Friday, June 19, 2009
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
Robb Report’s Senior Vice President, Editor in Chief
Sparkling wine: the view from California
By Steve Heimoff
A great California bubbly, right up at the top. It’s unusual for a sparkling wine house to hold back their basic vintage brut this long, but J did, and consumers benefit. The wine has some bottle age, and is softly picking up nutty, dried fruit, floral and yeasty notes. Enormously complex, it should continue to develop for many years.
— S.H. (12/31/2008)
Monday, June 15, 2009
91 Points & Featured Wine - Wine Review On-line
J Vineyards & Winery, Russian River Valley (Sonoma County, California) Pinot Noir 2006 ($38)
This fragrant Pinot Noir, made under the guidance of George Bursick, formerly of Ferrari-Carano, was aged for 12 months in French oak barrels and draws admirably on the potential of Russian River fruit. Forward and fragrant with traces of anise, boiled tea and red berries, there is a sweet fruit attack, with medium fruit and tannins and a long finish at 14.3% alcohol. Made from J's estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley, it shows a lot of class and potential. 91 Gerald D. Boyd