It’s your favorite Napa Valley Magician and Certified Sommelier Ben Silver. As most of you know by now I’m actually based out of Southern California making me a San Diego Magician and Certified Sommelier. However, I perform for clients all over America and get up to Napa Valley quite frequently for gigs as Wine and Magic is my niche and Napa Valley is probably the most famous wine region in the United States. I had the honor of performing in Napa in March 2019 for a corporate group on the Napa Valley Wine Train which was a blast. While in Napa Valley I visited approximately 15-18 tasting rooms to brush up on the new vintages and current releases to get a sense of vintage and varietal characteristics.
While I was up in Napa Valley I stopped by Stags Leap Wine Cellars the famed winery from the 1976 Paris Tasting. I have enjoyed their wines over the years and have made friends with their long time tasting room manager Aaron Ramo who is a hospitality maven. I was disappointed when I learned that Aaron had left the winery and accepted the position of Assistant Tasting Room Manager at Kenzo Estate a boutique winery I was unaware of. Knowing Aaron and his passion for wine I was sure that if he moved to a new winery it had to be incredible, and … it truly is!
Here is a quick background and review of Kenzo Estate a winery that shows its winemaking and terrior (sense of place) extremely well.
Quick Background of Kenzo Estate. For a more through, detailed and eloquently written version please visit their website at www.KenzoEstate.com. Kenzo estate was founded by Kenzo Tsujimoto who first founded Capcom Video Games in Japan and released famous games such as Mega Man and Street Fighter among countless others. With his success, he was allowed the opportunity to pursue a passion and a dream of making world class wine inspired by his love of Bordeaux wines and the 1976 Tasting of Paris. With great success and means, Kenzo hired some of the best in the wine business to help make his dream come true.
He hired famed viticulturist David Abreu to lay out the vineyards and plant the vines to best capture and display their unique South Napa Valley Aspect on Mount George. David has meticulously planted 145 acres of vines for Kenzo Estate and is considered one of the best if not the best in the valley.
Keeping in the fashion of “hire the best to make the best”, Kenzo also hired “the first lady of wine” Heidi Barret as winemaker. Heidi Barrett has been a celebrate wine maker for decades and has celebrated at least 3 – 100 point scores and an acclaimed stint as winemaker at Screaming Eagle among other well recognized and celebrated wineries.
Now that the back brief background is behind us here is my experience at Kenzo Estate.
Everything at Kenzo Estate was stellar! The grounds are incredibly beautiful as well as the winery. When you enter through the gate at Kenzo Estate a sense of tranquility and stillness greets you as you drive the winding road to the winery. This is a longer road than one would expect taking 3-5 minutes before you reach… the second gate. As the second gate opens the vineyards are revealed beautifully manicured with hill top and hill side aspects, a genuinely beautiful sight to behold. The winery soon appears after your drive through the vineyards.
Tamamo Dughman the Tasting Room Manager greeted me at the winery entrance and was a very generous and gracious ambassador. My host for the day was Blaze Williams.He was an excellent tasting and tour guide, he was extremely knowledgeable and polished in his execution. Tony Rios the Sales Manager was also very hospitable. My friend Aaron Ramo was out of town during my visit but was able to reach out to Tamamo last minute for me to taste at Kenzo Estate. Again, hospitality here is second to none. Each visitor or group receives their own personal host.