Reviews

Kale 2008 Syrah Sonoma County

2014 KALE HERITAGE "MCGAH VINEYARD" RUTHERFORD, NAPA VALLEY

97 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 5.4

The nose is a pure black fruits with an underlying marzipan and sticky raspberry.  The palate is the epitome of freshly-picked crushed blackberries from a warm dusty thicket.  Unquestionably the silkiest Grenache-based wine I have tasted in years.  Stunning. -DW

93 points, The Wine Advocate, Issue 227, October 2016

The 2014 Heritage McGah Vineyard from Rutherford, is 87% Grenache and the rest 8% Mourvèdre and 5% Syrah. This is another sexy wine, coming in at 15.5% natural alcohol. Peppery, Provençal herb and strawberry notes soar from the glass of this fragrant, intriguing wine. It is medium to full-bodied with loads of glycerin, a voluptuous texture and a long, pure finish. Drink it over the next 5-6 years. -RP

These are impressive debut releases from Kale Wines.
— Robert M. Parker, Jr.

93 points, Wine Spectator, December 2016

Stylish and jammed with personality, but well-focused. Peppered cinnamon and raspberry aromas combine with rich, plump flavors of smoky meat, bittersweet chocolate and orange zest. Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Drink now through 2026. 114 cases made. -TF


2016 KALE ROSÉ "KICK RANCH VINEYARD" FOUNTAINGROVE DISTRICT, SONOMA COUNTY

94 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 6.1

Here is what happens harvesting Grenache at 20 brix a mere 96 hours after veraison.  Pressed gently to be a completely white wine going into the tank, it was later blended with Cinsaut that was whole cluster pressed into neutral French oak for fermentation.  The nose is a fresh raspberry, and wet stone with notes of jasmine, vanilla and mineral.  The palate entry is lush red apple, tropical fruits with notes of mint and wet stone. Beautiful stuff. -DW

91 points, Vinous, June 2017

Bright onion skin. A sharply focused, mineral-accented bouquet evokes fresh red berries and citrus fruits, along with suggestions of candied flowers and white pepper. Taut, penetrating and spicy; bitter orange pith and strawberry flavors are braced by a spine of acidity that adds back-end lift and cut. Finishes very long and minerally, leaving suave floral and red fruit notes behind. –JR

90 points, Wine Enthusiast, September 2017

Light pink-orange in color, this is made from 90% Grenache and 10% Cinsault, fermented in both stainless-steel tank and neutral French oak barrels. Floral, lemony and tart, the flavors are defined in jasmine and raspberry, with a lasting thirst-quench of fresh watermelon.


2016 KALE ROSÉ "MCGAH VINEYARD" RUTHERFORD, NAPA VALLEY

92 points, Wine Enthusiast, September 2017

From the eastern side of the Napa Valley, this combines 84% Grenache with 16% Mourvèdre, harvesting the best clusters of the grapes specifically for this light, dry wine. The juice is left to ferment and rest in concrete egg and neutral French oak. Light-copper in color, it's perfumed in jasmine, with accents of white peach, lime and strawberry, light and ethereal with a backbone of focused acidity.

92 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 6.1

Both varieties came off the vine at 20 Brix; the Grenache at dawn, then whole cluster-pressed as if the intent was dry sparkling wine before racking into concrete egg and neutral French oak. Almost devoid of color, it shows a nose of wild strawberry, lychee, white pepper and graphite. The palate is bone dry on entry with subtle berry and essence of mineral-laced mouth-watering grapefruit. The finish of orange/vanilla persists, becoming more integrated as the wine warms up. -DW

90 points, Vinous, June 2017

Extremely pale orange. Aromas of candied orange, raspberry and pungent flowers pick up a subtle white pepper flourish as the wine opens up. Sappy and broad on the palate, offering juicy red fruit flavors that are given lift and cut by a core of tangy acidity. Shows good heft but comes off lithe and finishes with a strong echo of sappy red fruit and repeating florality. – JR


