Kelley & Young Wines
2008 Kathleen Rose
California: Sonoma County: Alexander Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: True Romance
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Kelley & Young Winery, and secure an ample quantity of their fantastic 2008 Kathleen Rose, a Bordeaux style wine
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Kelley & Young Winery
Wine Subject: 2008 Kathleen Rose – Robert Young Vineyard
Winemaker: Jim Young
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 two years ago. When our field agents fed us early intel that Jim Young, CEO of Robert Young Winery, was crafting his 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 – Beautiful dark pink, the color reminds me of a darker peach-colored rose flower. The color maintains perfect concentration right out to the edges of the glass. Where some wines become lighter at this outer edge, this wine holds it’s color completely. When swirled, the surface of the wine appears springy and it settles quickly, leaving behind clusters of thin tears that take a moment to emerge before the move steadily down the glass
Smell – Bright and complex, leading with lush aromatics of strawberry, fresh rose, pink grapefruit, soft citrus with a soft and earthy violet flower
Feel -Lush and velvet-smooth on the attack, then a soft dryness takes hold as the wine reveals its medium body with subtle complexity and an easy minerality
Taste -Guava and rhubarb take the lead. These are soon followed by tart smoky cherry, soft pink grapefruit, rhubarb, zest and dried red flowers
Finish -Long and long-tapering, with flavors that start sweet and then go slightly tart and dry as flavors gently fall off
Conclusion – A beautiful Rose that is long on character, complexity and great flavors. This is an easy wine to drink, to be sure, but it is not a boring wine in the least. With plenty of aromatic appeal on opening, I was even more impressed on first sip, where my palate lit up with the delightful feel and flavors of the wine. If you love Rose, you are in for a real treat with this wine. Made from what is acknowledged to be some of the finest fruit in the region, this Robert Young-grown wine shows off it’s vineyard lineage, but also the skill of it’s multi-generational winemaker, Jim Young. We are always thrilled to be able to bring you a Kelley & Young wine, but today we are especially pleases; This Rose is amazingly great.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Jim Young
DATE OF BIRTH: April 23rd 1952
PLACE OF BIRTH: Healdsburg, California
WINE EDUCATION: BS – UC Davis
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 2008 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: 34 years – but commercially only 3
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 occupying your time at the winery these days?
JIM: Our Zinfandel, a new variety for Kelley & Young, is resting in barrel, and we’re currently spending our time in preparation for harvest out in the vineyards
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
JIM: The Kathleen Rose is a rose wine comprised of 4 Bordeaux varietals; Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The grapes are harvested earlier in the season to be a true rose. The grapes are crushed and then pressed off straight away to lessen the skin contact. The result is a fruit forward lush wine with a very smooth mouth feel and long rewarding finish.
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 satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Pink is back and its even better! We are so excited to announce the release of the 2008 Kathleen Rose.
Our 2008 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 Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the “big red” varietals, but the wine is light but rich with huge flavors of strawberry and guava and its fermented dry. 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.
Production: 210 cases
Harvest: Sept 20
Bottled: April 28, 2008
Released: June 15, 2008