1996 Kalin Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Reserve- USA, California, North Coast, Potter Valley (8/16/2010)
Golden metallic, slight green hugh color. Nutty sherry, tropical fruit, toasted coconut, hazelnut butter nose. First taste, and you might quickly think OX…but after a couple sips, it’s totally not! This is all about perfectly aged white wine…that shouldn’t age…but did! Blind, you would go to Bordeaux. Only a White Bordeaux can age this well?? Well…another Kalin SHOCKER! This is all about rich and oily, little waxy, tropical/pit fruit…very complexed with age, of toasted coconut, hazelnut butter, lemon honey, marzipan, grilled pineapple rosemary sprig skewer atop a green tea cake drizzled with lavender honey…really! Plenty of lemon citrus acidity and minerals to give this wine some youth…and just enough sherriness for added complexity. Great wine, freakish again, from Kalin…probably just released a few short years ago! (94 pts.)
“memorable”–in a good way–is how I categorize all the Kalins I’ve tried (about 4 now). My last one, sadly, was a couple years ago, the 1996 Semillon:
"1996 Kalin Cellars Semillon
It may smell and taste slightly off, but I don’t think it is—I just think it’s Kalin. Some white grape/raisin backdrop and also some sweet corn scents. And there is definitely a sweet whisky secondary whiff. And whisky-like is exactly the descriptor I’d look for dans la bouche. Maltiness, a little caramel swish and focussed, in its own way."
I don’t think this is the current release (unless they don’t release vintages sequentially, totally possible with Kalin I suppose) as I had the 1997 back in February. It was pretty amazing also with many similarities to the notes here on the '96. I have no experience with aged sauvignon blanc so didn’t know what to expect. Can’t say I’d want to drink this every week, but it is truly one of the more interesting white wines I’ve ever had.
Kalin Cellars continues to produce outstanding wines. The Sauvignon Blanc rivals some of the best from Bordeaux, while the Semillon rises to meet any food challenge. The Chardonnays - several Cuvees -
are simply outstanding. ( My wife just informed me that she drew a bottle of Kalin’s 1993 LD Chardonnay from my cache at the golf club this afternoon, which she shared with her bridge group. Good thing my cache has more. ).
I also enjoy his Pinot Noirs, and there is a new one coming in memory of the French barrel maker, Gaston Billon.
Terry Leighton’s practice of releasing the wines is unique - they are ready, but have ample future cellar life.