2015 Kale RosÉ Sonoma County

91 points, Vinous, June 2016

Light, bright orange. Tangerine, red currant, pungent flowers and herbs on the fragrant nose.  Fleshy and seamless in texture, offering weighty red berry and orange pith flavors that show a hint of refreshing bitterness.  Finishes long, spicy and minerally, delivering energetic cut and nervy lift.  I really like the blend of power and vivacity here.  -JR

90 points, Wine Enthusiast, August 2016

A majority of Grenache and tiny bit of Mourvèdre from Kick Ranch and McGah Vineyard were racked to concrete egg for fermentation, with the intent of preserving freshness. Successful in that quest, this orange-pink wine is dry, tangy and well-integrated in terms of acidity, subtle in cranberry, dried cherry and orange, with a light, refreshing finish. -VB

90 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 5.1

Faint notes of cranberry, raspberry, salt and wet slate in the nose, the palate is focused and bright with a full ripe core of red fruit, hibiscus and graphite.  Clean, restrained and fresh.  -DW


2014 KALE ROSÉ SONOMA COUNTY

93 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 4.2

From Dick Keenan's Kick Ranch, Kale Anderson's pink wine never disappoints.  Night harvested at 20 brix, the Grenache is pressed within hours as whole cluster in a gentle bladder press.  Virtually colorless, it is cold fermented in concrete eggs and blended separately with Syrah saignée that is barrel fermented.  Essences of summer fruits throughout - strawberry, raspberry, melon and orange marshmallow in the nose.  The palate is supple and bright with a vibrant core of textured berry and orange peel.  Dazzling, mouth-coating butter cream.  It just oozes with vitality.  Drink 2015 - 2017. - DW

90 points, Vinous, April 2015

Light, bright orange. Highly perfumed, complex scents of raspberry, blood orange, pungent flowers and succulent herbs. Fleshy and energetic on the palate, offering bitter cherry and red berry flavors and a suggestion of candied lavender that builds with air. Concentrated yet lithe as well, finishing with excellent clarity, bite and persistence. This assertive pink wine, which strongly channels a top Gigondas rosé, would match up well with red meat dishes as well as with richer shellfish preparations; it also drinks quite well on its own. - JR


2013 Kale Rosé Napa Valley

91 points, Wine Enthusiast, July 2014

Made from a blend of 62% Grenache and 38% Syrah, this is a classically dry, refreshingly crisp rosé, pink-salmon in color that’s intense yet soft, crafted in a Provence style.  The grapes come from Rutherford, Atlas Peak and Sonoma County’s Kick Ranch, tasting of fresh raspberry and spring flowers, a bite of wet stone on the finish. – VB

90 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 3.3

Lush red fruit, crisp graphite, strawberry and herb in the nose. The palate is fresh, focused and bright. Easy drinking, crisp backbone. Drink 2014 – 2015. – DW

88 points, Wine Spectator, May 2014

Delicate, showing a subtle richness, offering cherry and smoky herb aromas and crisp flavors of watermelon and spice. Grenache and Syrah. Drink now. 176 cases made. –TF


2012 Kale Rosé Sonoma County

90 points, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, July/August 2013

(100% Syrah):  Bright orange-pink.  Assertive cherry and floral pastille aromas are sharpened by orange zest and white pepper.  Juicy and penetrating, offering lively red fruit flavors that gain spiciness with air.  Closes with gentle grip and a sexy floral quality, with no rough edges. JR

90 points, The Tasting Panel - Blue Reviews EXTRA, August 2013

Deep pink; smooth and juicy with lovely depth of fruit and bright acidity; balanced, lush and dry with tangy flavors and a lovely rich finish; vibrant and long. –ADB


2016 Kale Grenache Blanc "Somerston Vineyard" Napa Valley

92 points, Wine Enthusiast, October 2017

From a site tucked within the eastern hills of the appellation, this is a 100% varietal expression, dark hay in color, sparkling in minerality and sporting a gravelly edge. Stainless steel and one neutral French oak barrel helped ferment and age. Flinty, it shines in lime, peach and pear.

