A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Kinero Cellars and Royal Nonesuch Farm in Paso Robles - about four hours drive north from Los Angeles.
Kinero Cellars and Royal Nonesuch Farm is what happens when a talented and original winemaker (Anthony Yount) has access to high-quality vineyards around the Paso Robles area, allowing for high-quality wines that are devoid of macho posturing or inflated ego.
At 25 years old, Anthony began his journey as a “cellar rat” at Denner Vineyards on the western side of the Paso Robles AVA. A cellar rat does all the odd jobs in the winery. Cleaning, working the tasting room with customers, or whatever is needed during vintage. It’s hard graft—a real education in more ways than one.
Since 2008, Anthony’s side hustle has been producing his own single-vineyard white wines at Kinero Cellars; and, since 2011, his Estate red, The Royal Nonesuch Farm.
Place: Paso Robles AVA, California
Paso Robles AVA is a part of the San Luis Obispo wine county on the Central Coast in California. It lies between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Here is Anthony pointing to where they are on a map of California. Imagine California as an outstretched arm…
Established in 1983, the wines from Paso Robles AVA show how the original pioneering spirit is still alive and present.
While 49% of grapes grown are Cabernet Sauvignon, the rest are mostly Rhone grape varietals. That’s a possible combination of 21 different grapes. What seems certain is southern Rhone varietals thrive in the steep hills of the western side of the AVA.
Introducing the wines from Kinero Cellars and winemaker Anthony Yount.
Day and Night in Paso Robles
If it were not for the natural ‘air-conditioning’ effect of the cool ocean breezes through the Templeton Gap, it would be scorching indeed. In summer, daytime temperatures can reach up to 47 degrees Celsius. The cool breezes cool down the grapes and give a fresh acidity to the easy ripeness.
Anthony also makes a Chardonnay in the coolest AVA in California, Arroyo Grande Valley AVA, and York Mountain AVA for his The Royal Nonesuch Farm estate red, which is technically not in San Luis Obispo County but is contiguous to the western edge of Paso Robles.
Californian Wine Style
When pressed, Anthony explained he was really trying to get away from “the perfume counter at Macy’s” style of overblown aromatics. His wines have a soldering sweet core of fruit that becomes mouthwateringly savory on the finish.
The Chardonnay, for example, is full of delicious sunshine tropical fruit. Yet, there is no feeling of the fruit being manipulated to a certain idea of what a Chardonnay should be.
As mentioned in previous posts, my theory on oak is much like my theory on makeup. It can either enhance or overwhelm beauty.
Following the analogy, these wines have a “natural” look. The relaxed feeling is partly down to partial fermentation in concrete rather than (over) extended sessions in oak.
Other decisions in the winery, such as extended skin contact for the Roussanne and wild yeast ferments for the Chardonnay, make these exciting wines to taste.
Organic credentials often come up when talking about Paso Robles AVA. This is good news for winemakers and wine lovers alike: having good neighbors “upstream” is important for the day-to-day production of organic wine.
Although the definition of organic wine in the United States is not codified in the same way as the European Union, winemakers still need to slog through 400 pages of documents to fill in to get organic certification.
2020 California Vintage
With current labor shortages in California, from new immigration rules, the Covid -19 lockdown, and high competition for vineyard labor from the marijuana industry, organic certification has been put on the back burner for now.
Nevertheless, they continue to practice organic viticulture. You may even find Anthony and their family picking the grapes. Thankfully, Mother Nature has stepped up in the 2020 vintage. And while it’s tough to work to pick grapes, these are small productions.
PO Box 852
Templeton, California 93465
Thank you to Wine Woman & Song and Wines of California for the interview.
I write about lifestyle, restaurants, food & drink in Los Angeles. I believe that going out to eat is an adventure. I love CA wine and LA cocktails.
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