Jonata (“Ho-notta”) may just be the most high-profile new cult producer in Santa Barbara County. The winery is under the joint ownership of Charles Banks, a money manager for athletes, and Stanley Kroenke, a Denver real estate developer, who also jointly own Screaming Eagle (purchased for $90 million). The Jonata estate is in the Buellton-Ballard Canyon area of the Santa Ynez Valley appellation and consists of 586 acres with 83 acres planted to warm-weather red varieties and Sauvignon Blanc. Pinot Noir is sourced from Fiddlestix Vineyard with plans to develop an estate vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills in the future.
The young winemaker is Matthew Dees, an East Coast transplant who learned his winemaking at Staglin Family Vineyard and Craggy Range in New Zealand. He joined Jonata in 2004. The consulting enologist is famed Michel Rolland.
Jonata wines are sold bundled through a mailing list at www.jonata.com. with very limited retail distribution. There are two Pinot Noirs in the 2006 vintage - La Poesia de Jonata ($90) and La Cancion de Jonata ($125). The Pinot Noirs are full-bodied, rich and very appealing. A single value-priced Pinot Noir sourced from the Santa Maria Valley and Sta. Rita Hills called The Paring is also available ($25). 805-564-8591.
2006 Jonata La Poesia de Jonata Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
15.2% alc., $90. · A rich, big-boned Pinot Noir with alluring scents of ripe black cherry liquor and a hint of oak char. Full-bodied darker fruits enhanced by savory herbs and oak with a grilled fruit and soy accent. Nicely balanced with a lovely smooth velvety texture and enough acidity to bring the fruit into focus. The aromatic finish lingers on and on. An expensive bottle of wine, but one that really delivers the goods. Reviewed October 1, 2008 ARTICLE »
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