J Vineyards and Winery

Owner(s) Judy Jordan
Web site www.jwine.com
 
Link to this site

Judy Jordan founded J in 1986 to produce sparkling wines of distinction as well as still Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The winery’s vineyard holdings encompass 278 acres of diverse hillside, bench land and valley floor plantings. The J sparkling wines have been exceptional through the years, the Pinot Gris is among the best in California, but the still Pinot Noirs had failed to distinguish.

In early 2006, George Bursick, the former winemaker at Ferrari-Carano for twenty-two years, was hired along with viticulturalist John Erbe to transform J with an emphasis on site-specific Pinot Noir. The 2007 vintage was the first to fully show the fruits of their efforts. Bursick harvests and vinify each of the many blocks from the vineyards separately. In the winery he implemented the use of Burgundian yeasts and malo-lactic strains, specific lot fermenter punch down regimes, extended fermentations, gravity flow processing, unique French Burgundian barrels, and thoughtful "batonage" during aging. Seeds are removed early in the winemaking to reduce tannins and improve textures.

The Pinot Noir lineup includes a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Nicole's Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, Nonny's Vineyard Pinot Noir, and Barrel 16 Pinot Noir. Under Bursick's direction, the wines have become world-class in 3 year's time. The sparkling wines continue to be among California's best with a focus on Brut and Brut Rosé.

In 2011, Bursick chose to leave J and develop Bursick Wine Consulting. He was replaced by Melissa Stackhouse who was the Winemaker at La Crema from 2003 to 2010, and most recently, Pinot Noir Winemaster for all Jackson Family Wines.

In early 2012, J Vineyards & Winery achieved certified sustainable status through the California Sustainable Winegrowers Alliance. The certification covers all vineyard and winery operations.

J has a beautiful tasting room at 11447 Old Redwood Highway in Healdsburg where special food-wine pairings can be arranged and sophisticated tastings of sparkling wines scheduled. The winery is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2011.

Reviewed Wines

2012 J Vineyards California Pinot Gris

13.8% alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.58, 45,000 cases, $15, screwcap. Grapes sourced from Clarksburg, Russian River Valley, Lodi and Monterey. From an outstanding vintage, this wine was gently whole cluster pressed, fermented and cooled in stainless steel tanks to preserve freshness of fruit, and aged in stainless steel tanks. No malolactic fermentation. · Very pale golden yellow and clear in the glass. Bursting with aromas of tropical fruits, peach and orange peel with flavors of kiwi, lime, peach and honeycomb. Not a wimpy wine like so many Pinot Grigios, but rather showing good substance. Because it is crisp and refreshing, it can be enjoyed as a sipper when entertaining friends, but its acidity and complexity allow it to complement food rather than compete with it. An outstanding value widely available in the retail marketplace. Score: 89. Reviewed August 14, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 J Vineyards Estate Grown Russian River Valley Vin Gris

