A confident elegance and exquisite attention to detail enhance every aspect of Kenzo Estate Winery. It’s an ambiance that’s immediately apparent in the interweaving of owner Kenzo Tsujimoto’s refined Japanese aesthetic in harmony with the clean lines of the property’s Modern California architecture by Howard Backen (Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects).
The same subtle beauty manifests in the surrounding landscape designed by Lawrence Reed of the SWA Group, working with Shimoda Design International. Perched at 1,550 feet in a pristine Napa Valley setting where the air invigorates, the breathtaking property features an allée of mature olive trees in consort with a grassy meadow: An ordered example of the ways in which Reed’s design exhibits sensitivity and respect for the site.
Of the estate’s 4,000 acres overall, the vineyards total some 3 % of the land under the owner’s stewardship.
Guests are greeted with a glass of the winery’s refreshingly crisp Asatsuya Sauvignon Blanc, taking its name from the morning dew that appears like sparkling gems adorning this landscape on the slopes of Mt. George.
The Kenzo Estate tasting experience offers tantalizing food pairings from Bouchon, adding to your enjoyment when sipping the winery’s distinctive Rindo, Murasaki, and Ai wines.
You’ll discover the luscious reds Kenzo produces, while taking in the winery’s singular design; from the tasting room to the stunning caves, to thoughtful touches like the names of the wines etched on the glasses, and the creative foil closures at the top of each bottle — imprinted with the names so you’ll never need to lift a bottle once set in the wine rack.
Tasting the newly released 2008 wines revealed a quality of excellence to be savored. Kenzo’s delectable Cabernet blends are crafted by winemaker Heidi Barrett, from grapes grown in vineyards managed by David Abreu. The ’08 Murasaki — named for the royal ‘Purple’ in Japan– is a classic that will doubtless be all the more muscular when aged. Boasting a brilliant nose and color, it’s a racy blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with a soupçon of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.
The caves provide 20,000 square feet of space for the estate’s wines, aged in French oak barrels.
I expect I’ll be dreaming about Kenzo Estate’s Ai. The tasting left me with the memory of an unforgettable young Cab that can be tucked away and awaited with anticipation as it ages. Boasting an assured smoky tobacco balanced with rich bold fruit, the structure of Ai‘sCabernet Sauvignon blend is impressive.