KOZ WINES DEBUT AT
By Michael Hepworth
Dave Koz, the diminutive but popular jazz saxophonist
and radio DJ has launched three wines with the profits earmarked for his
favorite charity, the Starlight Children’s Foundation. He chose his
concert at the Hollywood Bowl in August with Brian Culbertson, Peabo
Bryson and others to launch the range of two reds and a very good
Sauvignon Blanc that could easily become prized collectors items due to
their very limited production.
Koz first signed with Capitol Records in 1990 with the release of Koz, and
since then he has had at least half a dozen gold records and garnered a
loyal following. As a philanthropist, he serves as Global Ambassador for
the Starlight Children’s Foundation, recently completed a four year term
on the Grammy Foundation Artists Committee, and has served as National
Trustee for the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.
Now his current focus is on his wine, and he has
teamed up with Whole Foods to supervise the entire project from the
beginning. Koz spent a lot of time on this project, interviewing many
prospective winemakers in Santa Ynez, Mendocino and
to interview many prospective winemakers. They finally selected Chris
Condos of Vinum Cellars in
, a boutique winery and it looks like they selected a good one.
“Chris has an intense passion for the winemaking process, a
wonderful sense of creativity and openness that I felt was really
important in this collaboration,” says Koz.
The Koz Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.99) is a
strong 100% Cabernet that has been aged exclusively in French Oak barrels
for 20 months. It is a rich colored wine with hints of Cassis, Blackberry,
Boysenberry, Black Cherry, Tobacco, Sweet Oak and a touch of Mexican
Chocolate. Try and grab a bottle of this one and sit on it for as long as
you can. The Koz 2007
“Red Alto” blend ($16.99) is a combination of Syrah, Grenache,
Mourvedre and Petite Sirah grapes all grown in red volcanic soil in
between 2500 and 3300 feet. The organic soil gives the grapes a hint of
ripe black cherry, roasted plum, raspberry and spice.
I give the winemaker plaudits for the 2008 Koz 2008
Sauvignon Blanc ($16.99) which is 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Viognier.
The interesting fact is that it was aged in 50 percent French Oak Barrels
and 50 percent stainless steel. Very crisp dry wine with a touch of pear,
melon, key lime and a hint of orange blossom that was farmed organically
This is a worthy project that has a long way to go,
but if the follow up wines can match up to the first three produced, then
we have a new winemaker on the scene.