To date, Checkerboard remains one of my favorite wineries to visit. It might be partially because I first visited them upon their debut vintage release and have seen first-hand how this winery has progressed from conception to completion. Spending the afternoon catching up about wine and non-wine matters with vintners Dennis O’Neil and Steph Martin also has something to do with it as well. This most recent visit, I was able to taste the new 2010 vintage of Checkerboard Kings Row Red, 2010 Checkerboard Cabernet Sauvignon (to be released this fall) and a new, third label called Impetuous (to be released late summer/early fall). I also got the chance to meet Angela, the black Angus cow that now calls Checkerboard home after wandering onto the property a few months ago.
Most impressive to me was the 2010 Kings Row, which I just brought into DEAN & DELUCA. It offers a palate of deep red fruit with signature notes of fresh forest and a little clove on the finish. The tannins are smooth and refined but what I like just as much is that this new offering reveals fleshier fruit than the 2009. Below are a few photos from visit. Enjoy! - Kerrin Laz / Wine Director