Kin & Cascadia: Wines for the Long Nights of Summer

It’s August! Where has the summer gone? I don’t know about you, but I had such high hopes for seeing people, going places, and doing things, taking advantage of a slow-down in my schedule to, well, slow down.

While I have devoured a few books, transporting myself in turn to the coast of Maine, Calabria in southern Italy, and French Polynesia, I’ve been remiss on the seeing people bit. Oh well, I’ve got a few weeks . . .

As it happens, Gabe and I are expecting a couple of visitors here in Miami: brave souls whose idea of a summer getaway includes short bursts steaming and sweating interspersed with long periods of Florida-strength air conditioning!

And of course there will be wine.

Disclosure: I received these wines as media samples courtesy of Winesellers, Ltd. Thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my honest take on the wines.

Both Bottles and Tech Sheet

Kin & Cascadia: Brothers, Fathers, Sons, and Friends

The partnership between the Sager and Master families, now in its second generation, makes wine in the Pacific Northwest, specifically the Willamette Valley of Oregon, and the Wahluke Slope AVA in Columbia Valley.

I recently had the chance to sample bottles of their Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, and tasting notes follow below. But before I even opened them (so easy with a screw-cap) I noticed how light these bottles were; something I appreciate after wrestling with way too many oversized, super-heavy specimens. Probably lightens the winery’s carbon footprint, so kudos to them on that.

Pinot Bottle Shot
Pulled pork sliders would be perfect with a glass of Kin & Cascadia Pinot.

2017 Kin & Cascadia Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (13.5% abv; SRP $14.99)

Grapes for this Pinot are sourced from different parcels throughout the Willamette Valley, including those with rich alluvial soils, hillside plots, and some with volcanic sedimentary soils. Fermentation occurs via natural yeast strains, under cool temperatures. The wine undergoes full malolactic fermentation, after which 30% is aged in neutral oak barrels for a short time.

Color: Medium ruby, a bit paler at the rim.

Nose: Ripe cherry and raspberry aromas, with just a hint of vanilla and spice.

Palate: Again, soft red fruit accented by moderate acidity and tannins. Very pleasant if not terribly complex wine; one that would make a nice partner with pulled pork barbecue, potato salad, and whatever else graces your summer table.

Cabernet Bottle Shot
Quick-grill a flank steak, pour a glass of Kin & Cascadia Cabernet, and linger in the backyard. 

2017 Kin & Cascadia Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (13.5% abv; SRP $14.99)

A blend of 90% Cabernet and 10% Syrah, grapes for this wine hail from one of the driest, warmest climates in the region. The Cab is grown on the Goose Ridge Ranch bordering Red Mountain; the Syrah comes from parcels on Goose Ridge and the Wahluke Slope. Soils are sandy and alluvial, meaning that phylloxera, blight of vineyards world-wide, doesn’t survive here; vines remain on original rootstocks.

Cabernet grapes are crushed and left on their skins for 35 days; the Syrah is fermented with 20% stems and remains on its skins for 25 days. The wine then spends three months in new and neutral oak barrels; a small portion (one-third) of the wine spends an additional six months in lightly toasted French barrels.

Color: Deep ruby with flashes of violet throughout.

Nose: Aromas of red and black fruit remind me of Italian frutti di bosco; there are soft notes of mocha and vanilla to complement the fruit.

Frutti di bosco
Frutti di bosco (photo: Andrea Niga, iStock)

Palate: Rather light in body for a Cab-dominant wine, there are cherry-berry flavors to match the nose, moderate acidity, and softer tannins than I expected. It’s an easy wine to sip and would pair well with simply grilled flank steak or flame-broiled burgers.

Both of these wines are simple pleasures, perfect for lounging around the back yard with friends and family, enjoying the last weeks of summer. Live, laugh, and love while the days are long and your to-do list is short. Tell stories and share secrets.

Reality will return soon enough.

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