and 20 years in the making…
Last Friday we visited Kenzo Estate, Kenzo Tsujimoto’s newly debuted winery in Napa Valley. You may recognize Tsujimoto as the CEO of Japanese video-game publisher Capcom Co. (Street Fighter and Resident Evil). Tsujimoto has teamed up with winemaker Heidi Barrett (responsible for some of California’s most notable cult wines such as Screaming Eagle), esteemed vineyard manager David Abreu, as well as chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry. In fact, Kenzo Estate wines will be available in the U.S. exclusively at Thomas Keller restaurants.
Upon arrival at the Kenzo Estate tasting room, we were given a glass of the 2008 Asatsuyu, a Bordeaux style Sauvignon Blanc, to taste as we toured the wine caves and fermenting rooms. While I’m not a huge fan of Sauvignon Blanc, I thought this one was quite good, especially on a hot summer day – though I’m not sure it’s worth the $60 price tag.
Along with the usual stainless-steel fermenting tanks, Kenzo Estate also has a room full of experimental concrete vats which have not yet been used.
After the tour, we headed to the patio to continue our tasting and enjoy lunch catered by Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery.
We started with a cheese plate to accompany the wine…
Selection of local farm-fresh cheese with dried fruits, wildflower honey, and candied walnuts
Our overall opinion of the reds – we could tell that the vines were young (not much evidence of the fruit itself) which was offset with really good wine making. We think the vintages will be better in a few years – and we look forward to trying these wines again later.
2006 Ai, Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Murasaki, Proprietary Red Wine
2006 Rindo, Red Wine
Next came our sandwiches which did not disappoint. Bouchon Bakery is one of my favorite restaurants – Jeff and I can often be seen at the Columbus Circle location for brunch on the weekends. Our only complaints have been the location (basically in a mall) and that they don’t serve chips with the sandwiches – both were remedied at Kenzo Estate…
Location – beautiful vineyard in the hills of Napa Valley
Chips – fried in duck fat (yes, duck fat) – so good!
Tuna Nicoise on Palladin
Tuna salad, Bibb lettuce, red onions, black olive tapenade and aioli
Beef Brisket on Pretzel Brioche
Horseradish and Dijon aioli, red mustard greens, Fontina, house pickles and pickled red onions
And a beautiful view.
Definitely a great way to spend the afternoon.