Browse Tag



Kalin 1997 Sauvignon Blanc “Reserve” (Potter Valley) – The opposite of fresh, and I mean that as a compliment. The entire metals section of the periodic table might be in evidence here. Such concentration, force, and presence…and yet, edging just up to the border of what the wine’s balance will tolerate, and no more. Dissipates into a liquid dust as it finishes. The only negative is a butterscotched character that lingers as a bagpipe drone through the breadth of the experience. But there’s so much else to like that it’s easy to accept, though not ignore. (7/10)


Kalin 1994 Chardonnay “Cuvée LD” (Sonoma County) – Bronzing in both hue and flavor; kinda like drinking a copper-colored sunset haze as the brown aromatics of a fall day rise from the cooling ground. Yet it’s a warm wine…balanced, but full, and with a more than decent finish. As it airs, ripe spiced apricot and fierce (but still welcome) acidity take over, and there’s a constant undercurrent of minerality. Nothing’s out of place, and this has aged very well. (1/10)

Kalin me softly

Kalin 1997 Sauvignon Blanc “Reserve” (Potter Valley) – Malic, then buttery, then thick with well-salted tan soil and lush apricot cream. More anonymous than these wines usually are, but it must be said that among the whites I generally prefer chardonnay and semillon from this house. Here, not everything on the structural side is entirely where it should be. (12/09)

Long distance

Kalin 1994 Chardonnay “Cuvée LD” (Sonoma County) – The argument against the ageability of California chardonnay is, unfortunately, well-supported by the preponderance of the evidence. There are exceptions, of course, and none are more inexplicably absent from the conversation as Kalin. (Actually, perhaps not “inexplicably,” as this is a winery that doesn’t exactly court fame and marketability.) Beautifully mature, and while this will almost certainly (based on past vintages’ performance) hold longer, I don’t think there’s much reason to wait. A mélange of stone fruit and citrus has integrated into a thready core of complexity, around which are wrapped layers of tan minerality, pollen, and the memory of spice. An absolutely terrific wine at peak. (8/09)


Kalin 1997 Pinot Noir “Cuvée DD” (Sonoma County) – There just aren’t many California wines made like this, and for my tastes that’s a shame. Soft, mossy earth and well-aged red fruit, black truffle, and crushed flowers…not Burgundian, exactly, but this is the sort of thing people mean when they lend a California pinot noir that characterization. I’d drink this now despite a slight grate and chop to the structure (mostly lingering tannin, though acid plays a role as well), which keeps this from being among the top Kalins I’ve tasted. That said, it’s very good. (9/09)


Kalin 1987 Pinot Noir “Cuvée DD” (Sonoma County) – Beautifully structured, with crisp red fruit in reserve, and a fine foundation of brown earth and morel. Mostly, though, it’s about the structure at the moment. (2/08)

Livermore or less

Kalin 1996 Semillon (Livermore Valley) – While it takes a while to get going, this wine is as funky and fascinating as usual; wax and candlelight, old melon and spice remnant, brass and bronze. It’s not particularly aggressive, and in fact this isn’t the best bottle of this wine I’ve had; perhaps it grew tired somewhere along the way, or perhaps something made it tired before its time. But if there’s one producer that no one ever believes is New World no matter how it’s blind-tasted, this is it. (4/08)