Winemaker Kenny Likitprakong stopped by Thief yesterday for a tasting of his three labels – Hobo, Folk Machine, and Banyan. We had a nice crowd of about 25 people – enough to keep him busy, but not too chaotic and intimate enough that everyone got a good chance to talk with him. I’ve been a fan of the wines for a while and we carry several of them in the shop already, but I’d never met Kenny. Super-nice guy; very mellow and down-to-earth, but charismatic and engaging, and he genuinely appreciated everyone’s interest in the wines.
Banyan 2007 Riesling, Santa Lucia Highlands: Dry and minerally, with lots of citrus notes,e specially lime, and hints of petrol. A good wine, but to me didn’t have the complexity of some other dry Rieslings we carry.
Folk Machine 2007 “Co-Conspirator”: A kitchen-sink white blend, full of tropical fruit – I got a lot of dried pineaplee out of the wine – but with nice acidity and balance. A fun wine, with more richness and depth than you’d expect at this price ($13.95); it’s showing really well now.
Banyan 2008 Gewurztraminer, Monterey: We’re pouring this one by the glass now, so I obviously like it quite a bit. Slightly sweet (15 g/L residual sugar), but with more acidity than most Gewurzes to balance it out. A little bit of floral, a lot of lychee fruit, and a bit of spice. Very clean in the mouth, not cloying at all. Lovely wine, especially for the price ($10.95)
Hobo 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley: Poured before the Zins because it’s a lighter style of Cab – very elegant, great acidity, moderate alcohol and tannins. Dark red berry and plum fruit, cassis, nice structure. It’s nice to have a Cab that’s not massively oaked and overly alcoholic. This wine was just released; we’ll carry it as soon as I find space on the shelves (which are getting quite full).
Hobo 2006 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel: An elegant style of Zin, and a nice contrast from the Rockpile. Classic Zin flavors of juicy brambly fruit and pepper, but with higher acid than most. Exceptionally food-friendly for a Zin.
Hobo 2006 Rockpile Zinfandel: From the tiny Rockpile appellation of Sonoma County, this wine was the big hit of the night. Rich and full, but not over-the-top jammy. Great body and structure; a serious Zin that’s eminently enjoyable.
I also tried his new 2008 Jeanne d’Arc, which is a Chenin-based blend from California; it’s absolutely delicious. It’s not in the market yet, but should be available in about three weeks.