shows good complexity, making it a pleasure to hold and explore in the mouth between sips.
Taste – Black cherry, blackberry, and sweet, earthy bramble are layered over currant, plum, subtle mission fig, spice and a hint of pepper.
Finish – Very full and flavor-filled, with dark fruits gradually giving way to earthy components. Spice and pepper round out the tail end.
Conclusion – Today’s limited-production 2006 Kristian Story Soirée Meritage is a fantastic, elegant, delicious wine that we enthusiastically recommend. Lush fruit, deep aromatics and a velvety feel all come together beautifully, to deliver a wine that is a true sippers delight. Built to age, this wine is drinking just beautifully, now. We enjoyed our sample bottle with a selection of fruit and hard cheeses. The Merlot brings perfect balance to the Cabernet and the wine just has an overall elegance that our tasting panel loved. Drink now, or carefully cellar for up 7 to 10 more years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Kristian Story
WINE EDUCATION: I have had no formal education with winemaking in school. My education in fact was from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where I obtained a BS in Material and Metallurgical Engineering. I came to making wines by learning from some of the best winemakers, here in Napa Valley. I learned to make these wines, with my hands in the dirt as well as the cellars. Wine mentors have been Mark Herrold (Merus), Sarah Gott (Joseph Phelps, Quintessa & Blackbird), Francois Bugue (Cain), and my own father Peter Story (St. Helena Winery).
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Kristian Story, a Napa Valley, California winemaker, employs Ancien winemaking techniques to create his hand-crafted, unfiltered and unfined wines, fermented with French yeasts. Focused on the limited production of red Bordeaux varietals and small lots of Chardonnay, Merlot and Petite Sirah, Kristian believes the minimalist approach preserves and expresses the true varietal character of Kristian Story Wines. In 2000, Kristian began making artisan wines with grapes grown, vinted and bottled on the Story family’s estate vineyard, St. Helena Winery. He was assistant winemaker for St. Helen Winery until August of 2007, when he pursued making wines fulltime under the Kristian Story Wines brand. Since January 2002, he has been creating wines under this label.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: A winemaker is an ambassador, a guide, an artist, whose purpose is to insure the fruit, which has been meticulously cared for, reveals its true essence, from the vine to the barrel to the bottle, with as little interference as possible.
Kristian Story Wines focus is on small production, single-vineyard wines. Left Bank Bordeaux wines have had the largest influence in Kristian’s old world style. We hand harvest our grapes, section by section based on optimal ripeness, rather than in a block or in its entirety. They are then hand sorted and allowed to go through primary and secondary fermentation using French yeast. Skin contact is maximized, allowing the wines to develop, color, complexity and great lushness. Wines are then aged in four to five types of hand-selected French oak barrels. They are then bottled unfined and unfiltered, resulting in a bottle where the nuances of nature have been coaxed so that the wine that pours into your glass, offers its most pleasing and purest expression to your palate.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “To make supple wines that are accessible in their youth, but suited to cellaring – the fruit, tannins, acidity and alcohol must be balanced and in harmony.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2003 Kristian Story Sauvage Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, released December 1, 2005
AGENT RED: Greetings, Kristian. We are thrilled to be showing your*2006 Kristian Story Soirée Meritage* today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
KRISTIAN STORY: Absolutely Agent Red. Kristian Story Wines is thrilled to be a part of your covert operation!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
KRISTIAN: Specific Experience? Hmmm. I guess you could say being raised in a European family has had a factor in my love of wine. (I’m a half French son of a Jersey Boy!) I can remember having wine as young as 5 years old. Of course it was a splash of red wine with LOTS of water. As I grew older this ratio changed, more red wine, less water. So as a result of this way of living, you could say I have been a master blender of wines for over 40 years! LOL
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
KRISTIAN: I have been blessed to have learned from several great mentors! My mentors have been Mark Herrold (Merus), Sarah Gott (Joseph Phelps, Quintessa & Blackbird), Francois Bugue (Cain), and my own father Peter Story (St. Helena Winery). From Mark, I learned about fermenting wines in small lots, 1-ton food grade bins, punching down the wines by hand vs pump over, selection of French yeasts to inoculate the wines, as well as the selection of French barrels to choose from for my various varietals. Sarah was influential in teaching me of layering various varietals and clones of the grapes I grow. She encouraged me to use Petite Sirah in my big Cabs vs. Cab Franc for it’s color, it’s nose and it’s amazing red fruit palate. Francois, was wonderful in teaching me about ways in which to handle the fruit, once picked, and how to obtain, greater color extraction and tannis from the wines. And last but not least, my father, Peter Story. He has been there with me from day one. I’ve learned about the ways of being a farmer, of exercising patience with each season and what it brings us in the way of fruit, and having restraint in my winemaking. The greatest lesson learned from my father has been taking on a hands-off approach to making my wines. Of not manipulating the wines, with so many tricks in the trade that are out there. Instead, to touch the wine as little as possible, giving those who drink KSW, the purest expression of what our vineyards are capable of growing and brining this, into your glass.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
KRISTIAN: I make wines for consumers under my own label, Kristian Story Wines, for private clients, as well as some current Artists (Rockstars, DJ’s, Athletes, etc) some of these clients include: Danuta Wine, Roric Harrison (former MLB Pitcher), ArtistWine, the band WARRANT, Bobby Blotzer from the band RATT, and Sirus/XM Radio DJ Richard Blade. Additionally, I am the winemaker for an Asian client of ours who has developed an new and amazing brand called NapaOne. Look for this wine to be offered in the Americas very soon.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
KRISTIAN: Today, we are offering Kristian Story Wines’ 2006 Kristian Story Soiree Estate Meritage. I wanted to create a wine that was great for taking to parties or evening gatherings. It was soft and seductive to the palate, yet exploded with fruit! In Las Vegas, the call this wine, “A party in your mouth!” Not very politically correct there!
