Kelley & Young Wines

2011 Kathleen Rose

Red Blend

California: Sonoma County: Alexander Valley

Offer Expired:Jul 23, 2012 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


Today’s wine receives this special alert because it is the finest Rose we have showcased this summer. This is remarkable praise as our recent Rose offerings have been quite stellar.


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Mission Codename: Truth in Love

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Kelley & Young Winery, and secure an ample quantity of their fantastic 20011 Kathleen Rose. A Bordeaux style Rose that is worthy of our exacting Operatives.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Kelley & Young Winery

Wine Subject: 2011 Kathleen Rose – Robert Young Vineyard

Winemaker: Jim Young

Backgrounder: The Wine Spies are always on the hunt for the best wines that we can find. When it comes to Rose, we are exceedingly difficult to please. Today’s wine comes to us from one of Agent Red’s favorite wine families, the Young’s who own Robert Young Winery, a Sonoma County winery that produces some of the finest wines Red has ever tasted. For today’s wine, Agent Red visited with Kathleen Kelley Young, for whom the wine was named. He tasted her Robert Young Vineyard 2008 Kathleen Rose, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot,and fell in love with it.

The fruit for today’s wine comes from the world-famous Robert Young Vineyard in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. The Wine Spies first became fans of Robert Young wines nearly five years ago. When our field agents fed us early intel that Jim Young (CEO of Robert Young Winery) had collaborated with his wife, Kathleen, to craft their own wines from family fruit, we dispatched Agent Red to investigate immediately. Read his tasting notes and mission report below.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Medium salmon hues, with perfect clarity and perfect, even coloration, from core to edge. After a hearty swirl, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind tall, slow-moving columns of tightly-clustered tears.

Smell – Sweet and complex with balanced sweet aromas of bright cherry, fresh young stawberry, pink grapefruit, guava and starfruit. As it warms, the wine reveals additional aromas of white nectarine, white peach and pink flower petals.

Feel – Soft, round and slippery at the tip of the tongue, this wine then settles onto the rest of the palate. Bright and fresh, the balanced acidity drives flavors to the far corners of the mouth.

Taste – Sweet young strawberry, pink grapefruit and yellow raspberry meld with fresh lime, sweet-tart cherry, starfruit, pink rose petals, flint and a the faintest hint of subtle dried herbs.

Finish Ultra long and full of sustained flavor, the wine starts sweet and then goes softly tart and then, finally, softly flinty. Bright acids push flavors around the palate all the while. At the very tail end, a hint of the most subtle spice appears for a brief instant.

Conclusion – Hands down, this Rose is the best we have featured this summer! This is ultra high praise, too, for we have showcased some rather remarkable wines. This delicious wine shows the great complexity of a Bordeaux-style Rose, but without any of the harshness you might expect from a French Rose. This wine is, instead, loaded with wonderful, authentic, exotic fruit, minerals and hints of mineral and subtle spice. We give this fantastic Rose our heartiest Wine Spies recommendation. At today’s price – or a higher price – this wine will not disappoint.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Jim Young

DATE OF BIRTH: April 23rd 1952

PLACE OF BIRTH: Healdsburg, California


CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: 34 years as Vineyard Manager with Robert Young Vineyards. CEO, Robert Young Vineyards & Estate Winery. Owner, Kelley & Young Wines since 2006

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: I like to let the grapes speak for themselves – wine making should begin in the field – I try not to over work the wine and let the fruit show through

SIGNATURE VARIETAL: We’ve only just begun so I don’t really have a “signature” yet – I have 12 varietals to play with in the vineyard – each one has a voice and we’re still trying to figure that out

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: After growing grapes for almost 35 years for other wineries finally branching out to make our own wines on a professional level.

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Partner in opening Robert Young Estate Winery

WINEMAKER QUOTE: “A balanced vine makes the best wine”


AGENT RED: Greetings, Jim. We are thrilled to be showing your Kathleen Rose today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

JIM: Thank you, Agent Red. We’re happy that you love our wines so much!

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

JIM: as a grower I always wanted to learn how the vineyard influenced what was in the bottle

RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?