14.3% alc., pH 3.79, TA 0.50, 2,500 cases, $20, screwcap. Made by the French saignée method. After a cold soak, 10% of the juice was bled from open top fermenters. The drained juice was fermented and cooled in stainless steel tanks and aged in chilled stainless steel tanks. No malolactic fermentation. · Light pink coral color and clear in the glass. Aromas of strawberries, cherries, watermelon and white stone fruit echoed in the flavors. A hint of dried herbs on the finish adds interest. A delicate, even angelic wine, that is bracing and easy to drink. Score: 87. Reviewed August 14, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 J Vineyards Estate Grown Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.82, TA 0.56, 7,000 cases, $37. From a cool, challenging vintage with limited yields. A blend from multiple sites in the Russian River Valley (Nicole’s, Robert Thomas and Nonny’s vineyards). Clones 113, 115, 777, 667 and 2A. 100% destemmed, fermented in 3-10 ton fermenters, then drained into tight-grain French oak barrels for 9 months (30% new). · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of cherries, peat, forest floor and sandalwood. Somewhat light but flavorful offering flavors of cherries, sage and cola with complimentary oak in the background. An easy drinker with suave tannins, a silky mouthfeel and a soft cherry themed finish. Score: 88. Reviewed August 14, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 J Vineyards Estate Grown Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.57, 625 cases, $55. From an eclectic mix of estate grown fruit including Robert Thomas Vineyard. Clones 777 and Pommard. 100% destemmed, whole berry fermentation in open top fermenters. Aged 12 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. I loved the nose on this wine which was bursting with aromas of blue and black berries and deep red roses. Fully ripe flavors of dark cherries, blueberries and black currants with an appealing conifer note. The fruit is quite showy on the mid palate and it finishes with good intensity. Tannins and acidity are in their place. Score: 91. Reviewed August 14, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 J Vineyards Estate Grown Barrel 17 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.52, 400 cases, $75. A winemaker selection to honor founder Judy Jordan’s estate vineyards, sourced exclusively from two Westside Road vineyards, Robert Thomas and Bow Tie. Clones 113, 115, 777, 667 and 2A. 100% de-stemmed, whole berry fermentation in open top fermenters, aged 12 months in 60% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose has plenty of Pinot character, offering the intense scent of Bing cherries, accented by briar, grilled mushrooms and oak. Very soft and seamless on the palate exhibiting layers of vivid black cherry and black raspberry fruit that finish with uncommon length. Very plush and velvety with unifying oak. Not as expressive now as it will be, yet this wine’s potential is obvious. Score: 94. Reviewed August 14, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 J Vineyards Barrel 16 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 400 cases, $N/A. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose offers aromas of red fruits with a hint of espresso oak. Delicious mid palate attack of perfectly ripe black cherry fruit with a hint of spiced plum. Very impressive mid weight wine with a long and glorious finish. Very good. Reviewed April 13, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 J Vineyards Freestone Hill Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 145 cases, $N/A. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Dark fruit aromas and flavors with hints of dark chocolate, cola and maple syrup. A bit brooding and murky with a touch of heat evident. Good. Reviewed April 13, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 J Vineyards & Winery Estate Grown Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.56, 9,300 cases, $37. Released September 2012. A blend of grapes drawn from some or all the ten estate vineyards. 100% de-stemmed, aged 15 months in French oak. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry cordial, raisin (cooked fruit) and vanilla. Middleweight flavors of chocolate-kissed cherries with hints of cola, rhubarb, marzipan and vanilla. Very approachable with mild tannins and plenty of luscious, Russian River fruit character, although some vibrancy is missing from a lack of acidity. Decent. Reviewed February 27, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 J Vineyards Estate Grown Russian River Valley Pinot Meunier

14.2% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.52, 120cases, $45. Sold at the winery and to club members. As a sparkling wine producer, it is not surprising that J has 3 acres of Pinot Meunier planted in Nicole’s Vineyard. Normally blended into the Cuvée 20, in 2010 a special varietal version for produced for limited release. 100% de-stemmed, fermented in Italian “Prospero” stainless steel tanks that allowed the seeds that fall to the bottom of the tank to be swept out. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Perfumed with aromas of dark red cherries and berries, spice, potpourri and oak. Middleweight flavors of dark berry fruits with an earthy bent. Soft in the mouth with a slightly rugged personality and noticeable oak in the background. An appealing wine for its individuality. A good alternative to Pinot Noir from Pinot Noir’s tom boy sister. Score: 89. Reviewed August 14, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 J Vineyards Estate Grown Robert Thomas Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 620 cases, $60. · Moderately dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. Darker stone and berry fruits are featured with attractive spice and anise. Very smooth in the mouth with notable fruit intensity on the finish. Very good. Reviewed April 13, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 J Vineyards & Winery California Pinot Gris

14.4% alc., pH 3.46, 20,000 cases, $15, screw cap. Sourced from the Russian River Valley, Monterey County and the Sacramento River Delta region. Fermented in stainless steel tanks with no MLF. Winemaker George Bursick. · Slight frizz upon pouring. Attractive aromas of tropical fruits, bananas, and lemon meringue tart. Bright and tasty with crisp flavors of yuzu, lemon curd, lychee, pear and pineapple. Very creamy in the mouth with a slightly tart finish. A superb food wine and the best example of Pinot Gris produced in California. Reviewed June 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2009 J Vineyards California Pinot Gris