92 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 6.1

Morning harvested like the others, it also is treated to the ‘champagne cycle’ on the bladder press before racking to tank and a single neutral French oak barrel. The nose shows mineral, chalk, and resinous lemon/grapefruit with underlying florals. The palate offers white peach, mineral and clean, fresh acidity. -DW

89 points, Wine Spectator, September 2017

Juicy grapefruit and pear flavors show appealing notes of beeswax and lentil, with a refreshing finish. Drink now. 201 cases made. –MW


2013 Kale Broken Axle "Stagecoach Vineyard" Napa Valley

92 points, The Wine Advocate, Issue 227, October 2016

From the Napa Stagecoach Vineyard the 2013 Broken Axle Stagecoach Vineyard is a blend of 95% Syrah (15% whole-clusters included) and 5% Grenache from John Alban’s clone in Arroyo Grande. The clone is believed to have been taken from the famous Château Rayas Vineyard in Châteauneuf du Pape. The wine was bottled unfined, but slightly filtered, after having spent 20 months in puncheons and smaller Taransaud barrels. A rich wine made with the Syrah and Grenache fermented together, there is no doubt about the heftiness and punch of this wine, although it is not hot. It finishes at 16.1% alcohol. The wine exhibits blackberry and cassis fruit, spring flowers, a touch of pepper and lavender. It is a sexy, lush, hedonistic style of wine to drink over the next 7-8 years. - RP

91 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 4.3

The nose is a blackberry, licorice and herbal tapenade with beautiful floral notes of lilac. The palate is compact but lively in its plentitude. I love the briar and fruit/chocolate character. -DW

90 points, Wine Spectator, June 2016

Ripe but well-balanced, with black cherry and dusty herb aromas and layered flavors of smoky raspberry, white pepper and licorice. Syrah and Grenache. Drink now through 2026. -TF

90 points, Wine Enthusiast, October 2016

This is serious, ripe wine at its most heady and extreme, a gripping, fleshy wine that's dusty and tight in leathery black fruit and pepper, a gaminess lurking in its hinterlands. The addition of 5% Grenache adds plushness and lifts the blackberry and notions of fig compote. - VB


2012 kale broken axle "Stagecoach vineyard" napa valley

91 points, Wine Enthusiast, September 2015

From the Pritchard Hill section of the vineyard, this wine consists of 75% Syrah and 25% Grenache.  A hearty, fruity and big-boned explosion of blueberry and strawberry, it's rimmed in coconut flake and black, leathery pepper.  Dense and full bodied, the minerality should allow it to cellar and integrate through 2020.  Cellar Selection.  -VB

90 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 3.5

One quarter of the Grenache was whole cluster pressed.  The nose shows bright cranberry and supple ripe blackberry.  The palate offers sharply focused, extracted red and black fruit.  The impression is power and density.  - DW


2013 Kale Home Run Cuvée "Kick Ranch Vineyard" Fountaingrove District

91 points, Wine Enthusiast, September 2016

Made from 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache, both grown at the terrific Kick Ranch hillside site, this wine has a robustness of dark cherry and a red-brick color, soft, smooth and youthful in its seamless tannin and oak. Juicy dark blueberry and a touch of meaty spice form an enviable combination just ready for meaty dishes. -VB

91 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 4.3

The nose is rich, carbonized meat with saturated black fruits - berry and figs. With notes of lavender, cherry and chocolate. The palate is concentrated black fruit, charcoal, menthol through a firm core with notes of herb and fine acidity. -DW

90 points, Wine Spectator, March 2016    

Fresh and focused, showing subtle power.  Floral cherry and grilled anise aromas open to elegantly complex flavors of smoky plum, white pepper and sage.  -TF                                                                                           


