2017 J Vineyards & Winery California Pinot Gris


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. 


Like a youth growing up in the California sunshine, J Pinot Gris is complex without being too serious and can brighten our day with ripe fruit, refreshing acidity and a luscious texture. The fruit is sourced from a combination of warm and cool locations – Lodi, Clarksburg and the Russian River Valley. Made entirely in stainless steel and without malolactic fermentation, the wine offers a bright and refreshing mouthful of citrus, pineapple, Asian pear and a touch of honey. J Pinot Gris offers a great way to end an afternoon or start a meal. The acidity and bold flavors will pair well with Couscous salad, Thai soup, crab cakes or sashimi.


Handpicked grapes were whole-cluster pressed and fermented in separate lots. Malolactic fermentation was avoided to emphasize fresh and pure fruit. Lots were aged separately in stainless steel tanks before blending.

Tasting notes

90 points – Wilfred Wong (wine.com); 88 points – Wine Enthusiast. Enticing aromas of candied pineapple, lemongrass, white peach and jasmine precede a mouthful of Anjou pear, yellow apple and lime. The medium-bodied wine finishes with zest and minerality.




Pinot Gris




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