14.3% alc., 20,000 cases, $15, screw cap. Grapes are sourced from Clarksburg (50%), Russian River Valley (43%), and Monterey (7%). Whole cluster gentle pressing, fermented and cooled in stainless steel tanks. No MLF. · Lovely array of tropical fruits with lemon curd in the background. Slightly viscous mouth feel with some persistence on the lengthy finish. A terrific, fruit-forward and crisp food wine that is the best example of this varietal produced in California. Good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2009 J Vineyards Cooper Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Gris

14.3% alc., 500 cases, $20. From clone 152 grown in the J estate vineyard located in front of the winery along Old Redwood Highway. Gently pressing in J’s Coquard press and primary fermentation in stainless steel tanks kept at 55 degrees. · Floral and citrus notes are featured on the nose with a crisp complement of tropical, melon and orange peel flavors. More sophisticated and mineral-imbued than the California bottling. Good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2009 J Vineyards & Winery Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $50. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels and lightly fined before bottling. · Medium reddish-purple hue in the glass. Brooding aromas of black fruit leather, black raspberries, violets, oak and spice. Tasty core of moderately rich black raspberry and blackberry fruit with hints of black tea and cola. Soft in the mouth, with firm, dry tannins. Drinking perfectly now. Very good. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 J Vineyards Nicole’s Vineyard Estate Grown Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.54, 550 cases, $50. A 45.8-acre Estate vineyard located off Eastside Road just south of the winery. Clones include 2A and Dijon 113 and 115. Aged for 12 months in 40% new Burgundian oak barrels, with an additional three months in barrel for select barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of Bing cherries, baking spices and a hint of toasty oak. Very soft and creamy on the mid palate with gossamer tannins. The theme is cherries with an added cola accent. A feminine wine that is easy to cozy up to and deserving of the winery’s “flagship” designation. Reviewed January 11, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 J Vineyards Robert Thomas Vineyard Estate Grown Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.57, 425 cases, $50. From a 47-acre Estate vineyard adjacent Westside Road at the elbow of the Russian River as it rounds a sharp corner and heads west to the Pacific Ocean. Clones are primarily Rochioli, 2A and Dijon 115. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Ripe aromatics featuring dark red fruits, black grapes, black plum and brier. Earthy, slightly rugged and masculine with medium-weighted flavors of dark cherries and berries, plum and anise persisting on the elegantly creamy finish. Very Good. Reviewed January 11, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 J Vineyards Freestone Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.57, 100 cases, $60. This vineyard is farmed by the Dutton family and overlooks the community of Freestone. The clones are 113, 115 and 667. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Reserved aromas of plum pudding, sage, spice and rose petals. Soft, creamy and delicate on the palate with shy flavors of purple berries and black cherries, slightly oaked. Picks up intensity and interest over time in the glass. Give this wine a few years in the bottle for maximum enjoyment. Good (+). Reviewed January 11, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 J Vineyards & Winery Barrel 16 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.59, 535 cases, $75. Released January 2012. A selection of 16 barrels from diverse Russian River Valley vineyards. 100% de-stemmed, open-top fermenters, aged 14 months in 35% new French oak barrels, blended, and returned to barrel for 3 months. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Enticing aromas of Bing cherries, sandalwood and oak spice. An hi-collared wine with generous flavors of black cherries, dark red strawberries, cola, graham and clove spice. Aims to please with welcoming elegance, reserved tannins and an aromatic finish steeped in spiced cherry compote. J’s top Pinot delivers. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2008 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., pH 3.50, 8,000 cases, $28. From J estate vineyards and select vineyard sites in the western Russian River Valley. Whole cluster pressed gently in J’s Coquard press with separate fermentations of free run and press juice. Combination of indigenous and custom Burgundian yeast strains. 100% barrel-fermented slowly in 40% new French oak barrels. Unusual 6-month malolactic fermentation results in a sur lie character. · Straw color in the glass. Heady, vibrant and clean aromas of white peaches, citrus, pineapple, butter and smoky oak. Very tasty offering of lemon curd, fresh brioche, caramel, butterscotch and oak spice highlighted by a smooth and creamy texture. The fruit takes center stage in this wine crafted in an appealing style that most California Chardonnay drinkers will like. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.73, 18,000 cases, $35. From estate vineyards and selected growers. 100% de-stemmed, 3-10 day cold soak, natural fermentation, aged 15 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark red berries, red cherry, red plum and rose petals are echoed in the flavors. A charming wine with nuances of earthiness and spice, restrained oak and soft tannins. The most approachable of the 2008 J Pinot Noirs and a reliable table wine. Good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 J Vineyards Barrel 16 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.64, 300 cases, $50. A special bottling of sixteen barrels chosen by the winemaker to best represent J’s estate vineyards. Aged 12 months in 30% new French oak barrels. Selected barrels were blended and returned to barrel for an additional 3 months. Sold only at the winery and to wine club members. · The least giving and shiest wine tasted on this day, but offering glimpses of a luscious core of black cherry, plum and blackberry fruit, all wrapped in soft, dusty tannins. Full, firm and concentrated, this wine needs another two years in the cellar. Decant if you drink sooner. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 J Vineyards Nicole’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.79, 720 cases, $50. This vineyard is located off Eastside Road on an eastern bench high above the Russian River and across the River from Rochioli Vineyard. This is one of the warmest sites in J’s vineyard collection. After destemming, the seeds are swept out that fall to the bottom of the tank during fermentation. This helps to eliminate green tannin flavor that immature seeds can often impart. Aged 12 months in 40% new French oak barrels. Selected barrels were blended and returned to barrel for an additional 3 months. · Very shy initially, but comes to life with swirling, offering intense and penetrating scents of ripe plum, black cherry and cassis. Flat-out delicious on the attack with intense and persistent flavors of black cherries and cola. Flavors veer to the ripe, roasted side as would be expected from this warm site in a warm vintage. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 J Vineyards Robert Thomas Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.69, 400 cases, $50. Robert Thomas Vineyards is located on Westside Road across from Moshin Vineyards. A cool vineyard amongst redwoods with great soil diversity and a subsurface water table. Because of late harvest, leaves are striped in early October on both the A.M. and P.M. sun side which is unusual for Pinot Noir. A challenging site to farm, but viticultural changes have brought the fruit to ripeness in this vintage. Clones are Rochioli, 2A and Dijon 115. · A husky wine, yet soft in the mouth. Darker cherry and berry fruits with hints of red currant and cola pick up intensity and interest over time in the glass. Noticeable grip of tannin keeps the fruit under wraps now but this youthful wine will be stellar in a year or two. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 J Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.67, 400 cases, $50. Clones are Pommard and Dijon 115 and 777. Aged 12 months in 30% new French oak barrels. Select barrels were blended and returned to barrel for an additional 3 months. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Perfume of fresh, exotic wild berries and mushroom with a hint of loamy earth and forest trail. Moderately rich ripe raspberry and plum flavors with a hint of oak spice and citrus. Silky smooth with gossamer tannins, beautiful integration of oak, and an appealing crispness. Very delicate on the palate but packed with flavor. Distinctly different from the Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs from J. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 J Vineyards & Winery Russian River Valley Pinot Gris

