A Conversation and Tasting with Steven Kent Mirassou
We met with vintner Steven Kent Mirassou at his winery in Livermore and spent an hour with him tasting and discussing his wines. Steven Kent Mirassou is the 6th generation of the Mirassou Family to make wine in California. Steven has two wineries side by side in the Livermore Valley, La Rochelle Winery and the Steven Kent Winery.
At the La Rochelle Winery, the focus is Pinot Noir. This has been somewhat a carry-over project after the family sold the Monterey County Mirassou Winery to the Gallo Family in 2002. None of the La Rochelle Pinot Noir comes from the Livermore wine region. All the grapes for the varied lineup of wines come from the cool climate areas of Anderson Valley, Carneros, Monterey and the like.
The Steven Kent Winery is all about Bordeaux varietals, estate grown in their Livermore vineyards. Steven Kent Mirassou has a passion for Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux Blends. His mission as a winemaker at Steven Kent is to make “the best Cabernet Sauvignon wine and Bordeaux Blend in the world.” He is not slightly hesitant about his commitment to accomplish this lofty goal.
Listen to Steven in this two-minute video as he talks about Livermore as the ideal wine region for Bordeaux grapes and about his quest to make the best Cabernet and Bordeaux blend.
We tasted five wines, three from La Rochelle, the Steven Kent Premier Cabernet and the Bordeaux blend, Lineage. The La Rochelle sparkling wine is 100% Pinot Noir and delicious from start to finish. It’s the type of sparkling wine one longs for at an outdoor wedding or event. It’s fruity and enticing in the mouth!
We tasted two high-end Pinot Noir wines side-by-side, one from Carneros, the other from the Santa Lucia Highlands. Both of these wines are excellent and well made, elegant in the mouth, and thrilling wines indeed in our estimation. The Carneros had more spice, while Santa Lucia was loaded with red fruit flavors. These wines are at the expensive end of the scale, each priced at $75. Although both delicious, we would choose the Santa Lucia Highlands over the Carneros.
Now to the Cabernet and the Lineage wines. These are both 2010 vintages. The Premier Cab is 100% Cabernet from the best four barrels of the Cabernet 2010 vintage. The juice comes from three different estate vineyards made up of three different clones of Cabernet. The wine is aged in French oak. The Lineage is a Bordeaux blend with 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, the rest Cab Franc, Merlot, and a small amount of Petite Verdot and Malbec. Both the Cabernet and Lineage are splendid wines with great complexity and an elegant feel in the mouth. It is what I would expect from wines costing $100 and $140, respectively. Since we don’t often drink wines above the $50 range, it is difficult to compare these wines to others in this price range. They are very popular at the winery, where they are sold mostly to wine club members.
Time will tell if Steven Kent Mirassou will achieve his dream of making the best Cabernet and the best Bordeaux blend in the world. This will be an interesting adventure to follow and we will keep tabs.