Tasting the Wines of La Rochelle and Steven Kent
We’ve written about the Pinots of La Rochelle in the past, and now we’re back with a broader look at this winery’s production, including Chardonnay and Rose, plus one wine of its parent company, Steven Kent. Is this the beginning of a big uptick in quality from this unsung region (located out in the sticks, east of Oakland)? Livermore hasn’t been a significant region for wine to date, but good things are starting to percolate. Thoughts on Steven Kent and La Rochelle’s latest follow.
2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Anderson Valley Ferrington Vineyard – Crisp, with distinct pineapple notes and a very buttery nose. Really quite easygoing, but rich enough to stand up to food. Fun vanilla and gingerbread notes on the finish. A- / $65
2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands Rosella’s Vineyard – Bolder and big, very rich with a classic woody/buttery California structure. Stingy with the fruit, but a bit of citrus-inflected tartness shows up on the finish. B / $65
2011 La Rochelle Rose of Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands – Pinot-based roses are a rarity, and perhaps La Rochelle’s is a lesson in why. An enticingly fruity nose lends its way not to a lightly sweet summer wine but rather a massively intense acidic monster. Light berry notes in there, but it’s hefty lemon juice character that you get the most of. B- / $TBD
2009 La Rochelle Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Dutton Ranch Campbell Vineyard – Nice balance on this Pinot, with dark fruit and plenty of cinnamon and clove spice lacing the body. Quite tart, with a lingering and lightly sweet finish. A- / $48
2009 The Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley – An ultra-ripe Livermore Cab, bordering on overdone with raisin and prune overtones. Light menthol character on the nose, with notes of tea and cigar box. Pleasant and easy-drinking finish. B+ / $48