Jack Creek Cellars
When you hear Paso Robles wine country, you think Zinfandel and Rhone varietals. But, the York Mountain area lies west in the Templeton Gap where maritime influence reaches far enough inland to produce cool microclimates and creates an ideal growing region for Pinot Noir. Foggy mornings, warm days and cooling afternoon breezes suit Pinot Noir just fine. Adelaida Cellars and its historic HMR Vineyard (planted in the early 1960s), and Windward Vineyard have produced some very credible Pinot Noirs from this region. Still others, including Bianchi Vineyards, Casa De Caballos Vineyards, Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards, and York Mountain Winery, have made Pinot Noir fanciers take note. The latest kid on the block is Jack Creek Cellars. You won’t meet another couple who are more passionate about Pinot Noir than Doug and Sabrina Krause. Doug is a burly, lumberjack-like figure with a soft spot for Pinot Noir. He was in the grain feed business in Southern California and acquired enough financial resources to start his own winery. He sold his business and bought the front 75 acres of JRK Ranch located in Templeton, 7 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. The site is located at the southern end of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. In 1997, he planted 20 acres to Pinot Noir (115, 2A, Pommard), 4 acres to Chardonnay, and a little to Syrah. Recently, he has planted more Pinot Noir (Dijon 828 and 943) and more Syrah and Grenache.
Doug and Sabrina are totally immersed in their new lifestyle and eagerly travel the country to sell their wines. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they have to service major accounts in Hawaii, Chicago and Scottsdale. Currently they produce about 1500 cases, primarily Pinot Noir with a little Chardonnay and Syrah. Eventually, they plan to reach 2500-3000 cases. They also sell some of their grapes to notable producers like Tony Craig at Sonnet Wines.
Doug is not shy in admitting he prefers a bigger style of Pinot Noir. He produces two Pinot Noirs: an estate bottling that is more traditional for California and a reserve bottle that is fat and opulent. He says that his customers are split - about half preferring the regular bottling and half relishing the reserve bottling.
Jack Creek Cellars is located at 5265 Jack Creek Road, Templeton, CA (just off Hwy 46, a short drive from Hwy 1 or Hwy 101). Tasting by appointment. The phone is 805-226-8283. Wine may be ordered on the website. The Syrah is one big fruit bomb and deserves attention for those with a Rhone bent.
Articles About Jack Creek Cellars
2007 Jack Creek Cellars Kruse Vineyards Estate Reserve Central Coast Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., $42. The Kruse Vineyard is located at the South end of the Santa Lucia Highlands Mountain range in Templeton. · The big nose features black fruits, spice, white pepper, wood box and a hint of alcohol. Beefy core of blackberry, raspberry and bruised plum fruit with oak in the background. Very big and Caliesque. Heavy-handed with a jolt of tannin and alcohol. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »
2005 Jack Creek Cellars Estate York Mountain Pinot Noir
$32. · Appealing aromatics of dark fruits, anise and clove. There is a substantial dark fruit core which is still overpowered by oak at this time. Reviewed July 16, 2007 ARTICLE »
2005 Jack Creek Cellars Reserve York Mountain Pinot Noir
Even more structure and power here, syrah-like. Despite the prodigious fruit, the texture is silky and comforting. Not for the faint of heart. Reviewed July 16, 2007 ARTICLE »
2004 Jack Creek Cellars Kruse Vineyard York Mountain Templeton Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $32. · A medium-bodied wine with a warm robe of dark violet. The nose is substantial with notes of dark cherries and licorice. With air time the wine becomes really plush on the palate - as smooth as a baby’s bottom. The finish lingers with black raspberry, oak and fine dusty tannins. A wine that really reflects the terroir of this vineyard. Reviewed November 26, 2006 ARTICLE »
2004 Jack Creek Cellars Kruse Vineyard York Mountain Templeton Reserve Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $42. · Everything is ramped up here. The color is dark. The nose is a bit closed at this point with buttery toast and earth notes and a hint of alcohol. This is a rich, full-bodied wine with mountainous fruit, especially plum flavors. There is a solid backbone of oak and tannins that works in harmony with the fruit. The finish is pure and clean. A Big Gulp for lovers of hardy Cali Pinot Noir. Reviewed November 26, 2006 ARTICLE »
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