Kenneth Volk Vineyards2004 Chardonnay, Bien Nacido Vineyard, U Block
(Santa Maria Valley)
Winemaker Ken Volk has had a tremendous influence on the Central Coast wine scene.
He founded Wild Horse Winery way back in 1981 and was a tremendous advocate for Paso
Robles wines for over two decades. In 2003, however, he sold Wild Horse to Jim Beam Wine
Estates and set about refurbishing the original Byron Winery in the Santa Maria Valley, where
he’s downsized his production to a boutique-like 16,000 cases, under his new label, Kenneth
Drawing from Bien Nacido Vineyard (just up the road from his new winery), this unique, single vineyard, single block Chardonnay shows green pippin apple, ripe pear and toasted cereal grains on the nose. Sweet green apple fruit flavors with wet stones/minerals as its partner is apparent but not overpowering. A sweet spot of fruit forms on mid palate but is complimented by flinty minerality, really expressing the terroir of the vineyard block. Oh, did I mention, it’s elegant and almost understated in a way; the same way it would pair with sushi or simply grilled fish.
Reviewed January 25, 2007 by Dennis Schaefer.
Dennis Schaefer has been tasting and writing about wine for over 30 years, propelled by a continuing curiosity and burgeoning enthusiasm for discovering what’s in the bottle. Blessed with catholic tastes, he enjoys everything from the obvious to the sublime. A major requirement is that the vineyard, winery and winemaker consistently perform well and fulfill their potential. Balance, concentration and complexity are key to the tasting experience but, in the end, the purpose of wine is simply to give pleasure.