Even unopened, the sleek, clear glass bottle filled with luminous cool pink wine is a conversation piece – just the thing to get a party started. But in the glass is where this fruit-driven and full-flavored sparkling wine really shines. A blend of 64% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay and 2% Pinot Meunier, this Rosé has substantial body and concentrated red fruit flavors but plenty of acidity and a clean finish. Three years aging on the lees has given the wine a toasty, fresh-baked bread character that recalls Champagne.
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)||58% Pinot Noir, 32% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier|
|Bottle Size||10.0 x 32.5|
|Case Size||40.5 x 30.5 x 33.5|
After hand-harvesting, the grapes were not de-stemmed but gently pressed in whole clusters so as to avoid picking up any astringency from stems or seeds. The Pinot Noir was given the Saignée treatment: after a short period of skin contact, a proportion of lightly-colored juice was bled off and used to give this rosé its beautiful color. After the final blend was assembled, it was bottled for the secondary fermentation and 30 months’ aging.
Delicate strawberry, raspberry and nectarine aromas are underlined with notes of toast and yeast. In the palate, the wine is flamboyant and bright with crisp red berries, blood orange and lemon peel. The depth and concentration of flavor as well as the elegance and balance are outstanding.