JIM: at UC Davis and 30+ years of home winemaking

RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?

JIM: I like my wines to be fruit forward and juicy so I let the vineyard and grapes show through in the wine and try not to over manipulate during the wine making process

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

JIM: I’ve followed many wines over these many years – probably no one wine or winemaker in particular – but a compilation of many

RED: How long have you been making wine?

JIM: 38 years – but commercially only 7

RED: Who do you make wine for?

JIM: I make the wine for ourselves and the consumer

RED: Tell me, what makes the Alexander Valley so special?

JIM: Our vineyards in Alexander Valley include 12 different soil types and is time proven to have an ideal climate in which to grow many grape varieties

RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?

JIM: Try to get an internship at a winery and get as much experience as possible – get your feet wet before you jump in.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

JIM: Sonoma Cuisine – grilled salmon, pork, vegetables and fruit – this month we’re featuring a Peach Glazed Grilled Pork Chop in our monthly newsletter that is absolutely wonderful. The Madrona Manor features this wine with a tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and its great just to sip – chilled on a hot afternoon.

RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know

JIM: That I’m an accomplished woodworker. My wife and I live in a Victorian house on the ranch that was once owned by my Great Uncle Warner. In 1985 I started a 2 year restoration and remodel of our 130+ year home. Much of the trim for the project was reproduced on site by hand.

RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?

JIM: Sauvignon Blanc, Rose’ and Chardonnay. They just go with so much of our Sonoma County fresh cuisine

RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?

JIM: I recommend that people choose the wines that THEY like to drink – trust your palate –and don’t be afraid to try different wines.

RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?

JIM: One wine? – that’s why we have variety in life – it’s the spice of life

RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?

JIM:What vineyard practice makes the best wine? There isn’t any one practice that makes the best wine, however, I feel the most important vineyard practice is growing a balanced vine. By that I mean, a vine that has the proper amount of fruit to leaf ratio, with adequate but dappled sunlight exposure throughout the vine canopy, and not overly stressed or over irrigated.

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

JIM: Thanks, Red. Cheers!

Please enjoy the following mission recap, in which Agent Red tells the story of his affiliation – and infatuation – with today’s winery:

With today’s mission, I feel as though I have come full circle. I feel satisfied and complete. Sure, that has something to do with today’s amazing Sauvignon Blanc – but my feelings go way deeper than that.

It all started when I was a junior Operative. And when I say junior I mean completely and utterly green.

The winery was Robert Young Vineyards, my target wine was their fabled Scion. It was my very first mission. Ever – and I while I was nervous at first, I quickly became comfortable.

After what was a rather protracted surveillance and two undercover missions to the winery (in disguise), I was ready for my first formal infiltration.

I moved in, perhaps a little too aggressively, on the winery’s director of sales. We had a great meeting and in less than 15 minutes I had negotiated a sizable allocation for our Operatives.

I left the winery filled with confidence and exuberance. I called HQ to report in and Agent White congratulated me. Boy were those the days.

We scheduled a showing of the wine and send out a dispatch to our early-in Operatives, giving them a preview alert about this great wine to come. And that’s when the call came in. The winery, bless them for this, had run out of the wine. The showing was off!

The highs and lows experienced that week were exquisite. And, thank goodness, never replicated since.

I did experience a wonderful high recently when my phone rang and there, on the other end, was Kathleen Kelley Young of Kelley! Just a few days before, the W.I.N.E. (Wine Internet Nexus Engine) had issued an alert about this very same winery. It was a short message alert, a Beta-level alert which was important, but I was backlogged with plenty of Alpha tasks.

It was after speaking with Kathleen for a while that I made the connections in my mind… Young… Of course! Jim Young… Yes! Her husband, the Young in the name Kelley & Young, is that Jim Young! Right, from Robert Young!

So, I told Kathleen my story and then she told me hers. Hers is actually far more heartwarming than my own. Certainly, I am passionate about wine. Kathleen and Jim’s passion? Well, that goes way beyond.

