2019 Kelly Fleming Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – Triggering A Good Memory

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I was asked in December if I would be interested in receiving and preparing a story for Kelly Fleming Wines. Since my wife and I were members there for many years and had purchased their delicious wines it was a no brainer! In fact today I still have one of the 2008 proudly displayed in the wine cellar. It was most likely purchased in 2010 or 2011 as we followed Celia Welch as winemaker for years.

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The Winery

Kelly Fleming fell in love with Napa Valley many years ago. In 1998 she purchased 300 secluded and hilly acres outside Calistoga. There she planted a 12 acre vineyard, constructed a cave, winery and full kitchen for events. The stone building is pristine and straight forward, but not opulent, it reminds one of the family run wineries in France or Italy built and taken care of with true pride of ownership.

(photo from Kelly Fleming website)

The winery today produces five wines: Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, The Big Pour and The Bears & The Bees. Celia Welch was the original and founding winemaker who has made wine for many wineries in Napa and most notably Scarecrow Wines.  She also has been the consulting winemaker for many wineries. Rebecca George worked alongside Celia for many years and the 2019 was made solely by Rebecca. Rebecca has made wine on three continents for over 15 years. In 2020 Andy George took over as head winemaker.

The Wine – 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Grown

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Just being released in January of 2023, this wine made me remember why I joined the Kelly Fleming Wine Club. The wine stands in contrast to land which the grapes hail from, rough and steep hillsides. The wine is opulent, exquisite and refined from the first waft of aromas to the long lasting finish. First on the nose, red and black fruits abound along with a floral bouquet followed by blueberry being the most aromatic. The coloring is not as dark as I remembered, more of a crimson red and medium heavy viscosity.  On the palate, raspberry and fresh firm plum provide an outline for the savory flavors. Secondary flavors of soft and mellow vanilla pipe tobacco and a modicum of cocoa swirls in the mouth. The finish with structure and velvety tannins surround each tooth and roof of the mouth claiming friendly dominance.  The wine is 100% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon being aged in 85% new French oak barrels and 15% neutral oak for 20 months. 917 cases were produced and will be selling for $185/bottle.

The Food and Wine Pairing

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The meal last evening was a flank steak marinated in Chaka sauce. We normally prepare this on the BBQ, but the seemingly never ending rains, prepared it on a cast iron skillet. Served medium rare and accompanied with sautéed asparagus & mushrooms and a Yukon Gold potato with chives. The meal was wonderful and the wine exquisite, but just a “B level” pairing as the marinade was a bit too strong to enjoy the fullness of the wine. After dinner, we sipped the wine by itself and it fully blossomed without the food.

This was how I remember Kelly Fleming wines and now can’t wait to open the 2008 which is on my “To Drink List” in 2023.






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