The first time I visited Kunde Family Winery was in 2012. I was impressed with the beautiful property, family history, wines, and Winemaker Zachary Long who was hired in 2011 to help revise the winemaking program. Since that initial visit, I have been a fervent aficionado of wines from this Sonoma winery gem and make a point to locate a few bottles whenever I host a dinner party or expect a few friends to drop by. Just recently, I received three exceptional wines (as samples) from Marcia Kunde Mickelson, Chief Operating Officer at Kunde Family Winery. I was thrilled… discovering delicious wines that are food-pairing-perfect is one of my favorite endeavors. You already know that, of course!
My wine and food pairing colleagues feel the same way. This month, members of the #winePW group have complemented an array of wines from Sonoma County with a variety of recipes. We want to pay homage to the wines and strength of this region that, although affected by the devastation of wildfires in the autumn of 2016, has emerged stronger than ever. Please see below for links to articles that will prompt you to find these wines, create a complementary recipe, and plan your next trip to the fascinating region, Sonoma.
Kunde Family Winery
Kunde Family Winery is family owned and operated for five generations. The 1850-acre estate in Sonoma Valley was founded by German immigrant Louis Kunde who purchased the original Wildwood Vineyards in 1904. The historic site was planted in 1879 by viticultural trailblazers, James Shaw and Captain John Drummond, with cuttings imported from Chateaux Margaux and Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Now, the property has 700 acres planted with twenty different varieties of wine grapes. With fewer than 40% of the property under vine, the family, now led by fourth and fifth generation members, has made a commitment to not only produce notable, award winning wines, but to maintain stewardship of five unique ecosystems: riparian, aquatic, oak woodlands, native grasslands and chaparral.
Certified sustainable farming practices are inherent in the viticultural practices at Kunde Family Winery. “Every department – from vineyard management to winemaking to administration to hospitality – is responsible for maintaining and introducing new conservation programs.” In 2010, the winery received one of the first “Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing” certifications in California. It continues to be recognized for its pioneering efforts in grape growing and winemaking enterprises which include energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, and viticultural techniques.
All wines are from Estate grown grapes. The 1850 acres on the estate are located across seven distinct microclimates and rise 1500 feet above sea level. As a result of the unique terroir and climatic conditions, a wide variety of grapes thrive. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Syrah, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Barbera, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon have a home at Kunde Family Winery where Zachary Long continues his tenure. In fact, the wines I tasted and reviewed below exuded a depth and complexity that are notable. Long believes in “small-lot, hands-on, low impact winemaking practices to capture the fundamental nature of our estate”. And it showed with each sip.
Please check out the Kunde Family Winery website for more information. You’ll be inspired to plan a visit, I’m sure!
Wine and Food at Kunde Family Winery
Pairing wine with a special recipe is much easier when the winery itself suggests recipes that pair with their own wines! The Kunde website has a “recipe” tab that is now my “go-to” whenever I need a flavorful dish to serve with a favorite Kunde wine. Following are wine and food pairings you may want to explore, too.
2015 Sonoma Valley Chardonnay ($18) – As winemaker Zachary Long stated “Chardonnay is the queen of the whites and this lady suits that description to a tee”. I can’t disagree with that! Enticing aromas of juicy green apples, ripe melon, and sweet spice led to a creamy mouthfeel on the palate with notes of citrus, caramel, and mouthwatering acidity. Rich and broad, 80% of the Chardonnay was aged for nine months in French oak barrels and 20% was aged in stainless steel. Each pour is a delicious complement to grilled tuna fish tacos, a savory pasta dish, or my favorite, Mushroom and Havarti Quesadillas (click here for the recipe).
Marcia’s Chicken Saltimbocca
- 1/2 cup flour
- salt and pepper
- 4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage
- 4 slices prosciutto, trimmed to match the top side of the chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/4 cup dry vermouth
- 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into four pieces
- 1 tablespoon minced, fresh Italian parsley
|Preheat convection oven to 325 degrees, roast setting. Combine flour and 1 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl.|
|Pat chicken breasts dry and dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Lay the breasts flat and sprinkle with the minced sage. (If you like the sage flavor, you can even sprinkle a little dried sage on the top.) Place 1 slice of prosciutto on each breast, pressing slightly to adhere.|
|Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet to hold the breasts. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add two of the chicken breasts to the heated pan, prosciutto side down, and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes.|
|Turn the breasts over, being careful not to dislodge the prosciutto, and cook until golden brown as well, about 3 more minutes.|
|Place the cooked breasts on the wire rack, tent with foil to keep warm, and cook the remaining two breasts in the same manner. Place the breasts in the oven at 325 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink on the inside.|
|In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Over medium heat, stir the vermouth into the pan, scraping up the browned bits, and simmer until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 5-7 minutes.|
|Stir in the fresh lemon juice. Reduce heat to low and whisk in the butter, one slice at a time. Off heat, stir in the fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over the cooked chicken breasts.|
Cheers to family, sustainability, and exceptional Estate wines of Kunde Family Winery ~ Cindy
For more delicious Sonoma County wines paired with memorable recipes, please follow the links below.
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla dazzles with > Za’atar-Crusted Rib-Eyes with 2014 Geyser Peak Walking Tree Cab.
- Ellen from Family Around the Table tempts with a pairing for > Rosemary Roasted Cornish Hens
- Gwen from Wine Predator asks readers to > Be #SonomaStrong: Drink Wine! Here’s Why and 5 to Try #WinePW
- Lori from Dracaena Wines gets into the spirit with > #WinePW Shows We Are #SonomaStrong
- Jeff from FoodWineClick! celebrates with > #SonomaStrong with Two Shepherds and Roast Chicken à la Alice Waters
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm is > Celebrating Sonoma
- David from Cooking Chat makes a pairing of > Shrimp Pesto Pasta & #SonomaStrong Wine
- Nancy from Pull That Cork shares her > #SonomaStrong Pairing: Jordan Chardonnay and Jalapeño Popper Dip #winePW
- Jane from Always Ravenous has prepared >Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Paired with Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc #SonomaStrong #WinePW
- Lauren from The Swirling Dervish shares inspiration with > #WinePW Celebrates #SonomaStrong: Roasted Halibut with Grapefruit-Fennel Salsa and Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc
- Jill from L’Occasion is > Eat & Drink Local in Sonoma