Jason Kunde from Kunde Family Winery joins Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger in the studio today on California Wine Country. Jason’s father Jeff was a guest on California Wine Country on this episode back on May 31, 2017.
Dan Berger has brought another bottle from his gigantic collection, but this time not from the cellar, because he has just bought it. It is a 2022 Riesling, from Donnhoff in Germany that has some residual sugar, but the wine is not sweet. It has that slate aroma with dried pear and other fruits that Dan likes in this wine. Riesling doesn’t take a lot of time in the bottle, necessarily, but if you lose some bottles in your cellar and let it age, Riesling can reward you with magnificent flavors. It comes from the Nahe region, which is a new Riesling production zone. It is available at Bottle Barn at a very favorable price.
One of the oldest vineyards in California
There have been grapes on the property since the mid 1800s. The first vines that were identified were probably around 1850 and the first Cabernet produced anywhere in the United States that was recognized from a single property dates from 1877, says Dan. The Drummond family was the wealthiest family in the region and they produced the Dunfillan Cabernet. The movie Bottle Shock, about the 1976 Judgement of Paris, was filmed on the Dunfillan property, although the story takes place in France.
Jason has brought a Chardonnay, which they all agree is “bright.” He also brought a reserve Chardonnay. The first is a 2021 Sonoma Valley Chardonnay. Served at room temperature this wine shows a beautiful expansive mid-palette. If chilled, it would have a different flavor.
The Kunde Estate
The Kunde property is a beautiful estate and Jason knows he is fortunate. He is happy now that his parents made him work all the time and learn each aspect of the operation. His house was 100 yards from the vineyard. He and his brother would play roller hockey in the wine cave. To play they would turn off all the power and the game was flashlight tag. The game was also to elude the staff who came to get them for making trouble.
They did want each sibling to get some experience outside the family company. He worked for two wineries in Calistoga. When he came back, he had some experience to offer.
Dan describes the Kunde property, 750 contiguous acres of great looking vineyards, beautifully farmed. Dan notes that it is consistent from block to block. Dan’s compliment is that they are a family of farmers who later got into wine. They sell about 70% of their grapes on contract and they keep about 30% to make their own wine. Many of their wines are made in small lots and are only available in the tasting room. The black label 2021 Reserve Chardonnay that they are tasting is a good example of that.