Keplinger Sumo 2019
The 2019 Sumo has a deep, dark nose of brambly blackberry, blueberry jam, black licorice, black cherry stones, violets, cassis bud, cedar, and a hint of white pepper. The palate has a silky entry with seamless, velvet-textured tannins throughout to the finish, subtly framing the blue and black fruit, asphalt, cherry blossom, dried herb and spice flavors on the palate.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2019 Sumo offers a fabulous combination of intense, rich fruit and savory/earthy undertones. Black cherry, dried herbs, leather, licorice and sweet pipe tobacco build in the glass. The 2019 needs time to soften, as the Petite tannins are a bit overpowering at this early stage. Best after 2024.
Also from Amador County, the Sumo cuvée is always Petite Sirah-heavy yet includes a splash of Syrah and Viognier. The 2019 Sumo sports a dense purple hue as well as an exotic bouquet of blueberries, flowers, violets, pepper, and bouquet garni. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, this isn't a monster, over-the-top Petite Sirah, and it has a terrific sense of elegance and purity, fine tannins, and a great finish. Drink bottles over the coming decade.
As the lower part of the greater Sierra Foothills appellation, Amador is roughly a plateau whose vineyards grow at 1,200 to 2,000 feet in elevation. It is 100 miles east of both San Francisco and Napa Valley. Most of its wineries are in the oak-studded rolling hillsides of Shenandoah Valley or east in Fiddletown, where elevations are slightly higher.
The Sierra Foothills growing area was among the largest wine producers in the state during the gold rush of the late 1800s. The local wine industry enjoyed great success until just after the turn of the century when fortune-seekers moved elsewhere and its population diminished. With Prohibition, winemaking was totally abandoned, along with its vineyards. But some of these, especially Zinfandel, still remain and are the treasure chest of the Sierra Foothills as we know them.
Most Amador vines are planted in volcanic soils derived primarily from sandy clay loam and decomposed granite. Summer days are hot but nighttime temperatures typically drop 30 degrees and the humidity is low, making this an ideal environment for grape growing. Because there is adequate rain throughout the year and even snow in the winter, dry farming is possible.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
How to Serve Red Wine
A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines.
How Long Does Red Wine Last?
Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.