2005 Plunge - Sangiovese
Sangiovese • Ricci Vineyard
California: Sonoma 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 greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Kaz Winery.
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Mission Codename: Neoclassical Pranksterism
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red back to his early wine roots
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Kaz Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 ‘Plunge’ Sangiovese
Winemakers: Mister Kaz
In early 2004, Agent Red was merely a casual wine drinker. Very casual. His informal attitude toward wine changed considerably when he happened upon a small and unassuming winery in the Sonoma County town of Kenwood. On tasting wine from the Kaz Winery, Agent Red was transformed. Some say that this is where his obsession with wine was born. Read his mission report below for more details, then favor your own taste buds with a few bottles of today’s remarkable wine!
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Note: Sangiovese is an Italian native varietal, now grown with great success by American growers. Sangiovese is the primary component in most Italian Chianti wines, which is Italy’s most common table wine. This wine is 100% Sangiovese, which is how we prefer our Sangiovese, and we absolutely love it
Look – Medium red-clear pink-plum color
Smell – Tangy cherry with plum and light floral notes
Feel – Initially wet in the mouth, this wine digs in and gives you a playful slap on the 4 corners of your tongue with its mild-to-medium tannins
Taste – Delicious, with sweet and mildly sour cherry with a hint of smoky plum and burned cranberry
Finish – Tasty and long lasting with around the mouth flavors and a tannic bite that tapers off smoothly
Conclusion – The Wine Spies almost universally adore wine from Sonoma AND Sangiovese wines. Add Kaz the winemaker to this adoration and you have a recipe for a great wine. This is a fun wine to drink, but it can also be enjoyed as a serious wine that can hold up to the harshest wine-snob scrutiny. Once again, we bring you a wine that we seriously suggest that you try… Are you detecting a pattern here?
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:
The Sangiovese grape variety originated in Italy and derives its name from the sangius Jovis which means “the blood of Jupiter”. It is most famous as the main component of the Chianti blend in Tuscany, but we like it as a solo act. The oak takes hold of the grape and overlays strawberry with walnut and white pepper.
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.
Barrels made: 6
Grapes from: Ricci Vineyard – Sonoma Valley
Label by: Ryan Kaz.