Monday, February 28, 2011

Redwood Hill Farm Event at J Vineyards & Winery

March 5, 2011

Event open to: All Welcome

We look forward to you joining us for a tasting of internationally renowned goat cheeses from Sebastopol, CA! The Bice family has owned and operated Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery for over 40 years. They are committed to making the best tasting, least processed organic goat milk products and as a result, continue to consistently earn gold medals.

As active participants in the Slow Food movement, they have established themselves as entrepreneurs as well as pioneers in the world of artisan cheeses in California. Their number one goal is to produce world-class goat milk products while providing a satisfying and sustainable life-style for the farm, its employees and the goats. As a green business, they are advocates of creating a socially and environmentally responsible economy.

This event is complimentary with a tasting and is complimentary for Wine Club members. No reservation required for this event.  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wine, Etc.: Spotlighting terrific pinot noirs from California!

Surely there never will be a satisfying conclusion to the argument over who has the best pinot noirs - Oregon or California. Both regions produce superior wines, however different stylistically.

WOW! J Vineyards & Winery 2008 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley); $35.  Wow, this is the most impressive regular pinot noir we've tasted from this producer. Very bright and generous fruit flavors of raspberries and black cherries with a dash of vanilla. 
By TOM MARQUARDT & PATRICK DARR, February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

J Vineyards celebrates its sparkling roots while looking to the future with varietal wines!


It's last fall in Sonoma County's Russian River Valley, and it's raining. Biblically, torrentially raining. A pray-for-the-harvest rain. The kind that soaks in quick and deep like petite sirah.

But inside the visitors center at J Vineyards & Winery near Healdsburg, Calif., there's a party in full flower.

Ranks of vintage and Cuvée 20 brut whoosh by on trays. Flutes of brut rosé blush in the Bubble Room, J's sleek pairing space. At the tasting bar, beneath soaring panels of painted steel, a trio shares a bottle of creamy, biscuity '99 Late Disgorged brut.

All of which is to be expected. For 20 years, J has made its name with bubbles, and for some drinkers, the winery's iconic bottle -- a golden J brushed against cool green glass -- has become nearly synonymous with domestic sparkling wine.

But there are other pours at this party: crisp, gently honeyed pinot gris; nicely finishing Russian River Valley chardonnay; and a cluster of pinot noirs from J's nearly 275 vineyard acres.

In fact, even as J's image continues to be strongly shaped by bubbles, it has devoted significant resources in the past several years to expanding and promoting its varietal wines.

"Sparkling is what brought us to the dance, but there are other opportunities in the vineyards," said George Bursick, J's vice president of winemaking. "The future for J is in the varietal wines."

New brand

In 2008, J acquired three new varietal vineyards and sold three vineyards previously devoted to sparkling wine.

In 2009, the winery debuted new labels and the J Vineyards brand to distinguish the varietal wines from the sparklers.

Northern Nevada wine merchants carry the '08 Russian River Valley chardonnay, '09 California pinot gris, the '07 and '08 Russian River Valley pinot noirs, along with the Cuvée 20 and brut rosé sparkling wines.

And Bursick, whom J founder and owner Judy Jordan brought on board in 2006, has a local connection. For many years, he was winemaker at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery, owned by Don and Rhonda Carano of Reno.

The 100 percent barrel-fermented chardonnay is lemony and peachy and flecked with spice. The wine, Bursick said, "is more Montrachet in style, more delicate, than I did at Ferrari-Carano."

Bursick's California pinot gris, crafted using grapes from three appellations, is rounder than an Oregon-style pinot gris, owing some of that character to its vanilla flavors and to Bursick's enthusiasm for mouthfeel.

Pinot and more

J produces several pinot noirs, but only the floral, berried Russian River Valley release is distributed locally. For the vineyard-designate pinots, you'll have to visit J's tasting room, one of the most stylish in the California wine country.

Grapes for the Russian River pinot are drawn from J's estate vineyards and from other growers in the appellation.

The fruit for the '08 vintage was harvested at night. The wine was aged for 15 months in French oak barrels, returned to the barrel after blending (and before bottling), and then idled at least six months after bottling.

"All my tricks I learned with sangiovese, I learned with pinot noir," Bursick said. "With both, you have to protect the fruit."

Beyond the core varietal wines, Bursick also is making a vineyard-designate viognier, a Russian River Valley vin gris, and a plush dessert wine fashioned from small amounts of chardonnay, pinot gris and pinot noir blended with Germain-Robin brandy from Mendocino County to the north.

Bursick is even doing a dusky pinotage, about 400 cases annually, from three acres planted to this red South African varietal.

"We are reinventing ourselves, redefining ourselves," Bursick said of all his and Jordan's varietal efforts. "We hope people keep an open mind."