It is a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 8% Petite Sirah and 2% Petite Verdot.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
KRISTIAN: My favorite pairings with this wine are cheeses and prosciutto for those hot summer nights when you are wanting a Red wine instead of a White. It is also excellent in the coming holiday months, to be served at your table when serving game meats, or after the meal at desert with chocolates. My personal favorite with this wine is to be outside drinking the wine with no food and a great cigar!
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Vallley so special?
KRISTIAN: We all have heard how amazing the Napa Valley is for wine. Specifically, St. Helena, 20 minutes north of Napa, is one, if not the best region on this planet for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. It has been said, St. Helena on average has 210 days during the year where temperature is 90 degrees or warner. In this environment, Cabernet Sauvignon thrives and delivers AMAZING flavors!
*RED:* What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
KRISTIAN: This is a magical time of year, as we are in the midst of harvest. The valley is alive with the action of vineyards being picked and fruit being put into fermentation tanks. Everywhere you go, you can smell grapes starting the amazing process of being turned into wines. The days are long, being in the fields at 4:30/5AM, preparing everything for the fruit to be picked and brought in and not getting home until 9/10PM at night. Although I am exhausted, I can’t think of anything else I would rather do!
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
KRISTIAN: How should one approach my wines? Slowly and carefully! LOL. The wines I make, you will find to be like that of my background. Being the product of French and Bronx, NY parents, the wines are made to offer those who drink them, an old world style, “with a little attitude!” The wines are also made to seduce your every sense (eyes, nose, mouth). You’ll find the wines, not being manipulated or having anything artificial added, offer a palate where the wine is smooth and provides a long finish! So start off with KSW’s Soiree, then climb the latter trying our red blend Kristian Story Red, and lastly, our BIG Cabernet Sauvignon, Kristian Story Rhapsodie Estate Cab Sauv.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
KRISTIAN: I have great passion for this business. I have been graced with a job which allows me to do what I love. The ability to work with my hands (a farmer), with my palate (an artist or winemaker), and getting out into the market (sales), meeting some of the most wonderful people whom I can now call friends. This IS the good life! I have to say, not bad for being the Second-Story winemaker, a half-French son of a Jersey boy!
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Kristian Story/St. Helena Winery HQ can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
A profound offering of ripe blackberries, pomegranate, fleshy currant, wild plum, dark chocolate and caramel flavors is found in the 2006 Kristian Story Soirée. The supple, silky, fine-grained tannins grace a soft finish. Will be at its peak between 2010-2015.
Cellaring: This wine will continue to develop complexity over the next few years. However, it is sufficiently well balanced to enjoy now.
Winemaker Notes:A blockbuster, the 2007 Kristian Story Soirée Estate Meritage offers non-classic notes of brambleberry, fleshy currant, black berries, exotic spice, lead pencil shavings, subtle smoke, and earth.
About The Winery:
Kristian Story, a Napa Valley, California winemaker, employs Ancien winemaking techniques to create his hand-crafted, unfiltered and unfined wines, fermented with French yeasts. Focused on the limited production of red Bordeaux varietals and small lots of Chardonnay, Merlot and Petite Sirah, Kristian believes the minimalist approach preserves and expresses the true varietal character of Kristian Story Wines.
“To make supple wines that are accessible in their youth, but suited to cellaring – the fruit, tannins, acidity and alcohol must be balanced and in harmony.” Kristian Story has been making artisan wines since 2000 with grapes grown, vinted and bottled on the Story family’s estate vineyard, St. Helena Winery
Wine mentors have been Mark Herrold (Merus), Sarah Gott (Joseph Phelps, Quintessa & Blackbird), Francois Bugue (Cain), and his own father Peter Story (St. Helena Winery).
His passion and focus has resulted in plush, rich, layered and unabashedly seductive Bordeaux blends, rooted in old world techniques yet distinctively Californian. Not bad for the Second-Story winemaker, half-French son of a Jersey boy!
VARIETAL: 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 8% Petite Sirah, 2% Petit Verdot
VINEYARD: St. Helena Winery Vineyard, Block #4
WINEMAKING: Fermented with French yeast – Lavin D254
Cold soak at 50 degrees – 3 days; Maturation period – 11 days; Maceration period – 2 days; Racked only 4 times
Wine chemistry; 25.0 Brix at harvest; 3.64 pH at bottling; 0.67 TA at bottling; Bottled unfined and unfiltered
BARREL AGING: 20 months in new French Oak Barrels;
- Exclusively Marcel Cadet, Saury, Seguin Moreau
ALCOHOL: 14.1% by volume
BOTTLING DATE: June 18, 2008
RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2009
PRODUCTION: 287 cases