14.5% alc., 17,500 cases, $20. Fruit sourced from the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Santa Barbara County appellations. Whole clusters gently pressed and fermented slowly at cool temperatures in stainless steel using a variety of Alsatian yeasts. · Alsatian aromatics featuring citrus, wax, and honeycomb. Attractive honeysuckle core, lean and crisp, with lively acidity. Refreshing and easy to drink. At Sona, this was paired perfectly with Hawaiian Kanpachi, avocado, Meyer lemon vinaigrette and rice tuile. Reviewed August 4, 2008 ARTICLE »

2007 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., $28. · Light straw colored in the glass. Toasty oak and sawdust dominate the green apple aromas. Very tasty glazed apple and pear flavors with underlying notes of light caramel, brioche and oak. California-styled with plenty of oakderived aromas and flavors that will find favor with many Chardonnay lovers. Good. Reviewed May 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 14,500 cases, $35. A blend of 15 different vineyards from estate vineyards as well as selected growers in the Russian River Valley appellation. Includes a variety of clones, mostly Dijon, as well as Rochioli and 2A. Aged 15 months in 30% new French oak. Blended just before bottling. · This wine is the most expressive aromatically in the lineup. Very fragrant aromas of Bing cherries with an underpinning of baking spices. Cherry driven flavors with subtle hints of brown spice, herbs and oak. Smoothly textured, vibrant and clean with impressive harmony. Very drinkable now. Quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $35. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Alluring aromas of cherries, raspberries and baking spice. Harmoniously woven flavors of berry jam with notes of cherry, plum and cola, all of which persist on the high-toned fruity finish. Harmonious with fine, lacy tannins. About as good as it gets for a Russian River Valley appellation blend and the best from this winery in many years. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 J Vineyards Nicole’s Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 1,300 cases, $65. The fruit for this wine was harvested from J’s crown jewel hillside 42-acre vineyard planted to Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier overlooking the Russian River Valley. The soil is Arbuckle series and uplifted river material. Clones include 2A, Dijon 113, 115. Aged in 40% new French oak. · Richly scented with black cherries and ripe berries. The rich and mouth filling melange of berry fruit is supported by a tannic edge that suggests age ability. The finish goes on and on. My notes say, wow! Enough said. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 J Vineyards Robert Thomas Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 400 cases, $65. Winemakers talk about vineyards as if they have personalities and Bursick refers to Robert Thomas Vineyard as “feisty.” This 50-acre vineyard is located in a cool westerly location on Westside Road along the Russian River and is one of the last to ripen. Some parts of the vineyard never do ripen fully and are used in sparkling wine. Leaves are stripped from both sides of the vines to attempt to achieve phenolic maturity (Bursick jokes, “Kids, don’t try this at home!”). Soils are Zamora silty clay loam, dense with gravel. The clones are 114, 777, 828, Pommard, Rochioli and Swan. Aged in 40% new French oak. · Brooding and shy aromas of berry preserves, loam and mint. This wine has the most prodigious fruit and structure in the lineup, yet is not jammy. The dark red fruits are highlighted by notes of cola, tea and dark mocha. Like all the 2007 J Pinot Noirs, the texture is as satiny as a baby’s bottom. Needs time and hardy food. Very good. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 J Vineyards & Winery Barrel 16 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.82, 300 cases, $70. Released in October 2009. 16 special barrels chosen by the winemaker, George Bursick. 100% destemmed. Aged 12 months in 30% new French oak barrels and 3 additional months after blending. · Nicely composed array of aromas including red berries and cherries, sassafras and oak spices. Wow! Delicious berry melange nicely spiced with hints of mocha, sassafras and melon. Almost a spiced muffin flavor. A unique wine of modest intensity with a silky smooth texture, mild fine-grain tannins and admirable finesse. Decant if you pop the cork now. A special occasion Pinot Noir. Reviewed June 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 J Vineyards Barrel 16 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 300 cases, $70. This wine is composed of the 16 best barrels in the cellar sourced from J’s estate vineyards. Aged in 30% new French oak. · Moderately deep reddish-purple color. Shy but appealing scents of deep, dark fruit, herb garden and brioche. Luscious black cherry and black raspberry flavors are discreetly concentrated and have a remarkable persistence on the pleasing finish which displays an added echo of dark chocolate, savory herbs and toast. The tannins are very supple, and the mouthfeel is rich, sumptuous and velvety. About as perfect as it gets. Ridiculous now but will only get better with cellaring. