Rae’s Place WotW Dec. 16th 2019

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Kuleto “India Ink” Red Blend 2016 Lake County, California

Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Merlot


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Wine of the week:

We decided to pick a big red blend for this last full week before Christmas and Hanukkah. With wet, cold weather on its way, this rich, hedonistic blend of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Merlot is dark in color and loaded with black fruits with a dense palate. This is a wine that will stand up to any of the well known California red blends and will hopefully save you a few bucks.

Notes from the winery:

The beaten path? It ends a few miles west of Kuleto Estate. We are secluded deep in the wild solitude of eastern Napa. Our vineyards are scattered along the steep hillsides and windblown ridges above the valley floor. Our wines are no different than their surroundings. While the song may sound familiar, the interpretation is solely our own. Our mountaintop estate is one of the most complex and diverse wine producing properties in the world. It is from this estate that the inspiration for our ‘Curious Blends’ come.


 At Kuleto, blocks and varieties are harvested in the order that they ripen. Nothing unusual there. But instead of waiting for enough of a particular variety to ripen fully for the sake of having a pure tank or lot, we combine whatever fruit happens to be perfectly ripe at the moment. While co-fermentation of different varieties has not been the default protocol in the New World, it is intuitive and natural. It’s also the genesis of our multi-varietal blends.

 Curious Blends:

 Our blends are in essence three distinct interpretations of red wine. One Rhone style, one classic and Bordeaux-like, the other ‘Cal-Ital’. Beyond showcasing terroir and varieties, they give our winemaker, John Clews, a chance to express his own artistic vision of these three styles. By mixing grapes from different locations, John can create wines that are deep, lush, complex and wonderfully individualistic.

 India Ink:

 This blend is made for pure indulgence. India Ink is rich, full, oak driven and hedonistic. Selecting barrels and wine lots revolves around creating a blend that is deep purple in color, loaded with blue-black fruit aromas, and is meaty, rich and powerful on the palate. It exudes fresh red fruit and spice with hints of smoke and earth reminiscent of a once inhabited cave. These aromas continue to the palate, where blue and black fruits are complemented by hints of black pepper and dark chocolate. Pair India Ink with a grilled steak and vegetables.

 Tasting Notes:

 Kuleto “India Ink” Red Blend 2016 Lake County, California

Petit Syrah, Zinfandel, Merlot

This is a massive red blend. The winemaker here is specifically looking for blue and black fruit with lots of concentration and a rich, velvety texture. The wine rests for 17 months in French and American oak so the tannins are ever present and there’s just enough acidity to keep the wine in balance. This red pushes the edges of big.

 Pair with roasted and grilled meats or vegetables. Feel free to add a big sauce or gravy, this wine can handle it.


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I'm a certified specialist of wine and spirits with almost 20 years in the industry. I've educated sales teams, wine buyers and customers on wine profiles, wine regions, varietals, pairings and much more. I'm now working with wholesalers and importers to bring the best wines possible to my customers.