2012 KALE HOME RUN CUVÉE "KICK RANCH VINEYARD" SONOMA COUNTY

92 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 3.5

The blend from this beautiful site includes 15% whole clusters, and is co-fermented.  Additionally, no new oak is used to emphasize the fruit.  The nose is polished with aromas of bright currant, while the palate experiences solid, crisp and clean black fruits on entry, finishing with deeper mineral and perfumed fruit.  -DW

90 points, Wine Enthusiast, September 2015

A mere youth, this blend of 68% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 2% Viognier needs time, suggesting a decant before enjoying.  High-toned and juicy blueberry and blackberry remain shy on the palate, while the wine's more exotic handfuls of black licorice and tea are more pronounced, alongside a dark chocolate vibe and pinches of white pepper.  -VB

90 points, The Tasting Panel - Blue Reviews EXTRA, August 2015

Dark, smooth and rich with blackberry, cassis and spice with good acid structure; sweet oak; tangy and long, balanced and stylish.  -ADB


2011 Kale Home Run Cuvée "Kick Ranch Vineyard" Sonoma County

91 points, Wine Enthusiast, April 2014

This Syrah-Grenache cuvee is an example of a more structured style of Rhone blends, with moderate alcohol and brisk acidity providing architectural balance to the brilliant array of fruits.  The raspberries, cherries and pepper have a flowery, herbal edge suggesting lavendar and anise.  Give this fine wine some time in the decanter before drinking.  –SH

90 points, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2014

Dark purple.  Scents of ripe black and blue fruits are lifted by notes of black pepper and fresh flowers.  Supple and appealingly sweet, offering plush blueberry and cherry compote flavors and a touch of candied violet.  Shows very good breadth and a seamless quality on the seemingly tannin-free finish, which lingers with appealingly sweetness. – JR


2010 Kale Home Run Cuvée "Kick Ranch Vineyard" Sonoma County

92 points, Wine Spectator, March 2014

Rich, bold and deeply flavored, with tiers of blackberry, boysenberry and raspberry that saturate the palate, easing up midpalate and ending with a long, dense, chewy aftertaste. Syrah, Grenache and Viognier. Drink now through 2023. 81 cases made. –JL

91 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 3.2

Raspberry tart, briar, honey and sweet oats in a pervasive, lingering nose.  The palate is lean and finely delineated, though expressive across the core with ripe red berry and understated acidity.  Very nicely put together wine. – DW

 90 points, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2014

Opaque ruby.  Smoky black raspberry and cola aromas are lifted by suggestions of white pepper and fresh flowers.  Offers appealing sweetness and velvety texture, its flavors of dark berry and candied lavender becoming spicier with air.  Finishes with supple tannins, a hint of allspice and very good clarity and length. - JR

90 points, The Tasting Panel Blue Reviews EXTRA, September 2013

Dark and smooth; ripe plum, blackberry and prune with depth, complexity and intensity; juicy, lush and thick; powerful and long. -ADB


2009 Kale Home Run Cuvée "Kick Ranch Vineyard" Sonoma County

94 points, The Rhone Report, December 2012

A different beast, the 2009 Kale Kick Ranch Home Run Cuvee is a blend of 68% Syrah, 27% Grenache, and 5% Viognier that saw 18 months in 25% new French oak. Always changing in the glass and switching between the Grenache and Syrah component, it has copious black fruits, licorice, wild herbs, roasted meats, and earth-like qualities, as well as a full-bodied, concentrated, and voluptuous texture that has no hard edges. Deep, rich, and interesting, with a purity and lightness that makes it hard to resist now, this beauty should have a solid 10-12 years of longevity. It needs a decant if drinking anytime soon. JD 

90 points, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2013

Bright violet color.  Pungent, herb- and floral-accented aromas of dark berries, cherry and cola.  Spicy and precise on entry, then fleshier in the middle, offering energetic blackberry and bitter cherry flavors and a hint of licorice.  Fine-grained tannins give grip and focus to a taut, precise, refreshingly bitter finish. JR


