Finnish for “the hill,” Kukkula hails not from Scandinavia but from California’s Paso Robles region, where owner/winemaker Kevin Jussila has been organically dry-farming his estate for 16 years. Today we look at two Rhone-inspired reds from the 2018 vintage.
2018 Kukkula Aatto Red Wine Adelaida District – Aatto is Finish for “eye.” A blend of 45% counoise, 35% mourvedre, and 20% grenache. Highly unusual at the start, this wine kicks off with notes of raspberry and rhubarb, with gently green notes of olive, thyme, and some sage developing as the initial rush of fruit starts to fade. Mildly beefy on the finish, the wine continues to evolve with time in glass, offering a quietly balsamic finish and a reprise of fresh berries — albeit more blueberry than raspberry this time around. Elegant B+ / $60
2018 Kukkula Pas de Deux Red Wine Adelaida District – A blend of 59% grenache and 41% syrah. A more traditional Rhone-like experience, but not by a mile. Intensely meaty up front, the wine evokes notes of barbecued beef, an ample balsamic character, and tons of greenery in the form of thyme and some green pepper notes. Heavy and weighted down, the experience demands a bold food pairing to balance out its intensely tannic body. B- / $60