Kenzo Estate was founded in 2002 by Kenzo Tsujimoto, founder and ceo of Capcom Co., one of the world’s most successful producers of video games. His interest in fine wine brought him to northern California for visits starting in the 1980s. A decade later he bought 3,800 acres in the eastern mountains of Napa Valley. Despite its large size, Kenzo Estate has only 100 acres of vineyards, which were developed and are today managed by David Abreu, one of the region’s vineyard gurus. In keeping with his stated mission of producing outstanding wine, Tsujimoto hired Heidi Barrett, also a Napa Valley star, as winemaker. The debut vintage was the 2005, most of which was exported to Japan. In the U.S., a limited amount of Kenzo wines are offered by mailing list. Kenzo makes a small portfolio of wines, all with Japanese names. Most are Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux style blends, though Sauvignon Blanc and rosé also are produced.
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,
One of the most widely grown grape varieties, it can be found in nearly every wine growing region. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a hardy vine that produces a full-bodied wine with high tannins and great aging potential.