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 J Vineyards Nonny’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 350 cases, $70. Sourced from a 70-acre vineyard adjacent River Road planted in 2000 and newly replanted in 2006 and 2007 to Dijon clones 115, 667, 777, 828 and Calera selection. The soil in this vineyard is Arbuckle Series, a reddish loam with gravel striations. Aged in 30% new French oak. · Forest floor and truffle aromas are front and center with dark fruits finding intensity with time in the glass. Earth-dusted ripe strawberry, black cherry and roasted plum flavors are lush and satisfying. The wine is caressing in the mouth with tannin so fine as to be imperceptible, and ends in a long and powerfully aromatic finish. The soil speaks loudly in this beguiling wine. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 J Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 350 cases, $70. Sourced from the southern reaches of the Sonoma Coast appellation. Aged in 30% new French oak. · An earthy wine which sports powerfully scented and flavored dark fruits that are feral and exotic in type. A hint of mint adds interest on the nose. Very smoothly textured with fine-grain tannins and the slightest hint of oak on the finish. A bright future awaits this lovely wine. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 J Vineyards & Winery Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 21,057 cases, $38. The flagship Pinot Noir sourced from estate vineyards and selected growers in the Russian River Valley appellation. Winemaking described above. Tasted at Sona Restaurant and at home. · Starts out with subtle cherry aromas with baking spice, herbs and a hint of oak. Picks up intensity with time in the glass displaying a more flamboyant cherry perfume. Soft and silky and cherry-driven with a sidecar of oak leading to a dry finish. A straight-forward, perfectly decent Pinot Noir that is ready to drink now. (Note, often found in retail market at less than the full retail price). Reviewed August 4, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 J Vineyards & Winery Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.0% alc., 2,928 cases, $40. All estate fruit. Whole grape clusters were gently pressed with a Coquard Champagne basket press. Free-run juice and press fraction juices were fermented separately with indigenous and wild yeasts. The wine was left to barrel ferment for up to four months followed by two months of malolactic fermentation without nutrients (usually Chardonnay is made “fast and clean” by adding nutrients). The Chardonnay was then blended and aged an additional six months in bottle before release. Viticulture techniques for Chardonnay are directed at avoiding strong green apple and green pear flavors (less ripe) in favor of more melon flavors (more ripe). · Appealing aromas of topical fruits, nuts and understated oak. A wine with charming restraint and delicacy, yet delivering plenty of apple flavor with hints of oak and butter. Paired beautifully at Sona with Maine lobster risotto and shellfish emulsion. Reviewed August 4, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 J Vineyards & Winery Nicole’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 1,400 cases, $65. Multiple clones, selected barrels. · This wine is a clear step up in class and will please any pinotphile. A reticent but lovely perfume of cherry compote, herbs and oak leads to an explosion of succulent raspberry fruit and spice on the palate. Elegant and sophisticated with a velvety mouth feel and an elaborate aromatic finish. This is the bomb. Reviewed August 4, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 J Vineyards & Winery Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 389 cases, $70. Sourced from the southern reaches of the Sonoma Coast appellation, five miles from the Pacific Ocean. Long hangtime with ripening not occurring until just before Thanksgiving. Clones are 115, 777, 828 and Pommard. Extended malolactic fermentation in barrel. · This wine was offered for sampling for the first time. Rather shy and withdrawn nose at this young age. Brooding, highly structured black cherry and black raspberry fruit.. Forceful, yet supple, with brisk acidity to offset the healthy tannins. This is a prodigious Pinot Noir that won’t be ready for at least another 6 to 12 months, if then. A wine to contemplate. Reviewed August 4, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 J Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