2010 Kale Syrah "Alder Springs Vineyard - Spirit Rock" Mendocino County

93 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report, Volume 3.2

A nose of peppercorn and juicy cherries with hints of blueberry.  The palate is lean and finely precise.  The finish is well-integrated piquant raspberry and warm blueberry.  It is a beautifully expressive wine from one of California’s top sites for growing Syrah. - DW

92 points, Wine Enthusiast, May 2014

Lush in dark fruit, notably blueberry and blackberry, this is a soft, mellow, concentrated Syrah with a hint of forest floor and white pepper. With 4% Viognier blended in, it’s long on the finish, with acidity able to support years of aging. – VB

92 points, The Tasting Panel Blue Reviews EXTRA, September 2013

Dark and rich with tangy blackberry and plum; smooth, dense and ripe with toasty oak and spice; juicy, vivid and long. –ADB 

91 points, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2014

Saturated ruby.  Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of candied dark fruits, incense and olive, with a smoky overtone and a hint of black pepper.  Offers spicy blackberry and mulberry flavors, along with notes of cola and candied violet that emerge with air.  Bright acidity sharpens a finish that shows excellent clarity and gentle tannic persistence. - JR


2009 Kale Syrah "Alder Springs Vineyard - Spirit Rock" Mendocino County

93 points, The Rhone Report, December 2012

Also superb, the 2009 Kale Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard – Spirit Rock is a knockout blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Viognier that spent 18 months in a scant 33% new French oak. Deep, rich, and layered, with a savory bouquet of black currant, plum, smoked meats, violets, and a touch of licorice, it flows onto the palate with a full-bodied, concentrated, and rich texture that has considerable depth, plenty of freshness, and a clean, classically structured finish. Count me a fan and this will appeal to lovers of northern Rhône Syrah, as well as to readers who are not afraid of a little meat in their Syrah! It will drink beautifully for over a decade. JD

91 points, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2013

Bright purple.  A heady bouquet displays scents of candied dark berries and potpourri, with a peppery topnote.  Juicy, penetrating black raspberry and floral pastille flavors show very good depth and put on weight with air.  Dense but lively syrah, with strong finishing grip and floral-driven length. JR 

90 points, Wine Spectator, March 2014

The power is understated at first, picking up weight and richness as this develops. The smoky raspberry and floral blueberry aromas lean toward structured flavors of roasted anise, mineral and pepper. Bold tannins appear on the finish. Best from 2015 through 2021. 119 cases made. –TF

90 points, Wine Enthusiast, May 2014

Voluptuous and savory, this Syrah is blended with 10% Viognier and the aromatics benefit as a result, a minerally mix of floral raspberry and vanilla. Earthy and leathery on the palate, it shows a taste of baked plum on the finish, as well as tobacco, a nice balance between Syrah’s darker and brighter sides. - VB


2008 Kale Syrah "Samantha's Vineyard" Russian River Valley

92 points, Wine Spectator, March 2014

Sleek but well-focused and structured, with smoky and spicy black raspberry aromas that lead to layered plum, stony graphite and roasted herb flavors. Drink now through 2022. 114 cases made. –TF

92 points, The Rhone Report, December 2012

A blend of 99% Syrah and 1% Roussanne, the 2008 Kale Syrah Samantha's Vineyard, fermented with 20% whole-cluster and aged 18 months in 45% new French oak puncheons, is a rich, meaty, and savory Syrah that offers up a gorgeous bouquet of smoked black fruits, bacon fat, lavender, and roasted meats. Pure, concentrated, and structured on the palate, with a fleshy, medium to full-bodied texture, gorgeous richness, and a broad, chewy finish, this beautiful Syrah will be even better in another year or two, and will drink well for 8-10 years. JD

90 points, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2013

Dark purple.  Roasted plum, cassis and licorice on the deeply scented nose and in the mouth.  Lush and broad, with a creamy texture and sneaky, slow-building tannins.  Finishes sweet and long, with a touch of palate-numbing cracked pepper and lingering smokiness.  Very syrah and drinkable now. JR