Kivelstadt Cellars can be found in Sonoma, where it has a focus on carbonically macerated wines, bottled under the “KC Labs” label. Carbonic maceration involves a type of fermentation in which oxygen is removed from the sealed tank and replaced with carbon dioxide. This launches a type of fermentation that leads to lighter style wines with lower tannins and, notably, less alcohol. All the wines reviewed here come in under 13% abv.
Let’s give the trio a try.
2020 Kivelstadt Cellars KC Labs Syrah Mendocino Venturi Vineyard – This Mendocino-born wine doesn’t strike me immediately as syrah, offering notes of tart cherry and spice, although a backdrop of beef jerky tips the scales in the direction of this inimitable grape. A slight sweetness gives the wine a bit of pop, with a strong note of dark chocolate and plum aggressive on the finish. The tannins here are muted, but present, with hints of black pepper and a slight citrus edge lingering on the conclusion. Fun stuff, for sure. B+ / $27
2019 Kivelstadt Cellars KC Labs Sonomasuolo North Coast – An unusual 50-50 blend of pinot noir and zinfandel. Sure enough, it does evoke the combination perfectly, with bright cherry fruit up front backed by a density that gives it a certain heartiness and punch. The richer, chocolate-laced fruit that’s iconic to zin makes an appearance as the wine’s character builds in the glass, a gentle tannin and a reprise of sweet cherry candy lingering on the finish. Not overly complex, but plenty of fun. B+ / $27
2020 Kivelstadt Cellars KC Labs Zinfandel Venturi Vineyard – Light-bodied zinfandel is a paradox, and this wine is about as gossamer as they come, drinking like, well, I don’t know what. Beaujolais? The fruit here feels candied, a mix of strawberry and raspberry, with a Hi-C element to the finish. Gone before you ever knew what you drank. B- / $27