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Kenwood Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
The Art: Rolph Scarlett, a Canadian by birth, and a jeweler and set designer by trade, produced this gouache and graphite painting in 1940, at mid-point in his life and career. Deeply moved by the early improvisations of Kandinsky, Scarlett worked in the abstract and expressionistic styles. This untitled piece demonstrates the artist's interest in creating a "cosmic order" through the juxtaposition and ordering of color and shape against a picture plane.
After more than two decades in the limelight, Kenwood Vineyards' highly-acclaimed Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon reigns as a premier marriage of fine art and fine wine. Kenwood's goal for combining its finest Cabernet Sauvignon with the work of contemporary artists was to create an elegant, easily identifiable package, while promoting beautiful artwork at the same time.
The grapes used to craft each Artist Series release are as carefully selected as the artwork that will grace the bottle. Each year, Winemaker Mike Lee selects the finest small lots of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and skillfully blends them to produce this Kenwood classic. While the winemaking philosophy of using only the most superior Cabernet fruit never changes, the style of Kenwood's Artist Series Cabernet has evolved over the years. The initial style of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon fruit with lots of oak aroma and flavor has evolved to a lighter Bordeaux-style blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc) with subtle oak complexity.
The Kenwood Artist Series is truly a successful marriage of wine and art, which has often been referred to as the "Chateau Mouton-Rothschild of America." Accordingly, the Artist Series collection has become highly sought after by wine collectors worldwide.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Located in the heart of the Sonoma Valley, Kenwood Vineyards is dedicated to producing premium wines truly representative of Sonoma County’s world-class vineyards.
Kenwood Vineyards was established in 1970 in the former Pagani Brothers Winery, a historic cellar dating back to 1906. Thoroughly refurbished and modernized, the facility now boasts more than 125 stainless steel fermenting tanks and large oak uprights, and 20,000 small French and American oak barrels, all devoted to Kenwood Vineyards’ “small lot” style of winemaking.
In addition to the 22-acre vineyard surrounding the winery, Kenwood Vineyards sources grapes from dozens of vineyards – many farmed sustainably, using natural soil amendments and pest controls whenever possible rather than chemicals - in Sonoma County’s best appellations, including Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Mountain. Each lot from each vineyard is kept separate throughout the winemaking process, enabling the winemaker to bring it to its fullest potential. This “small lot” or “cuvee” style of winemaking also enables the winemaker to draw on an exceptionally broad “palette” to assemble wines that showcase classic character, subtle complexity and superb balance. As a result, every Kenwood Vineyards wine – whether Table Wine Series, Sonoma Series, Reserve, Jack London Vineyard or Artist Series – is consistent in quality and consistently delicious.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.