Calistoga, Napa Valley
“Kenefick Ranch sits on some of the most remarkable land in the Napa Valley” Napa Valley Register
Winery: A well-respected grower, Kenefick Ranch Winery uses only ten percent of what they grow. The Ranch sells fruit to Caymus, Eisele, Nickel & Nickel, Cade, B Cellars, Elizabeth Spencer, Venge, La Sirena and several others. Originally planted in the 1800s, it is owned by retired neurosurgeon Dr. Thomas Kenefick, and his children Caitlin and Chris Kenefick. After the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Kenefick practiced neurosurgery in San Francisco for decades. Due to family farming connections, he was drawn to Napa Valley in the 1970s, purchasing the ranch in 1978 when it was still plowed by horse. His scientific background ideally suited him for the biology and chemistry used in successful growing and winemaking.
Estate Vineyard: Located by the dramatic Calistoga Palisades, the 125 planted acres include gently sloped, steeply sloped and flatter blocks of varying soils. Managed by the Garcia family for decades, their crew meticulously farms fruit of extremely high quality, using removal of cluster wings, de-clumping bunches growing too close together, adjusting cluster-shading, quick replacement of ailing vines, canopy management and other methods. The warm terroir naturally produces clusters smaller than Napa Valley floor, yet larger than mountain clusters, ripening earlier, reflect minerality from the volcanic soil and creates grapes with higher natural acidity and tannic structure. The vineyard is farmed sustainably, certified both as Fish Friendly and Napa Green Certified.
Winemaking: Style reflects the warm and volcanic terroir, producing age-worthy, and often concentrated wines that reveal gorgeous aromatics and layered flavors. Kent Jarman left Duckhorn in 2006 to join Robbie Meyer in making Kenefick Ranch wines and later became the sole Winemaker. Stating that he tries to “let the wines and the property speak for themselves,” he employs hand-picking and sorting in the vineyard, 4-6 people at the sorting table, use of native yeasts, longer cold soaks, and higher fermentation temperatures to achieve balance and complexity. Reds are cold-soaked for 4 days, and aerated with pump-overs twice daily during the 14 day fermentation.
Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Kenefick Ranch Estate, Calistoga, Napa Valley
Winemaker Notes: “to the crisp grapefruit side of things, showing those tangy and tropical notes we love so much for this SB.” Primarily Bordeaux clones, with yields of just over 3 tons/acre, harvest starting mid-August. Native yeast-fermented in 10% once-used French oak, 90% neutral, aged sur lee for 6 months. No new oak. Their 2015 SB was in Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Wines of the World. 350 cases
Picket Road White Rhone Blend 2016, Kenefick Ranch Estate, Calistoga, Napa Valley
Winemaker Notes: “Aromatics of anise notes, floral essence, honeydew melon, and citrus blossoms. All of this is underlined by a rich grapefruit, white peach presence on the entry. A creamy middle palate supported by a crisp finish.” A blend of 60% Grenache Blanc, 30% Marsanne, 10% Viognier, native yeast fermented in neutral French oak, aged sur lee for 6 months. Ages quite well. No new oak. 192 cases.
Merlot 2017, Calistoga, Napa Valley
92 Points, Galloni: “A dense, potent wine that shows all of the muscle so typical of this site and the wines of Calistoga more broadly. Black cherry, licorice, chocolate, cloves and a range of more savory inflections all shape this deep, beautifully resonant Merlot.” This is a Cabernet- Drinker’s Merlot. Harvested early September from 3 tons/acre, blended with 12% Petite Verdot. 18 months in 70% New French oak. 175 cases.
Cabernet Franc “Caitlin’s Select” 2017, Calistoga, Napa Valley
93 Points, Galloni: “Dark, fleshy and wonderfully resonant. A very pretty wine that will drink well with minimal cellaring. Inky blue and purplish fruit, spice, licorice, lavender and mint all wrap around the palate in a juicy, open-knit red with a ton of appeal.” From yields under 3 tons per acre, blended with 9% Merlot and 9% Petite Verdot. Aged 18 months in 65% new French oak, then bottle aged for 1 year. 400 cases.
Petite Verdot Blend “Picket Road Red” 2017, Calistoga, Napa Valley New Vintage
Winemaker Notes: “Elements of fresh berry preserve, spicy French oak notes of vanilla bean, and fresh cream. Intense but fine tannins underline tamarind, tart boysenberry, and the finish is extensive. This will age beautifully!.” 63% Petite Verdot, blended with 25% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc from 3.1 tons/acre yields. Aged 18 months in 70% new French oak, then bottle-aged for 2 years. 200 cases.
Cabernet Sauvignon “Chris’s Cuvee” 2018, Calistoga, Napa Valley
95 Points, Galloni: “The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Chris’s Cuvée captures all of the intensity of this Calistoga site. Black fruit, leather, licorice, smoke, grilled herbs and chocolate all build in the glass. Ample and resonant, with tremendous richness the 2018 is positively stellar.” From yields of 2.5 tons/acre, blended with 10% Petite Verdot. Aged 18 months in 75% new French oak, and aged 1 year before release. 500 cases.
Cabernet Sauvignon “Doctor’s Cuvee” 2014, Calistoga, Napa Valley
93+ Points, Galloni: “Powerful and very well balanced for a wine of its size. Smoke, incense, dried flowers and dark red-toned stone fruits.”100% Cabernet Sauvignon, only 2.1 tons/acre from the tiny berries grown in the Clone 6 block, never sold to other wineries. 75 cases made.
Bordeaux Style Blend “Founder’s Reserve” 2015, Calistoga NEW
96 Points, Galloni: “A total knock-out. Flowers, mint, raspberry jam and mocha infuse this super-expressive Bordeaux blend. Soft contours and silky tannins, fruit forward. A tremendous showing.” This Reserve Level wine long envisioned by Dr. Kenefick is 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Petite Verdot, 21% Merlot, 15% Malbec and 12% Cabernet Franc, from only 2.5 tons/acre. Aged in 80% new French oak for 2 years. 75 cases.