Tasting through KJ with Randy Ullom

Randy Ullom, Kendall-Jackson’s Winemaster, offers some extremely insightful tidbits into the world of wine. He’s one of the most eligible winemen to offer insights, as he’s been with Kendall-Jackson for about 24 years. He also sports the most notable mustache you’ll ever see, but the focus here is on the wine.


Back in March, a  couple of marketing team members and a handful of our wine buying team gathered to taste through some of KJ’s portfolio over a spread of charcuterie meats and warm conversation.

Randy admitted that while the iconic name of the winery for which he works is known for its stable flavor profiles, he does worry about the cork situation. He mentioned that 11% of bottles with corks have some degree of taint, and of that 11% around 3% are horribly tainted, or undrinkable. It seemed that he advocates for screw caps.

Scouting out vineyards and launching new brands, he discussed, also come with their difficulties; the capital investment, creating buzz and advertising is always a large fiscal drainer, but to get the wine in people’s anxious mouths, he says, makes it worth it.

As we moseyed through a portion of their portfolio, we found ourselves really enjoying the Silver Palm Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay and the Grand Reserve 2013. There was little to no oak in both, but still the wines came through with all the balance and complexity one can expect from KJ.

Our brief morning with this well-traveled, wise man might have been cut short by the tasks of an impatient Thursday but sitting down with a wine industry legend must always be taken advantage of. The man’s remarkable knowledge and intuition into the fermented grape juice we all love is seriously moving. His mustache, though, might be the most impressive thing about him.

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