David Lawrason’s Weekly Wine Pick: a cabernet lover’s cab from Jack London’s vineyard
Kenwood 2009 Jack London Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
$37.95 | Sonoma Valley, California | 91 points
The French have a great term for certain wines that draw you contemplatively into their world: vins de meditation. Kenwood’s Jack London Vineyard Cabernet has always drawn me in that way, summoning a powerful image of the Call of the Wild author writing away in the cabin atop the hill where this vineyard was first planted in the 1860s. The wine itself has this kind of outdoorsy, tough ambiance as well—I strongly suspect it fuelled some of his evenings at the desk.
The taste: This is a cab lover’s cab—not as smooth as many California editions, perhaps, but packed with flavour. It’s fairly deep, thick and sinewy, with a mountainy nose of black currants, garrigue and background oak spice. Not very graceful or engaging, but it has structure in spades. Loads of tannin, but with excellent currant fruit depth.
How to drink it: It’s a wine that most will want to age for about five years to soften its edges. But if you decant for a couple of hours, serve it in large and tall stemware and plan a roast lamb, it will deliver now as well. Make sure to serve it just below room temperature.