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DRNK’s Caver’s Cuvee Pinot Noir made a huge splash last year, coming home with a massive 97-point score from the prestigious North Coast Wine Challenge. The 2013 loads up with even more ripe fruit, collected from a trio of superb Russian River sites, including a Rochioli-farmed vineyard and even some of Gary Farrell’s beloved Hallberg vineyard! An impressive lineup – and no wonder – the folks behind DRNK are none other than the Kunde family which has made awesome wines for decades!
About the wine
DRNK is making a big name for themselves with a delicious and complex approach to Pinot Noir. The Caver’s Cuvee is the perfect introduction to this precocious producer’s style and it is traditional Russian River wine all the way. Far from super-ripe, it combines the unique features of three different sites to assemble a multi-faceted wine with impressive aromatics. Cloud 9 Vineyard provides the kirsch-liqueur like core that almost tastes like Pinot candy. The Rochioli-grown Sweetwater Ranch provides a juicy, vanilla-laced prettiness that also cranks up the bouquet with bakery scents. And finally, Hallberg vineyard contributes a blueberry and pomegranate character supported by strong minerality, earthiness and a touch of tannin to make this a good candidate for the cellar. The early releases of DRNK have been huge critical hits, and it’s exciting to watch this stellar new producer get the recognition they deserve. Check it out!
Winemaker: Ryan Kunde
Appellation: Russian River Valley
- 96 pts: Walter Moore, WSET Diploma, CSW
- 98 pts: Vintage Ratings (Wine Advocate)
- 4.1/5.0: Vivino Users (7 ratings)
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Vineyard: Cloud 9, Sweetwater Ranch & Hallberg
Cooperage: 10 months in French Oak, 40% of which is new
About the winery
DRNK is not just the Alice-in-Wonderland-esque instructions on the label, but also an acronym representing the family business. Husband and wife Ryan and Katie as well as parents Dale and Nancy are the four initials that serendipitously spell DRNK! What, no Isaacs or Isabellas in the family? Ryan is winemaker and the fifth generation to do so in Sonoma’s celebrated Kunde family. His formative years were spent watching his dad and grandfather labor in the vineyard, fiddle in the cellar and joining them as they tooled around the valley, talking to growers and fellow winemakers. DRNK’s ambition is to take the Kunde family (and extended family) into their fifth generation by re-connecting with their history as founding forces in Russian River (the famed Saralee’s Vineyard is named for Ryan’s aunt).
About the vineyards
Cloud 9 Ranch is a small, 3-acre vineyard situated close to Eastside Road in a tony Pinot district that supplies Sonoma-Cutrer, La Crema, Kistler and Ramey. Sweetwater Ranch is a Rochioli family property that produces cherry-soaked Pinot Noir that is what most folks think of when they seek top Russian River wine. And Hallberg Vineyard is a Middle Reach Grand Cru that has provided structured and ageworthy fruit to many celebrated Gary Farrell wines over the years.
About the winemaker, Ryan Kunde
Ryan’s background as a Kunde means Sonoma-style winemaking (big fruit and spice and zesty acidity) is pretty much in his DNA. Growing up, he learned hands-on from his father, Bill Kunde, but as he began to study Viticulture and Enology, he was able to get experience and insight as he studied with Byron Kosuge at Miura, Jay Maddox at Carlisle and James MacPhail of MacPhail wines. Their stylistic and technical advice helped Ryan chart his course as a terroir-driven winemaker, keenly interested in letting Pinot Noir translate the taste of each vineyard site. The highlight of Ryan’s young career at DRNK was the 97-point score bestowed upon the 2012 Caver’s Cuvee Pinot Noir at the North Coast Wine Challenge.
96 points, Walter Moore, WSET Diploma, CSW
"There's simply no substitute for a well-grown, well-made Russian River Valley Pinot Noir in 2013. The vintage was perfect. DRNK is a new label for me, a Kunde Family effort that is shockingly good. It has excellent concentration of flavors, deep, beguiling RRV spices and varietal precision - all the while retaining terrific balance between full-blown and elegant. Typical of the best wines of 2013, it's hard to find any faults here, and the word perfection comes to mind all to easy. This is delicious, classic rich, bold Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from a founding family of Sonoma Pinot Noir. This will DRNK very well for 5-8 years. Stock up!"