Friday, June 19, 2009

Brett Anderson of the Robb Report - J Vineyards’ Bubble Room Revisited



Robb Report
June 19, 2009
J Vineyards’ Bubble Room Revisited


I recently had the pleasure of revisiting the Bubble Room at J Vineyards and Winery—an elegantly appointed salon with views of the property’s garden’s and lily ponds, where guests can gather, enjoy a glass of sparkling wine before their vineyard tour, and later sit down to regale their senses with the extraordinary wine and food pairings created by chef Mark E. Caldwell. After a walk through the breeze-strewn Nicole’s Vineyard in California’s Russian River Valley, I tasted the current vintage of Pinot noir from that particular site. The J Vineyards 2006 Nicole’s Vineyard Pinot Noir has a brilliant garnet color and a jam-like character. The nose exudes pomegranate, raspberry, cranberry, and lovely rose-petal aroma. The palate is intense and juicy with wild cherry and lingonberry, more pomegranate, and caramel. The long finish shows sturdy tannins and a creamy final note of cherry vanilla.

Back in the Bubble Room, we tasted through J’s current releases of still wine (owner Judy Jordan originally focused on sparkling wines when she founded the winery in 1986) and the non-vintage sparkling rosé—all of which were accompanied by Chef Caldwell’s creations. The 2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, paired with spring asparagus soup topped with crème fraîche, has an intoxicating hazelnut nose and a beautifully rich viscosity. Nectarine and lemon-lime flavors refresh the taste buds, and the finish culminates with a tingling minerality. The wine is reminiscent of a Puligny-Montrachet.

The 2006 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir—accompanied by Masami beef in roasted-garlic vinaigrette—is one of the most complete expressions of the region and includes a wide variety of blocks of fruit that represent the diversity of soils found there. Garnet in color with a slight copper tinge, this pinot has a nose of spice, cherry, and smoked game. The palate is dominated by rich cherry, cranberry, smoky sage, wild mushroom, and a piquant touch of rusty minerality.

Although all of the still wines made a good showing, my favorite of the tasting was definitely the Non-vintage Brut Rosé. This extraordinary sparkling wine, light salmon-pink in color, has a nose of buttery brioche and brine. Its texture is magnificent—a fluffy meringue that coats the mouth, especially on the mid-palate, with flavors of white raspberry and a cherry-lozenge sweetness. To learn more about the Bubble Room experience or make reservations, visit www.jwine.com/bubbleroom

—Brett Anderson
Robb Report’s Senior Vice President, Editor in Chief