California: Sonoma County
What We Say
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WORLD EXCLUSIVE ALERT:
This wine from our good friends at Kaz Winery is currently only available through The Wine Spies – and only today!
Mission Codename: The Great and Powerful Kaz
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Kaz Winery, secure a World Exclusive new release
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Kaz Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Sangiofranc
Winemaker: Richard ‘Kaz’ Kazmier
Our Operatives know that Agent Red is absolutely bonkers about Kaz wines. They also know that Cabernet Franc is his very favorite varietal. Today’s wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese, the most widely planted grape in all of Italy. Sangiovese is used in everything from blended inexpensive table wines like Chianti, to the finest Super Tuscans. Italian immigrants introduced this varietal to the U.S. in the 1800’s. It is even reported that this grape was first planted near Geyserville, California, at the Segheshio Family’s “Chianti Station”. A few miles away, the Sangiovese part of today’s wine comes from a small vineyard neighboring the Kaz winery, where the other part of the wine, the Cabernet Franc, grows. This magical blending, as interpreted by the mind of Kaz, is a delicious and complex wine that is a joy to imbibe.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet with a deeply concentrated burgundy heart, with ruby edges. The wine shows a very taught and bouncy surface that, after swirling, leaves behind tight clustes of skinny legs that take a long time to make their way down the glass
Smell – The perfect fusion of Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese, this wine is earthy, robust and deeply aromatic. With layers of dark strawberry, plum, violet, orange peel, clove and vanilla, presumably from the Sangiovese – and raspberry, sweetwood, stems, cedar and earth from the Fanc
Feel – Softly silky on the attack. Then, as the wine glides across the mid-palate, it gently coats the mouth and becomes slightly more weighty. As it settles in around the edges of the mouth a bright tanginess (not overly tart) is revealed, adding some fun to the overall experience
Taste – Bright, softly tart, and delicious, with flavors taken straight from the aromatics of the wine. What really shines through are the fruits in the wine, especially the strawberry, raspberry and sweet plum. Add to these, tart cherry, smoky plum and softest truffle
Finish – Long, smoky and slightly dry, with fruit flavors that go from sweet to slightly tart as the dwindle off gently, making your mouth water
Conclusion – Kaz, you are my hero! It is because of your wines that I was inspired to become a Wine Spy in the first place. Today’s wine is a great reminder as to why I fell in love with Kaz wines all those years ago. With flavors and character that are unique among the many wines I taste each day, Kaz wines are truly stand outs! I was only a little nervous about the young age of this wine, but I so impressed with the quality on opening it. What a delightful surprise that the wine is ready to drink now. That makes me wildly optimistic about the bottles I stashed away! Expect greatness.
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 embarrasment 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 intitial 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 Kaz Winery can be seen in this satellite photo
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Just 4 barrels of this wine were made. Staying with the small batch thing that Kaz is infamous for!
This is a blend of 75% Sangiovese & 25% Cab Franc for my neighbors vineyard here in Kenwood.
I helped select the bud wood from a friends vineyard in Sonoma and took it to the nursery some 15 years ago now to be budded into the rootstock. This is a field blend, which means the fruit in this years was ripe and we co-fermented the fruit together. Most years this does not take place but in 2007 they were both ripe and ready to go on the same day!
This is a nice rich & pretty full Sangiovese with a beautiful balance of cherry fruit & light tannins to make this undesirably Sangio. It pares well with any tomato based sauce and will punch your spaghetti right in the meatballs! We sold 1 barrel of this wine from the barrel. We now let visitors to the winery try 1- wines from the barrel and if they like it they can bottle it right then and there. Watching folks put in the cork and label wine maybe for the first time is a fun experience. Come check it out and tell us you got the Wine Spies email and see how we react. Our light sabers are waiting! My the force be with you.
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.
Hearty stews and dishes with Red or Green Pesto are a good fit.
pH: 3.45 pH,
Process: We are not certified organic but all grown fruit and made wines follow the organic regulations or beyond.