Jim Kimmel of Kimmel Vineyards with Paul LaRussa of Premier Cru. Photo by Westside People
Following a 30-year tradition of growing premium wine grapes in Mendocino County, Kimmel Vineyards recently introduced a new chardonnay called Illuminate at an exclusive wine tasting at Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica.
Best known for its premium chardonnay, strong cabernets and exceptional merlot, Kimmel Vineyards released its new chardonnay at an affordable price of $8 per bottle as an effort to get into area grocery stores and large consumer box stores.
Owner Jim Kimmel presented the new label and other premium offerings with an extraordinary four-course meal by the award-winning chefs at Wilshire Restaruant. Starters of autumn squash soup, tuna tartare and roasted cauliflower were paired with 2013 Illuminate and the 2012 premium chardonnay as comparisons.
Wines were accompanied with handcrafted stemware by Premier Cru Collection sourced from a handmade glass blower in Germany. Offered in sets of four, the stemware is artistic and difficult to break.
“When you’re having a wine in a stem that’s special it really expands the whole experience,” said Paul LaRussa owner of Premier Cru. “One of the most important things when we enjoy a fine wine is that it’s an ethereal experience. It’s usually a time we never forget. Premier Cru collecton is the physical counterpart to that feeling.”
For Kimmel Vineyards, the event was about gaining notoriety in the wine connoisseur community.
“It’s still very challenging and can be difficult to get in the marketplace and be accepted,” Kimmel said during the course of our lunch.
His goal with Illuminate was to create a wine that’s accessible to the vast majority of consumers. Together with renowned winemaker Bruce Regalia they were able to create a wine sophisticated enough to still satisfy a discerning palate.
“We’ve gotten a very good reception on this new label,” Kimmel said. “We’re trying to get wine into the hands of people so they can enjoy it but at the same time we still need to provide for our families.”