Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kastania Vineyards - Wine Blog Wednesday #75

My post today happens to align with the theme of Wine Blog Wednesday #75: Single's night.  All of Kastania's wines are made on the same parcel of 5.3 acres.  So I think they are all single vineyard wines even if they don't have the label designation and inflated price.

Like most people driving through the Novato Narrows, I usually drive by Kastania Vineyards on the way to visit family or friends with every intention of stopping one day, when I'm not in a hurry, to try their wine. The funny thing about waiting until you have spare time to do something is, simply that, spare time doesn't really exist. So, I finally made the time and I'm so glad I did.

The Smith family bought the property in the 1860s and ran a dairy farm. In fact, the building that houses the winery was built in 1914 and was used as a dairy barn. In the latter half of the 20th century most of the land was sold, but the family retained a small portion and planted vineyards in 1995. The winery is named after the road that it is on.

Kastania is a very small boutique winery two miles north of the Marin-Sonoma border. The winery sits on the top of a small rolling hill with their 5.3 acre vineyard below the winery and bordering the highway. All of their wines are produced from this vineyard which is a part of the Sonoma Coast AVA.

The winery is owned and operated by Linda and Hoot Smith. They are a charming couple in their 50s and they take care of the tasting room, cellar, and winery operations. They started selling their grapes in 1997 to Landmark, but after a few years they decided to make their own wine. They hired a consultant winemaker, Leslie Sisneros, and now they make about a thousand cases of wine a year.

When I went they poured five Pinots (three estate 2006-2008 and two reserves 2007 & 2008) and an interesting cool climate Bordeaux-style blend. The estates are $35 each, the reserves are $45, the blend is $38, and the tasting fee is $5. All their wines are on the lighter side, unfined, unfiltered, and aged in french oak barrels. The Pinot reserves are about 40% new oak and the Pinot estates are about 20% new oak. The estates have a fruit forward profile while the reserves have tobacco and leather notes in addition to the fruits and spices.

A couple cool things about a winery of this size is not only do you get to know the people who are making the wine, but you also get to try vertical flights. Vertical flights are the same wine from different years which is a good way to understand the (overused) word terroir and the differences of vintages.

Read on for a selection of my tasting notes:

The 2008 Kastania Pinot Noir Estate Jaden & Keira's Cuvee (named after their grandchildren) is almost rosé-like in color and flavor profile. It has aromas of strawberry, vanilla, raspberry, and a slight mushroom notes. My tongue was enveloped with strawberries, watermelon and cherry cream soda. This is a crisp Pinot.

The 2007 Kastania Pinot Noir, Estate Proprietor's Reserve is a long name for a wine. This is my favorite wine of theirs. The wine's nose had notes of cigar tobacco, mushroom, forest floor, leather, and cherry. The cherry yielded to raspberry and vanilla as the wine got more time in the glass. The cherry and mushroom flavors carried through to the palate where they were joined by tobacco, vanilla, cloves, and other spices. The finish is of a medium length and the low amount of tannins are nice and soft.

The 2008 Kastania Proprietor's Blend is 63% Cab Franc and 37% Cab Sauvignon. This is my second favorite wine of theirs. The nose exhibited dark cherries, vanilla, cloves, and cinnamon. On my palate, I tasted cola, dark cherries, black pepper, vanilla, earth, oak, cinnamon, boysenberry, and herbaceous notes. The finish is long and fruit forward. The tannins start out soft and move into a slight astringency and gravely mouth feel. There is a good level of acid that should help the wine age for 3-7 years. I find it odd that a cool climate Cab blend is lacking in capsicum, menthol, and eucalyptus flavors which usually plague cool climate Cabs.  I guess that is a matter of great vineyard management which is much easier with a tiny vineyard.

Kastania Vineyards
4415 Kastania Rd
Petaluma, CA 94952
(707) 763-6348
Tasting Hrs: Sat & Sun 11am - 4pm


  1. I always see Kastania on my way up to Sonoma wine country and have been curious about them. Next time I will have to stop by. Thanks for the review.

    1. I highly recommend it, but be careful crossing the freeway when you are headed north.

  2. The days sure go by so fast. My red wines that are aged for so long now looks like much tastier now. It's 6 years now since I decided not to drink them.