From left: Winemaker Alex Kanzler, winning bidder and LaMarc Wines founder Marcus Ajnemark, and winemaker Bob Cabral.

The Sonoma County Barrel Auction is known for “never before, never again” wines that attract buyers from all over the world. Alex was honored to collaborate on a lot for the 2022 auction with revered winemaker Bob Cabral (Bob Cabral Wines, Williams Selyem, Three Sticks). The Pinot Noir was entirely sourced from Kanzler Estate Vineyard, blended from both winemakers’ barrels.

As The Press Democrat newspaper noted, the lot was among the higher bids, particularly for a wine created by boutique producers:

“This year’s portfolio also had its share of creativity coming from local winemakers. Winemaker Bob Cabral said he appreciated the collaborative approach that the event brought out as he worked with Alex Kanzler of Kanzler Vineyards on a lot of five cases of pinot noir that came from wine grapes from the Kanzler Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. That lot sold for $7,800, equaling $130 per bottle.”

The winning bidder on the Cabral-Kanzler lot was Marcus Ajnemark, founder of Norwegian importer LaMarc Wines. He was visiting Sonoma County with a trade group from Norway, Sweden and Finland.

Francesco Marzola, an acclaimed sommelier from Norway, also purchased wines at the auction. He noted to Sonoma County Vintners that Sonoma’s “diversity of places, climates, grapes and styles is much wider than expected and really deserves a deep dive! I attended the auction originally out of curiosity, but after tasting the lots on Thursday I realized that…the presence of those wines will increase in the future in my country, so that by securing those unique wines now, I’ll be positioned as an [import] leader.”



Exclusive to the Sonoma County Barrel Auction is this first-ever collaborative lot between well-known winemakers Bob Cabral and Alex Kanzler. “Partners in Pinot” highlights what a master, and an up-and-comer, both love most about fruit grown in this special southwest corner of the Russian River Valley on Goldridge soil. “Collaborating with Bob over the last several years has been an honor for me as a grape grower, and an educational bounty as an evolving winemaker,” says Alex Kanzler. “As far as my approach, there is no special block or row at the estate. We farm all 14.5 acres to the highest caliber we can, make the best possible pick calls, and taste our barrels for the most intriguing flavors that evoke the place and the vintage.”


After 42 vintages, Bob still harvests Pinot Noir grapes when he tastes the acid, tannin and flavor balance he is looking to achieve in the glass. He uses about 35% whole cluster in the fermenter to add stem tannin to the wine and does not use any cultured yeast or malolactic bacteria. He travels to the Vosges Mountains in France and harvests the trees himself for one of the barrel types he uses. The wood is aged there for three years and then the staves are shipped to a cooper in Benicia, California, where his specific toast levels for Pinot Noir are applied.


The fortunate winning bidder will find an explosion of wild raspberries, blueberry fruits, savory notes of sweet herbs and smoked charcuterie. A trusted palate known to Bob and Alex once opined during a tasting, “Kanzler is the easiest to identify, and the hardest to describe.” This feature is known as the “Kanzler spice,” which speaks to the terroir’s unique warm spiciness. This lot’s vibrancy and balance of acid, tannin and concentration results in a wine that will taste amazing young and even better with 5-8 years of bottle age on it.




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