A sultry nose featuring toast and tobacco. Elegant and light in weight, the sweet cherry flavors are highlighted by herbs and toasted oak. Reviewed July 30, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 J Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 22,000 cases, $32. A blend from all of the estate vineyards. Aged 11 months in 30% new French oak. · Rich scents of wild berries and cherries. Subdued red and blue fruits with a leafy and toasty edge. Decent but lacks energy and excitement. Reviewed January 20, 2008 ARTICLE »

2002 J Vintage Brut Russian River Valley Sparkling Wine

12.5% alc., pH 3.11, 500 cases, $50. After fermentation in the bottle, the wine was aged for nearly 5 years. In 2006, a dosage of liqueur reserve wine was added to balance the wine and jump start a second fermentation. The wine was aged an additional 6 months on the cork before release. 49% Pinot Noir, 49% Chardonnay, 2% Pinot Meunier. · Aromas of lemon zest, white stone fruits and minerals. Moderately intense lemon and pear flavors follow through to the uplifting finish. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

1999 J Vintage Brut Late Disgorged Russian River Valley Sparkling Wine

12.5% alc., pH 3.11, 550 cases, $65. Sourced from several J estate vineyards including Nicole’s and Nonny’s vineyards. Whole cluster pressed in the Coquard press. Vineyard lots and press fractions were kept separate until blending, after which the wine was cold stabilized and bottled in the spring of 2000. The wine was disgorged after 9 years with a dosage composed of a blend of cask-aged reserve wines and pure cane sugar. After disgorging, the wine aged for another 15 months before release. 51% Chardonnay, 46% Pinot Noir, 3% Pinot Meunier. · Heady aromas of citrus peel, honey, minerals and yeast with delicate flavors of lemon, pear, and spice. Bright and crisp with a fine bubble. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »