J Vineyard’s signature sparkling wine is made for celebrations – whether a special occasion or just life itself. The classic grapes of Champagne are here: Chardonnay (49%), Pinot Noir (49%) and Pinot Meuniere (2%), sourced from a range of Russian River Valley vineyards that suffuse the wine with a spectrum of complex fruit flavors and mineral notes. Bubbles stream up into a golden mousse, giving the wine a creamy and elegant texture. Think fresh fruit served atop cinnamon toast and drizzled with wild honey and you get an idea of the flavors that await.
J Vineyards and Winery produces highly-acclaimed sparkling wines as well as varietal wines in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. As the daughter of Tom Jordan, founder of Jordan Winery, Judy Jordan was raised amidst the hustle and bustle of an influential rising star in Sonoma County’s wine industry. Rather than join the family business, however, she struck out to pursue a passion for sparkling wine and to establish the Russian River Valley as a premier location for sparkling wine.
With a foggy cool climate as well as a wide range of complex volcanic and alluvial soils, the Russian River Valley has been attracting vintners of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay seeking the holy grail of a perfect Burgundian terroir. The qualities are similarly advantageous for sparkling wine producers though not for quite the same reasons. Unlike the maker of still wines, the sparkling wine producer is typically not interested in capturing the essence of a particular vintage or vineyard but in creating a delicious and consistent house style. Blending the base wines (that will then be bottled with some sugar and yeast for the secondary fermentation) is key to the art. In early spring, the finished Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier wines from different vineyards will be sitting in dozens of tanks. From these lots, the winemaker will painstakingly assemble the base wines, possibly adding in some reserve wines from earlier vintages for additional complexity. J Vineyards, with 10 estate vineyards spread out across the AVA, is assured of a great diversity from which to assemble great and complex base wines. The cool climate of the Russian River Valley also offers J Vineyards an advantage because they can begin the harvest a bit later than in warmer areas and still get the high acidity and low sugar necessary for high quality sparkling wine.
While J Vineyards started out as a sparkling wine producer, it became clear over time that, with so many vineyards in prime Russian River Valley locations, the opportunities for making distinctive varietal wines were there for the taking. Today only about 35% of J Vineyards’ total production is devoted to sparkling wine with the rest divided between single vineyard and blended bottlings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.
|Appellation(s)||Russian River Valley (Sonoma)|
|Winery||J Vineyards & Winery|
|Varietal(s)||54% Chardonnay, 43% Pinot Noir, 3% Pinot Meunier|
|Bottle Size||10.0 x 32.5|
|Case Size||40.5 x 30.5 x 33.5|
Aromas of lemon peel, tangerine and apricot bubble up from the mousse. On the palate, flavors that begin with crisp apple and grapefruit evolve into toast, caramel, warm pear and almond. The acidity is lively and leads to a lingering lush finish.
Following a night’s harvest by hand, whole clusters of grapes were loaded into the press for the light squeeze from which the highest quality free run juice was obtained. The juice from different grapes and vineyard lots was fermented and kept separately until the assemblage of the final blend, to which about 5% of oak-aged reserve wines from earlier vintages was added for depth and consistency. After the second fermentation in the bottle, the wine was stored in bottles on the lees for three years. Disgorging eliminated the dead yeast cells and the addition of liqueur and cane sugar (the dosage) balanced the dry wine with a touch of sweetness.