2018 Kautz & Kramer – A Love Affair Story

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Background Story

This is a “newer label”, begun two years ago by Joan Kautz to honor her mother and father, Gail and John for their 60th wedding anniversary. They presented the wine and label as a surprise on their anniversary.  Gail Kramer and John Kautz were married in 1958 and started farming grapes in Lodi. Eventually deciding to produce their own wines. They hired Steve Miller in 1989 as their winemaker. They built Ironstone in Murphys and today are ranked in the top 10 family grape growers with over 7,000 acres of vineyards. Besides their renowned Ironstone label, they also have Leaping Horse, Drifting Wines, Obsession Wines, Devil’s Fog (Pinot Noir) and a few others. Ironstone while getting many of their grapes from Lodi, has a magnificent winery in Murphys, California in Calaveras County. A complete story of the area, geography, climate and history can be found at: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/02/14/both-liquid-and-actual-gold-in-the-sierra-nevada-foothills-calaveras-county/ .

Ironstone Vineyards, besides their award winning wines with wine tasting, is a venue for weddings, concerts, corporate events, wine caves, jewelry shop, restaurant, museum and much more!  They also have a beautifully working restored pipe organ from the Alhambra Theatre in Sacramento.  Additionally, Ironstone offers custom crushing and juice for sale. Picture below is the largest gold nugget on display at Ironstone Vineyards weighing in at 44 pounds!

Kautz & Kramer Wines

This new label came during the Covid-19 pandemic. Joan and the business have not had sufficient time to “really introduce” and develop the market for this label. That said, it was not their original intent but to honor Gail & John and make wines to showcase their commitment for excellent wines. Today they have two other varietals besides their Cabernet Franc, a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon both of which are produced from single vineyard locations. The Chardonnay is called Sentimental Journey which was the song being played at Joan and John’s first dance. Today they make about 1,000 cases of these artisan and boutique wines, hand picking the grapes from single vineyards and Steve Miller handcrafting these varietals to an ultimate level of quality. Since starting this label, here are just some of their awards in the very short time the label has been in existence, a remarkable feat.

2017 Lodi Block 50 Cabernet Sauvignon

Sunset International Wine Competition, Jun 2021 DOUBLE GOLD, 96 Points

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Mar. 2021 GOLD

Critics Challenge, Aug. 2021 Silver 

2015 Lodi Block 50 Cabernet Sauvignon

Restaurant Wine, Dec. 2020,  **** Stars

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Jan. 2020 GOLD

2018 Lodi Sheldon Ranch, Block 72 Cabernet Franc

Annual Cabernet Franc Competition, Apr. 2022 Best of Class, Peoples Choice

Critics Challenge, Aug. 2021 Silver

Decanter Wine Awards, Jul 2021 Silver 90 Points

Sunset International Wine Competition, Jun 2021 Silver

2015 Lodi Sheldon Ranch, Block 72 Cabernet Franc

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Jan. 2020 GOLD

California State Fair, 2019 DOUBLE GOLD (99 Points), Best of Class of Appellation, Best of California

2018 Kautz & Kramer Cabernet Franc

In April 2022, at the 3rd Annual Cabernet Franc Wine Competition and Celebration held in Copperopolis, Kautz & Kramer submitted their 2018 wine. The wine won Silver Medals from both the People’s Choice and Professional Judge’s panels. Additionally the People’s Choice Judges awarded them the Best of Class in Category 1, Cabernet less than $30. This was their first time competing and this wine is destined to continue to win awards. The wine uses grapes from Sheldon Ranch Block 72 exclusively. The wine is aged 15 months in 30% new French barrels. The wine on the eyes is a dark luscious deep crimson color and medium viscosity. The nose is amazing bold with black cherries beckoning one to sip. On the palate, besides delicious black cherries, blackberries, nutmeg and fig burst into the mouth. Secondary flavors of sweet pipe tobacco and vanilla beckon in the far reaches of the mouth. The finish provides sufficient and rounded tannins to enjoy alone or with a meal. Only 260 cases were produced and sells for $28/bottle.

The Food and Wine Pairing

Paired last evening with a seared BBQ ribeye steak served medium rare, this wine was strong enough to hold up and compliment the ribeye. Served with a baked cheese and potato casserole and a fresh garden salad. They paired wonderfully like a handshake between good friends.

Kautz & Kramer Cabernet Franc has definitely captured John and Gail’s love in a bottle. Can hardly wait to try their Kautz & Kramer Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon based on the high marks the Cabernet Franc received.







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