It's always a good time in the bar when Randy Lewis comes by to pour. With wife Debbie on hand as well, customers flocked to K&L yesterday for a chance to taste wine with the couple. Randy was a professional Indy 500 race car driver for more than 23 years before hanging it up for the cellar. Since 1992, the Lewis family (also with son Dennis chipping in) have been making some of the most serious wines in Napa. They source fruit from Calistoga, St. Helena, Rutherford and Oak Knoll for their red varietals and the Chardonnay comes from Oak Knoll, Carneros, and Russian River Valley. Below are some of the expressions you can find at K&L and that were on display at the tasting:
2009 Lewis Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $79.99 - 2009's long, cool growing season produced low yields of concentrated, fragrant berries with high natural acidity in the hillside vineyards of Calistoga and Oak Knoll that are the source for Lewis' Napa Valley Cabernet, resulting in a perfumed and complex wine with incredible finesse. Though still powerful and rich in the signature Lewis style, elegance and refinement displace the brawn of past vintages.The nose leads with scents of blackcurrant, rose petal, and baking spice, accented by hints of savory herbs, forest floor, and toasty oak. This leads to a rich yet refined palate, where layers of juicy fruit and oak spice are framed by acidity and fine tannins. Graphite and hints of cocoa lightly dust the lingering tannins, as the wine finishes clean and surprisingly light on its feet.
2009 Lewis Cellars "Ethan's" Napa Valley Syrah $42.99 - 94 points from Wine Spectator Insider: "Intense and distinctive for its meaty, gamy, spice and fresh earth character, trim yet rich, with a lively, vibrant pace as the flavors unfold; full-bodied, yet ending with a mix of subtle fruit, mineral and spice notes that glide on. Drink now through 2022." (Nov. 30, 2011) This is the first vintage of "Ethan's" Syrah since 2005, but it's worth the wait. The wine has a beautiful black raspberry and lavender-scented nose, with subtler aromas of anise, violets and bacon that translate to the generous palate. Briary red and black fruits in the mouth are wrapped in a blanket of vanilla, nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon. All the components are focused and integrated, supported by ripe but firm tannins that linger with the spice on the finish.
2010 Lewis Cellars Sonoma Chardonnay $44.99 - Sourced from some of the oldest Dutton Ranch plantings in the Russian River Valley, you never know what to expect with the Lewis Sonoma Chardonnay bottling, but you know it will be good. According the the Lewises, "record cool temperatures during the early 2010 growing season pushed picking dates later than any vintage since 1998, and it was worth the wait." The prolonged cool growing season yielded fruit of tremendous aromatic complexity and ageing potential. The nose reveals layers of citrus tones, evolving from lemon to orange and back, with floral highlights and exotic spice undertones. The palate is lush and textured, with intensifying citrus flavors and a buttery creaminess that is balanced by high acidity and mineral edge in the finish.
For more Lewis wine selections visit our main website. For more information concerning future Friday night tastings, check the local events schedule by clicking the link on the right margin of this page.