August 9, 2012

L’Ordre Mondial Event
Calgary Petroleum Club

Kenwood-Jack London Cabernet Sauvignon Vertical Tasting

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Patricia Koyich, Vice Echanson

Members of l’Ordre Mondial and their guests were privileged to attend a vertical tasting of Kenwood-Jack London Cabernet Sauvignon, under the direction of Vice-Echanson Patricia Koyich,  hosted by General Manager Ted Clouthier, and Food Service Manager Toni-Marie Ion-Brown of the Calgary Petroleum Club.

Patricia Koyich’s background notes on the wines were very informative, and are presented here:

“Jack London discovered the charms of the Sonoma Valley in 1903, the same year Call of the Wild, the book that established his reputation, was published. He first came to the Valley to court Charmian Kittredge.  When he and Charmian married in 1905, he purchased the beautiful Hill Ranch where his dream home the Wolf House was built.  “Several of the author’s later books were written at Beauty Ranch, including Burning Daylight and The Valley of the Moon.

During London’s frequent travels, London’s stepsister, Eliza Shepard, managed Beauty Ranch. Upon his untimely death in 1916 at age 40, she took over management full-time. The vineyard and hayfield were left fallow due to World War I and the advent of Prohibition, but Shepard and her descendants kept Beauty Ranch largely intact until 1959, four years after Charmian London’s death, when the family donated land for establishment of Jack London State Park.

In 1972, Eliza Shepard’s son Irving, who had taken over responsibility for the ranch upon her death, and his son, Milo, planted Jack London Vineyard, which remains under family ownership. A substantial percentage of the vineyard was established on the old terraces London built. The superb quality of the first Cabernet Sauvignon vintage motivated neighboring Kenwood Vineyards to enter an exclusive agreement to purchase the grapes from Jack London Vineyard.

Jack London Cabernet Sauvignon, with a label featuring London’s “Wolf” bookplate logo, debuted with the 1976 vintage. As new grape plantings reached maturity, Kenwood Vineyards produced additional Jack London Vineyard bottlings: Jack London Zinfandel was introduced with the 1987 vintage, Jack London Merlot with the 1990 vintage and Jack London Syrah with the 2002 vintage.

Today, Kenwood Vineyards continues the ongoing relationship with the Jack London Vineyard continually evolving farming and harvesting practices to achieve optimal grape quality in the wines that bear its name. Now fully planted, the vineyard encompasses 72 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 32 acres of Zinfandel, 15 acres of Merlot and 5 acres of Syrah. The superb quality of Jack London Vineyard wines has made them both consistent medal winners at wine competitions and among the most successful single-vineyard series in California wine history.

Since 1976, Kenwood® Vineyards has been the exclusive producer of wines from the historic lava-terraced vineyards of the famous Jack London Ranch, located on the western slope of Sonoma Valley in Glen Ellen, California. Award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot and Syrah wines are produced from these unique red-lava soil vineyards, first planted in the late 1800’s. The dramatic wolf head logo on the bottle has created tremendous consumer interest and recognition for the wines. The wolf head was Jack London’s bookplate logo for many of his novels and is used to embellish the character of these unique wines.”

Patricia led us in tasting each of the wines, eloquently comparing them to people one might meet at a party.  Some might be elderly and past their social prime; or they might be well-preserved and lively yet.  Some might be young and brash and better company sometime in the future.  The best would be well-rounded, interesting, creating a pleasant conversation on the nose and palate, contributing to the ambiance of food, company, and environment.  Tasters were encouraged to find their own favorites, and enjoy them with the excellent meal, prepared by Excutive Chef Liana Robberecht, which followed the formal tasting.

Dungeness Crab and Chive
Poached Apple
Crisped Aged Cheddar
Kenwood – Sauvignon Blanc – 2010

Mixed Grill of
Duck Confit Taco, Grilled Lamb Chop
Smoked Beef & Wild Mushroom Sausage
Kenwood – Jack London Cabernet Sauvignon – 2006

Chocolate Pâté
Zinfandel Reduction
Nut Brittle
Kenwood – Jack London Zinfandel – 2009

The Petroleum Club kindly provided a draw prize, won by Norma Seto, which was the winner’s choice from the evening’s wine selections.  We are grateful for the gracious hospitality of The Petroleum Club, and applaud their expertise and generosity.


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