This aerial view encompasses vineyards of J Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma County's Russian River Valley. J, long celebrated for its sparkling wines, has enthusiastically embraced varietal winemaking in the past several years. (Provided by J Vineyards & Winery)
J Vineyards & Winery produces Russian River Valley pinot noir, shown here, and several vintage-designate pinot noirs not distributed in Northern Nevada but poured at J's stylish tasting room outside Healdsburg. (Provided by J Vineyards & Winery)

J Cuvée 20 brut sparkling wine, J brut rosé sparkling wine, '08 Russian River Valley chardonnay, '09 California pinot gris, and '07 and '08 Russian River Valley pinot noirs are available locally.

Retailers might not carry every release.

» Aloha Discount Wine & Liquors, 4555 S. Carson St., Carson City, 775-882-5544

» Ben's Fine Wine & Spirits, 3480 Lakeside Drive, 775-829-2367, and 10870 S. Virginia St., 775-853-2367

» Fine Vines Cheese and Wines, 6300 Mae Anne Ave., west of Robb Drive, 775-787-6300

» L'uva Bella Wine Gallery, 13925 S. Virginia St., in the Summit, 775-851-1110

» Whispering Vine Wine Co., 3886 Mayberry Drive, 775-787-9463, and 95 Foothill Road, 775-622-8080

11447 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, Calif.
Phone: 707-431-5400
On the web:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Get her tipsy, feed her chocolate!

February 11 - 20, 2011
J Vineyards & Winery, Bubble Room


February 8th, 2011 07:50am

I don’t know about you, but I’m not above whetting my wife’s more carnal appetites with enough wine and chocolate to impair her better judgment. I’m sure that’s all very un-PC and certainly, as the father of young daughters, I live in mortal fear of the effects of alcohol on sensibility; but my wife’s a big girl, and above all, she knows how I think, so I’m pretty sure our pending Valentine’s Datea savory symphony of handcrafted chocolate and wine at J Winery – will be consensual.

As a rule, I view Valentine’s Day rather dimly. It’s not that I’m a Grinch, it’s just that I tire of the obligatory expense, the Weimar Republican inflation of menu prices and long-stemmed roses, the topsy-turvy calculus of a holiday on which profligate spending is simply expected and only an absence of gifts attracts attention. But I’m trying to be less crusty and more romantic with the accelerating rush of time, and anyway, the grandparents volunteered to babysit our litter – if the first rule of child rearing is never to wake a sleeping baby, then the second is surely never to decline free babysitting. Or any babysitting.

So, instead of bitching about Hallmark Holidays, I’m leaving my kids with the ‘rents and taking my wife to “TCHO and Pinot”, what promises to be an extravagant mouth-party of artisanal TCHO chocolate and J Winery Pinot Noir, welded seamlessly together in Chef Mark Caldwell’s kitchen, and – you heard it here first – an official Best Bet To Make Her Smile and You Lucky.

Photo credits: J Winery, TCHO Chocolate

The meal itself promises wonderful things: Beef braised in cocoa nib tea; a cocoa-crusted loin of lamb with a cocoa-infused reduction of Pinot Noir; and root vegetables and whatever else Mark can get his hands on that is best, seasonal, and local at the moment. All in all, a compelling excuse to spend an afternoon with my wife, in a pretty little room with lots of light and views of our valley, and just enough room to play footsie. Although I’m still not buying that velveteen heart-shaped box or schmaltzy card.

About This Blog
The Proximal Kitchen is the bastard lovechild of Scott Kerson, a recovering hedge fund addict, husband, father, and dedicated home cook with a passion for food, wine, and the natural affluence of Sonoma County soils. Since trading in the avenues of Manhattan for the vine rows of the Russian River Valley, Scott has hit upon a simple philosophy: Purchase the best ingredients you can directly from the people who farm them, prepare them with care, and you will eat better and learn something about life in the process. Scott puts this idea into practice with seasonal shopping tips, foodie factoids, classic and original recipes, and observations on everything from getting your kids to eat real food to the importance of sharpening your knives.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Russian River Valley Winegrower’s Cioppino Dinner, March 5th, 5:30 to 10 p.m.

The Crab is Back – a Russian River Valley Winegrower’s Cioppino Dinner. The wine growers and wine makers of the Russian River Valley will host a Russian River themed evening at Grace Pavilion at Sonoma County Fairgrounds on March 5th. A full array of the regions wines will be poured at 4 tasting bars, a seafood cioppino dinner with appetizers, salad and bread are on the menu. Fly casting and fly tying demonstrations, informational displays, DJ Music and a special “Tube Lounge” complete with inner-tube bar stools!
March 5th, 5:30 to 10 p.m.
$55 general admission, $520/$65 per person for table of 8
For tickets: or 707-521-2534