Must-Try Wine of Week: 2000 Kalin Cellars Livermore Valley Semillon

“No wine before its time” is the motto at Kalin Cellars, founded in 1977 in Marin County by microbiologists Dr. Terry Leighton and his spouse Dr. Frances Leighton. The Leightons believe that because of the style of their winemaking, the wines are not ready to drink for at least five years, and then some.

They follow no set vintage sequence, which is unheard of in their business. The wines are released to the market when they decide they taste good, often 10 years after the vintage. In essence, then, every wine that is released is a library wine. So, 2000 is not a misprint, it’s the current release of this wine.

The semillon grapes are sourced from old vines planted in the 1880s from Chateau d’Yquem cuttings at the Wente Estate Vineyard in Livermore. Semillon is the grape found in French sauternes as well as white Bordeaux.

The wine, golden-yellow in color and moderately rich, was aged 10 months in French oak barrels, and is 75 percent semillon, and 25 percent sauvignon blanc. It offers appealing aromas of pear, butterscotch and vanilla custard, and delicious flavors of ripe tropical fruits, apricots, roasted nuts, and honey. The mouth feel is viscous and sensuous. Fully mature, and drinking at is apogee, this dry wine can easily age another 10 years.

Semillon pairs well with spicy food such as Szechwan shrimp lettuce wraps, pork or chicken satay, and richer sauced fish and shellfish dishes.

It’s available for about $30 at Bristol Farms stores in Orange County, and Bristol Farms also stocks the 1995 Cuvèe LV Sonoma Chardonnay and 1999 Cuvèe DD Sonoma Pinot Noir, both current Kalin Cellars releases.

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