Kunde Family Estate, located near the town of Kenwood in California's Sonoma Valley, is both rich in history and a contemporary leader in wine growing and wine production.
The Kunde facility and vineyards encompass more than 1,800 acres, where five generations of family ownership have been making wines since 1904.
All of Kunde's wines are produced from estate-grown grapes using sustainable farming methods. The company has been designated "Certified Sustainable" by the California Winegrowing Alliance, and received the state's highest environmental honor, the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, for its sustainable practices and "green-friendly" facilities.
I had the good fortune to spend some time chatting and tasting with Kunde winemaker Zach Long at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival a few weeks ago. The personable Long has done an excellent job producing wines that are well-balanced, flavorful without being overstated, and extremely food-friendly.
Here are a few Kunde wines I enjoyed from the winery's Family Estate Series:
Magnolia Lane 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (about $16) - This wine really shines with a slightly herbaceous base of lemongrass and a refreshing smack of green melon and gooseberry. Try it with oysters, fettuccine alfredo or potato gnocchi in heavy cream.
Sonoma Valley 2011 Chardonnay (about $16) - Long creates a beautiful chardonnay by allowing 80 percent of the juice to go through malolactic fermentation and by fermenting the remaining 20 percent in stainless steel. It's highlighted with splashes of crisp citrus, followed by round, creamy baked apple flavors. This wine could be the perfect match with buttered shrimp or lobster.
Sonoma Valley 2010 Zinfandel (about $16) - Sophisticated and reserved, this zin has notes of brambly berry, plum, black currant and a lengthy finish accentuated with a subtle spiciness. Consider pairing it with duck, pheasant or mushroom risotto.
Sonoma Valley 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (about $21) - Intriguing aromatics of vanilla wafer, popcorn and buttered toast lead off, with flavors of dark cherry, bittersweet chocolate, black olive and a touch of dried herb. It's a complex, yet fun red wine that packs plenty of punch for a cabernet at this price.
The winery also produces two other tiers of wines: a Destination Series, which is available only to wine club members and visitors to the facility's tasting room; and a Reserve Series, which is produced - at a premium price, of course - in smaller quantities from the estate's prime vineyard locations.
For more information about the winery, go to kunde.com.
Dan Radil is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at danthewineguy.com.