2006 Stomp - Merlot
Merlot •'Some Other Guy's Vineyard'
California: Sonoma Valley
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.
EXCLUSIVE ALERT!: We bring you today’s wine, Kaz’s first-ever Merlot, before it is available anywhere else!
REPEAT WINE ALERT!: Sometimes, when our Operatives demand it, we bring back a wine we have featured before. If you missed out last time, well, you know…
FREE SHIPPING SPECIAL ALERT!: Enjoy Free Shipping when you purchase at least 6 bottles, using coupon code SPYKAZ
Mission Codename: The experienced first-timer
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Kaz Winery was rumored to be creating its first-ever Merlot. Send Agent Red, the ultimate Kaz fan, to retrieve the wine before its available ANYWHERE
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Kaz Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Stomp Merlot
Winemaker: Richard “Kaz” Kasmier
Backgrounder: Wine Spies Operatives know that Agent Red gives partial credit to Kaz wines for launching his career as a Wine Spy. His early exposure to Kaz wines led to his overall interest in wine, providing the early catalyst and inspiration for the formation of The Wine Spies organization. Read his mission report below to find out how he scored today’s wine for you – a new varietal from Kaz – before it was even released!
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Concentrated burgundy with color continuity all the way to the edges of the glass. The wine has a bouncy surface, a deeply concentrated heart and variably-spaced skinny legs that run down the glass at differing speeds
Smell – Fragrant fruit of cherry, currant, and plum with smoky prune, violet, sweet wood and cedar
Feel – Wet, cool, round and silky smooth at first. Then, the wines soft tannins bite down gently, just behind the tip of the tongue
Taste – Youthful and brightly balanced flavors or tart cherry, white plum, cranberry and edible flowers with a hint of sweet wood and fresh mulch
Finish – Cool and wet at first, then slightly drying as the wines soft to medium tannins kick in, with flavors that taper off very slowly
Conclusion – Like most Kaz wines, this inaugural Merlot is a juicy and fruit-forward wine. Present in this wine is the Kaz Signature, a combination of qualities that make this wine unmistakably Kaz. This youthful wine is ready to go now, and will benefit from near and longer-term cellaring. With only 10 months in the barrel, this wine is certainly something of an aberration, but Kaz is an experimenter. The effect of this short time in the barrel is a wine that keeps its big fruit without becoming overly herbaceous or vegital. Be sure to decant this wine for a long time in order to bring its brightness and its tartness down to levels that make the wine a pleasure to drink.
For those who missed this early previous mission to the Kaz Winery, here it is again:
I am writing this report on my laptop, which sits perched atop the unpretentious bar in the Kaz Winery tasting room. It is exhilarating to be back here at the Kaz Winery, where I had my wine awakening.
My prior wine experience was limited merely to ‘red or white’; I had no clue that there was an amazing array of varietals to be experienced. I knew that I liked red wine better than white wine and I knew that some wines cost more than others. I was a total wine noob (newbie).
One day, while on my way to one of my favorite Sonoma County parks, I passed by a small winery that I had passed a half dozen times in recent months. Each time I passed by, my brain filled in more details about the place. It dawned on me that this particular winery, called the Kaz Winery was infinitesimally smaller than the behemoth corporate wineries I passed to get to this park. That made me wonder, were wines made by a smaller winery better, or worse than those from the big boys? Or, were small-winery wines less refined or less drinkable? I was soon to learn that small winery wines could be better, and that less refined could be a great thing, indeed.
With some trepidation I decided to go to the tasting room. Would these winefolk speak a language of wine that would be over my head? Would they be snobby and pretentious? I mustered my courage and walked to the door – which I tried, stupidly, to pull open. Pulling on the door caused it to bang loudly because it was a sliding barn door. I felt I was an idiot for missing the overtly placed sign with a thick black arrow and the words, “Slide to Open”. Despite my embarrassment I pressed onward and finally slid the door open.
Inside the room I saw several people lined up at a bar. They looked happy and relaxed. So, too, did the people behind the counter. They did not look as I had imagined wine people to look. One of the women behind the counter welcomed me in by waving me up to the bar. She asked me if I had ever been in before. I sheepishly admitted that I had not. She set a glass down in front of me and asked me what I would like to try. I asked her to surprise me, and boy did she deliver! What followed was a around-the-world tour of seven Kaz wines! My brain exploded. I would never be the same again.
Pour after pour, I was encouraged to look at the wine, to notice it, to sniff it and, of course, to taste it. I was awestruck by the subtleties of some wines, the brashness of others. I asked questions, listened, and absorbed the wisdom imparted to me on this visit. Before this visit I had known simple things like, wines are made from many different types of grapes, but I never understood why or what the differences were. The world of wine was finally becoming less of a mystery and more of a journey.
By the end of my visit I was well on my way to a paradigm shift in my perception of wine. I realized that wine is something that can be serious, or fun (or both simultaneously). I realized that wine can be enjoyed by anyone, even me. It made me wonder about other wineries and their wines. Could wine get even better than this? It was this simple question, brought on by my initial experience that drives me to this very day.
Standing there, again, at the Kaz tasting bar, awash in the significance of the place, I felt a sense of respect, contentment, and purpose. That place, with those wines… That is where it all began!
Footnote :Kaz is a man with a mission of his own; He is driven to deliver big wines that don’t pussyfoot around. He also does so with a cheerfully irreverent sense of humor. He is part scientist and part court jester. While his image, and those on his wine bottles shout playfulness and good humor, his wines are serious… or, better put, sincere. Oh, and of course they’re always delicious!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the vineyard is Top Secret. We know where it is and we assure you, the famous vineyard makes great fruit! For now, you’ll have to content yourself with what Kaz himself reveals about the vineyard. On the label of the wine, you’ll find the words, ‘*Some Other Guy’s Vineyard*’.
The Kaz Winery, however, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
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About This Wine:
Only ten months in the barrel and whoosh, off to the bottle. Yes, that is odd for almost any red wine, but for Merlot it’s down right unheard of. As Kaz always says, “There is no harm in experimenting”. The idea and end result here is to keep it fruity and hold off the classic herbal nose of a Merlot. Why? We STOMP to our own beat!
About The Winery:
Nestled in the Valley of the Moon, Kenwood, California, Kaz Vineyard and Winery offers up something completely new for the adventurous souls. We are the smallest winery in the county that sells to the public and proud of it.
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.
A Note on Flavor:
Many of our wines are tangy due to ultra low sulfites (the headache causing preservative). This allows for big ripe aromas and flavor subtleties that intrigue and bewilder.
Every wine is made in small lots of one to eight barrels. That’s real dinky! We make between forty and sixty barrels annually. Big wineries make far more that that of just one type of wine.
We specialize in Complex Reds, Bold Blends, Rare Varietals and Ports like you’ve never seen.