Kiler Grove, the little Salt Lake City winery that could. Michael and Elva Knight began their winery in the year 2000 in California. They focus on making Rhone style wines from grapes they grown near Paso Robles, California. They moved their business HQ to Salt Lake in late 2010 and opened up soon after that. Here in Salt Lake they ferment and bottle the wine on site, all of which has been very impressive to us. It could have easily been the other way around. But “Utah’s first urban winery” makes deliciously dark, highly structured, and easily quaffable wines that tell a tale of finesse and extravagance at less than half the price of an equivalent (quality) bottle from the Rhone valley.
The 2007 “Zinergy” is 75% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah, and 5% Grenache. We found that the zinfandel gave this wine a mellow glow, the petite sirah lent the infallible spice and and tannic tenacity, while the grenache gave that little extra something, not unlike the overall sensation of umami, to the entire blend. During a talk I had with Michael Knight at the winery, he briefly discussed the grenache percentage. He experimented with the mix greatly, finding that any more than 5% lent a distinct lack of palatability to the wine (like a rusticity, I gathered) while striping the grenache away entirely left the wine feeling cold and lacking a rounded finish.
Grenache (or, Tinto Aragonés, having originally come from Aragon, Spain) is the most widely planted wine grape in the world. It has a reputation for being a sweet and mild grape au lieu of being acidic or tannic. Many wines in the Rhone region use a grenache as their prominent grape, often leading to 80% and above mixes while enlisting smaller reinforcements such as syrah, carignan, cinesaut and cabernet to calm the otherwise sweet and mildly colored grape. Another fact about grenache is that it often ripens late, leading to what could be the mysterious appeal, the haunting linger of this unique grape.
Kiler Grove 2007 “Zinergy” – $19
– Burgundy color, looking very promising with just the right amount of translucence as it nears the brim.
– There’s a powerful alcohol fume when your nose first comes close to the brim. Once you let that exhaust and envelope you, it will acclimate and you should be able to notice its more elegant nuances such as blackberry and earth. There’s a whiff of earl grey tea in there, too.
– There’s an effervescence that lightly teases your senses before any flavor can come through, and once you do you can’t help but be delighted by this bold wine. The tannins are large and in charge without being a burden. The sweet is constrained, leaving an easy gulping, and it will evolve while warming, and you could easily drink it all night long. There’s a certain weight to the wine that makes you feel as if sipping the viscous liquidity of a lava lamp.
Overall: Worthy. This wine is easily among our favorite. We wish there was more in our stubby wine rack. If you are a local from Utah, go to Kiler Grove and see if they have any more remaining and buy some. The recently tasted 2009 vintage was also quite promising, but a whole other specimen entirely.