Just a few weeks ago, the Time for Wine team and I had the pleasure of meeting Kyle Janzen. Let me share a bit about Kyle, his family, and the delicious wines we tasted together.
Kyle hails from the Bacio Divino Cellars in Calistoga, Calinfornia. Meeting Kyle was a wonderful experience, to say the least. He has witnessed some excellent vintages in his young years working with his father and winemaker Claus Janzen. In case you aren’t aware, Claus Janzen is also known as the “Grape Whisperer”.
At a very early age, Kyle Janzen mastered the corkscrew and not long after, gained much more knowledge of wine from his father. Kyle admits that he inherited his parents’ love for a fine red. That’s no wonder, since he has been surrounded by wine all his life!
Kyle Janzen now is the spokesperson for the Bacio Divino winery. He has done everything from harvest to crush, blending to bottling.
Janzen Wines Have a History
It was Kyle’s father, Claus Janzen, that earned his stripe while the winemaker at the famous Caymus Winery. There, he helped make signature wines for the world to enjoy. Claus spent 12 years at Caymus helping the Wagner family create world-wide recognition for its cabernet sauvignon wines.
Because of all the knowledge he gained, Claus ventured out to make his own wines.
The Janzen family produces an assortment of wines, mostly of the cabernet sauvignon variety with a blend of Sangiovese. They also use other grape varietals, such as Petit Verdot and Merlot. Each wine certainly has its own unique characteristic.
Working out of prestigious vineyards in the east side of Napa Valley with Sherry’s Acres, Cloudy’s vineyard is high atop the valley and meadows. Kyle and Claus plant rows of each grape varietal and carefully watch for maturity and ripeness.
Kyle also works with another superb winemaker, Kirk Venge, who has been a consultant to the Janzen family for many years. Together, they have created several award-winning wines that have received Robert Parker’s rating of 90 to 94 Points. In other words, that’s a phenomenal score. It is the 2013 Janzen Cloudy’ s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon that earned a 92 rating. This cabernet has such great flavors and has an aging potential of 10 to 15 years!
All of the Janzen wines are aged in French oak barrels. Master craftsmanship goes into making these barrels, sourcing the premium wood from the Allier and Troncais forests.
The Delicious Wines We Tasted
No meeting with a winemaker is complete without wine tasting. Kyle Janzen and I tasted eight different wines, which ranged from chardonnay to cabernet. Personally, I was partial to the “reds to impress”.
In the Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, the resulting wine is infused with citrus aromas and rich meringue flavors. While crisp and clean, it is incredibly rich on the palate. The longer this chardonnay is open, the more infectious its appeal in aroma and flavor.
After that, we tasted a Pinot Noir that had rich cola aromas. Additionally, an abundance of pomegranate, cherry and plum aromas exude from the glass immediately after opening. Behind those primary notes, scents of baking spices and flowers escaped the glass.
Finally, I was treated to a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon from the To Kalon Vineyard, which is perhaps the best vineyard in all of Napa Valley. The soils, aspect, drainage, meticulous growing practices all have a part in the notability of this site. Wines from this vineyard are renowned for incredible delicacy, finesse and elegance. The Janzen Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon is infused with the vineyard’s signature minerality, red fruit and graphite. The 2013 vintage has aging potential for 25 years, and I can only imagine what the aged product would taste like! Due to my enjoyment, I have a bottle or two saved for aging.
In conclusion, it is clear that the Janzen family has an impressive commitment to make wines for everyone to enjoy. Furthermore, I commend the collectors for building a cellar to watch these wines improve in taste and quality.
I hope to carry many of the Janzen family wines at Time for Wine in the near future! In the meantime, try Kirk Venge’s 2014 Scouts Honor Red Blend today! This is a phenomenal California wine that you can’t miss out on.
Also, don’t forget to attend our next Teach n’ Taste event. Every event is a new and unique experience since we put our hearts into each one! Click below for our calendar!