Kunin are one of a new breed of winemakers in California, inspired by the wines of the Rhône Valley in France and making wines from some special vineyards in cooler climate regions such as Santa Barbara, which is where Kunin are based. Seth Kunin founded the winery after a career in the restaurant industry and it was Santa Barbara that he fell in love with, the region that inspired him to become a winemaker. This wine is inspired by the great (and somewhat underrated) white wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and is made from Grenache Blanc and Roussanne.
White Rhone is unique
There really isn’t anywhere consistently making wines like the whites from the Rhône Valley. These super age worthy whites are oily, rich, weighty, are relatively low in acidity, age forever, becoming increasingly complex over time. They often go through a midlife crisis as they evolve from young and fruity to golden and honeyed and they can be beautifully creamy and indulgent.
California is very well suited
While many Californian winemakers are eschewing the status quo, there is still an overriding philosophical desire for rich, extracted wines with high alcohol - wines with those textural qualities highlighted above - rich, creamy, viscous. To achieve this, vignerons leave the grapes on the vine a little longer, which increases the sugars, and decreases the acidity in the grapes. This is the ideal way to grow grapes for Rhône style white wines.
Couple the above with this phenomenal, cool AVA and you have a recipe for exciting wines. Santa Barbara is one of the great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir regions in the world, but also for aromatic, smoky, fine Syrah wines in the slightly hotter areas. Where Syrah grows well, Rhône white varieties often do so too - Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, and this is certainly true of Santa Barbara, albeit most winemakers there aren’t focussing on these varietals. So what you have here are the conditions, the philosophy, the desire, the inspiration and the grapes to make an exciting white.
This is seriously impressive and pays compliment to both great white Rhône and cool climate Santa Barbara. Like its French inspiration, this is a highly textural wine, full bodied and a little viscous. Its flavours are soft, delicate and very pretty, with creamy white peach and tinned pear leading a subtle floral aromatic. It's mineral too, not sweet at all, and finishes fresh and clean. It's a thing of elegance and beauty. If you want a white with generosity, warmth and delicate complexity then this is the one for you.