Tuesday, August 9, 2011

TASTING IN ARROYO GRANDE - Kynsi Vineyards & Winery

Kynsi Vineyards & Winery

As we drove through the “Tuscany-lite” landscape, our next ‘tasting’ stop was Kynsi Vineyards & Winery.  The winery itself is in a renovated 1940’s dairy farm.  

The cozy tasting room is located in the old milk processing room, but tall barrels are set up just outside the room for outdoor tasting.

Richard, Candace and I opted for the tasting room where the charming sisters, Allyson and Brittni, were our baristas.

As we sipped wine, we learned that the winery was started by a Finnish family 17 years ago. I burst w/ Finnish pride since all my grandparents came from Finland (there’s not a double “a” in my last name for nothing), but then I thought:  Finns make wine? 

When I asked about the winery’s name and owl logo, the girls told us that when the winery was set up in the neglected old dairy, they had a gopher plague of “historic proportions.”  Because owls are gophers’ #1 predator, owls were moved into the barn at the same time the family was figuring out a name and label for their wines.  The gophers disappeared, so since the owl represents wisdom and is a good omen, the family chose the Finnish word “Kynsi,” meaning “talon” to honor their owls and to pay homage to their family heritage… and the owl label?  According to the winery’s website, “the female in her preening pose was chosen to represent our brand, a pedestal duly earned.”  I liked that! 

Allyson and Brittni started our flight w/ the 2009 Edna Valley Chardonnay ($18).  Dreamy creamy dance of honeydew, macadamia nut, honey and mango.  A mango tango!

The 2009 Barn Owl Blush ($18), a central coast pinot noir rose is a blend of fruit and vanilla aromas w/ tastes of fruit and almonds.  A portion of all proceeds from the sale of this pink wine is fittingly donated to breast cancer research and awareness.  This wine is also very delicious and when Candace came for dinner last night, she surprised us by bringing a bottle that we served w/ salmon stuffed w/ roasted peppers, spinach and walnuts. 

OK, enough gushing about the blush.

We then sipped three pinot noirs:  A 2007 Edna Valley pinot ($32) w/ hints of raspberries, cola, a bit of pepper and maple syrup.  A divine wine – just don’t pour it on your pancakes!

Next up was the 2008 Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley pinot ($39) which had a silky texture w/ aromas of cherry and violets and tastes of black raspberries and a hint of tea – giving new meaning to “high” tea.

The third pinot was the Estate Pinot – Stone Corral Vineyard, Edna Valley ($48)...

...that balanced berries and oranges and hints of allspice that made this a truly lovely wine.   

Next up was Hutash (Harvest Celebration) – Harvest Cuvee, Central Coast ($28) – a 50% grenache, 25% syrah, 25% pinot noir blend that had scents of plums and mulberry, pepper and flowers and tastes of cherries, bay leaves and strawberry jam.  I loved this wine.

The Merrah – San Luis Obispo County ($22) – 65% merlot, 35% syrah was a rich red wine w/ a nose of dark plums, blueberries, allspice and vanilla that you could also taste, along w/ a bit of cola and cherries.  The merrah the merrier.

Another favorite of mine was the 2006 Syrah – Edna Ranch Vineyard, Edna Valley ($28) – rich fruit and ‘earthy’ aromas w/ fruit, herbs and even chocolate tastes.

And last, but absolutely not least, was the delicious 2007 Syrah – Kalanna, Edna Valley ($44) – a truly smooth, rich, velvety wine w/ a bouquet of blackberries, nutmeg and violets w/richly layered tastes of  berries, pepper and cocoa. 

So, to answer my own question:  “Finns make wine?”  Yup.  Evidently not all of us live in climes of terminal winter milking cows.  A few make very good wine.   Kippis!!!!  That’s Finnish for skoal.

Kynsi Vineyards & Winery
2212 Corbett Canyon Road
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

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