2005 Bob's Aria Barbera
Barbera • Saint Olof Vineyards
California: Lake County
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 even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Kaz Winery.
Exclusive New Release:
This wine from our good friends at Kaz Winery is currently only available through The Wine Spies. It has not yet even been released to the Kaz Klub. Be sure to stock up on this great wine and for extra savings, be sure to use the promotion code SPYKAZ for free ground shipping on orders of six or more.
Mission Codename: Bob’s your Opera singing uncle
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure the latest creation from Kaz Winery
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Kaz Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Bob’s Aria Barbera
Winemaker: Richard “Kaz” Kasmeier
Barbera is one of the most prolific grapes of Italy’s Piedmont. Generally light, fresh and fruity in character, Barbera is fast becoming a favorite of many U.S. wine-drinkers. It is ruby-red in color and darkens as it ages. Furthermore, as it ages Barbera typically loses some of its acidity and grows in terms of aroma and taste components. It was first brought to the United States and planted in Napa Valley by Italian immigrants.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark ruby red in color with garnet edges and lots of thin legs that streak down the side of the glass when swirled.
Smell – Big and profound tart fruit including pomegranate; oak, spice and floral components add to the bright and youthful nose on this wine; a subtle herbaceous hint of blackcurrant leaf and vanilla teases as well.
Feel – Tart and tangy with bright acidity and a mild sweetness on the tip of the tongue; medium tannins make this wine medium- to full-bodied.
Taste – Tart concentrated black-fruits and pomegranate with a sour raspberry component with layers of toasted oak and spicy pepper.
Finish – Long and lingering with lots of tart fruit, spice and oak.
Conclusion – If you love Kaz’s unique wines, then this Barbera is for you. This wine packs the tanginess that has made Kaz famous despite being the ‘smallest winery in Sonoma’. Give this wine some time to breathe and it softens.
Most of our Operatives know that my own interest in wine was first sparked on a visit to the Kaz Winery in Sonoma County. For those that have not read my account, I submit it here for your enjoyment:
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 Saint Olof Vineyard in Lake County can be seen in this satellite photo.
Wine Spies Winery Check:
The Kaz Winery, however, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
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About This Wine:
Five barrels of this wine were made with the finest grapes from Saint Olof Vineyards in Lake County. We find that the Italian varietals such as Barbera love this appellation and the end results simply rock! Expect an amazing nose full of fruit and spice. A robust body with subtle oak and light tannins merges with cherry and fresh fig.
Kaz has a long contract with the grower of the Barbera!
It is with the Olofs Vineyard in Lake County! Kaz is lucky to have found such great growers of this fine Italian grape. The warm nights of Lake County lend to the perfect ripening of Italy’s most regal grape. This has a silky mouth feel with the nose of ripe cherries! It even has the acid of cherries and overall taste of a spicy plum pie. 3.4 pH The Alc% is on the bottle. Kaz also uses some of the Barbera in his red port. It has a way of getting the acid level to the perfect level for a well rounded port.
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.
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.
Here’s what sets us apart…
We’re a Real Family Owned and Run Establishment
Winemaker/Owner Richard Kasmier, a.k.a. Kaz is the brains and ego of he operation. He’s supported by his lovely-artistic-creative wife, Sandi, and their kids. The Kaz family creates all of their own labels, ads and even this website. Our humble winery/tasting room, in Kenwood, is typically staffed by one of the Kaz’s.
Small Production: 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.
Unique Wines: We specialize in Complex Reds, Bold Blends, Rare Varietals and Ports like you’ve never seen.
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.