Kenwood Vineyards winemaker Mark Beaman joins Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger in the studio today on California Wine Country. The last time Kenwood Vineyards was on CWC was this episode of July 19, 2018, with the previous winemaker Pat Henderson.
Dan Berger has brought another cellar wine today for tasting, a 2002 Riesling. It shows how Rieslings can age well. They are fresh and fruity when they are young but they also age very well and this wine is a good example of that.
Mark Beaman begins by telling the story of Kenwood Vineyards. There have been vines on the property since 1906. He describes how the Pastore family made wine there until 1970. The wine library at Kenwood goes back to the 1970s. The present owner, Pernod-Ricard, purchased the property in 2014.
Of course, Mark has brought a Chardonnay. They open a Six Ridges Chardonnay, from Russian River AVA. It is a late ripening Chardonnay location. The wine has “big mineral character” and “racy acidity.” The acidity is strong enough to make a rich mid-palette and a wine that will go well with food.
The harvest this year seems late but Mark remembers other years beyond the last several years, with a similar timeline. This year reminds him of 2019 when he was picking Sonoma Valley Cabernet well into October It also reminds him of 2010.
From eastern Washington to Tanzania, Hawaii and Sonoma Co.
Mark Beaman grew up in agriculture in southeastern Washington. They grew alfalfa and wheat and had cattle. He went to college up there and got a degree in Geology. He joined the Peace Corps and lived in East Africa, in Tanzania, for about two and a half years, in a small village. He learned to speak Swahili. He also got introduced to fermentation science there, when he knew someone who made mead. After he came back, he worked for Columbia Crest winery “low on the totem pole.” They moved him to California, to a facility in Hopland. He learned viticulture and got into the laboratory. Then he worked for Parducci wines, making organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines.
After that, he decided it was time for another adventure, so he moved his young family to Hawaii where he made wine from both grapes and pineapple. He was there for close to three years. He enjoys the atmosphere of Sonoma County where there are a lot of other winemakers who share ideas and motivation. He liked it as a combination of the wildness of Mendocino and the pressures of Napa. He worked at Valley of the Moon winery, then Sebastiani, and now, since April, at Kenwood. He is also attracted to the great number of varietals grown in Sonoma County, since he loves to experiment.
Kenwood Vineyard is open seven days a week for tastings by reservation only, 10 am to 5 pm.