For this couple, wine is life and romance and more. It is an enhancement and a vessel for love. Before you accuse me of over romanticizing, you must to at least one of the following: 1) Taste today’s awesome wine, and 2) Spend just a few minutes with Kathleen. Her zeal for finding the soul of the vineyard is both relentless and pure. Her attachment to the land and love of the vineyards are visceral.

With regard to the wine, well, one sip was all I needed to know for certain that this was the finest wines I have ever tasted. Coming from me, a spy that is incredibly hard to please with many white wines, that is the highest praise.

Kathleen and Jim have made this wine from the finest fruit available in the Alexander Valley – or elsewhere for that matter. Their dedication to the vineyards, first, and the winemaking second, shines through in each tender sip.

When I asked Kathleen who Jim makes the wine for, without a moment of hesitation and with a flashing grin on her face, she answered, “He makes the wine for me!” Knowing what I do about Kathleen, I know that she is so deeply into wine that Jim had his work cut out for him. And, guess what? He absolutely nailed it.

Today’s wine is special to me in so many ways, but primarily because it is so great.

Cheers to coming full circle. Cheers to Kathleen and Jim for bringing today’s great wine into the world.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of Robert Young Estate Vineyard, where today’s incredible wine was born, can be seen in this <A HREF="" TARGET=“NEW”>satellite photo</A>.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

Pink is back and its even better! We are so excited to announce the release of the 2011 Kathleen Rose.

Our 2011 Kathleen Rose is an amazing example of a Bordeaux style rosé. The grapes for the Kathleen Rose are sourced from our family’s Robert Young Vineyards and are picked and produced as a rosé.

It is a true Meritage made in a rosé style. What that means is that we use the Bordeaux varietals Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the “big red” varietals; the wine is light but rich with huge flavors of wild strawberries, guava and just a hint of lime on the finish. Because it is made from these varietals, it has a lush, round mouth feel reminiscent of a wonderful Bordeaux, but with none of the harsh tannins. Also, because we pick it earlier in the season, the alcohol is lower than many other rosés made in the saignée style.

Like our Sauvignon Blanc, it pairs wonderfully with the fresh foods we enjoy most here in Sonoma County. Because there is just a touch of oak on the finish, it pairs beautifully with foods like grilled salmon, pork and vegetables.

About The Winery:

Many of you know the story, but if you don’t, here it is:

My husband Jim and his family farm about 320 acres of premium wine grapes in the heart of Alexander Valley. Jim’s been working and managing his family vineyards for nearly 30 years, and in 2007 was named CEO of the family businesses which includes the Robert Young Estate Winery as well as the vineyard and about 100 acres of grazing land. Until recently, I too worked for the Young family, but after 20 years, we decided to start this new venture. Truth is, Jim and I love wine; we love to farm it, we love to make it, we love to drink it and we love to share it with friends.

2005 had a bountiful crop and we custom crushed about 10 tons of Sauvignon Blanc at RYEW with the hope that the winery would add one of our favorite varietals to their outstanding line-up of wines which includes; the award winning Scion — a Bordeaux blend, as well as a luscious Chardonnay and an unbelievable Merlot. Alas, it was not to be, and Jim and I could not bear to part with this wonderful juice, especially to an over-saturated bulk market.

After much deliberation, we decided to finish the wine (with the help of Kevin Warren—the RYEW wine maker), giving it our own special style. We hurriedly applied for the various State and Federal licenses and with the help of our friend and neighbor Karin Warnelius, designed the package, and finally bottled the wine on March 23, 2007.

We don’t have a tasting room, just our little office behind our house, and we’re doing everything ourselves, marketing, shipping and yes, even website design. There’s a lot we’re still working on, but one thing’s for sure, we are absolutely tickled to bring you this wine! We feel it was grown with love and attention, it was vinted with care and expert knowledge and we think after one taste you’ll agree, this is one of the best Sauvignon Blancs you’ve ever tasted.

Technical Analysis:

Alcohol: 13.4%

Harvest: Sept 26, 2011

Production: 240 cases

Bottled: March 23, 2012

Released: April 1, 2012

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