By Sandy Gluck
March 9, 2010
I had a really informative tasting at J Vineyards in the Russian River Valley yesterday. Their pinot noirs and Russian River Valley wines were recently named as some of the top restaurant wines by Wine and Spirits magazine. George Rose, public relations director gave us a mini tour of the winery. We got to see machines for both the riddling and disgorging process of sparkling wines. Sparkling wine makes up 20% of the wine produced. We tasted 5 wines — a pinot gris, 2 pinot noirs, and 2 sparkling wines paired with an assortment of cheese and meat. Check out my photos from the wine tasting!
George Bursick, vice president of winemaking, shared his extensive knowledge. For instance, pinot noir grapes have only one pigment – red so if you’re looking at a pinot noir and it has a deep purple hue, it’s been blended with another grape. Who knew? It can also get bitter as the juice sits on the seeds so the sooner they’re removed, the better.
But taste, now that’s something that each person experiences in a different way. Lisa Mantineo, AKA Monty (producer of Everyday Food), and Ralph Stieber, my husband, both preferred the 2007 J Vineyards Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, a blend, while my favorite was the 2007 J Vineyards Pinot Noir, Nicole’s Vineyard. We agreed on the pinot gris, soft and lovely, perfect with the La Tur and Manchego cheeses.
On to the sparklings. Brut Rose was fresh tasting and slightly sweet while the 2000 J Vintage Brut, was crisp and luscious. And our hosts, thanks to George Bursick, George Rose, and Genny (who poured). And if they weren’t gracious enough, they even provided (in concert with mother nature), a double rainbow for our ride home!