Friday, March 23, 2012

Dan Berger's Wines of the Week: J Viognier & J Pinot Gris!

Volume XVI, Issue 6, March 22, 2012

Wines of the Week
2011 J Viognier, Alexander Valley, Hoot Owl Vineyard
Terrific floral/spicy, tropical fruit aroma, exactly what the variety offers; dry entry, but rich texture moderated by great acid.

2010 J Pinot Gris, Russian River Valley
This estate-grown wine has an aroma of mint/lime and tangerine; the taste is enhanced by lees contact for added texture. The flavors are lush and long.

Both available only at the tasting room and at

J Visitor Center

The topic arose the other day when I tasted two superb wines from J’s new winemaker Melissa Stackhouse that were consciously made so their textures would add to the character of the wine.
Melissa Stackhouse, J Winemaker

Both are in our Wine of the Week feature, and both have been made carefully so each has a slightly higher textural element that adds to the wines.
One is a Viognier, a wine that is usually rich and oily. To deal with some of this, Stackhouse made sure the texture was moderated with good fruit acid that leaves the wine with a brilliant “grapefruit pith” texture.
By contrast, a Pinot Gris offers more extract of fruit and “middle-of-the-grape” flavors from having been in contact with the lees, adding a bit of weight to the finish.
When evaluating wine, failing to “see” the texture as a part of the wine’s overall quality is a common failing among novices.
The two J wines are available only through the winery. There will be no retail visibility because of scant production.

Founded in 1986 by Judy Jordan, J Vineyards & Winery is an independently-owned Sonoma County winery. The Winery continues its 25th Anniversary celebration.
J Vineyards & Winery focuses on non-vintage Brut, Vintage Brut, and Brut Rosé sparkling wines, as well as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris Estate varietal wines, all produced from grapes farmed primarily within Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley appellation.
The J Vineyards & Winery Visitor Center and Bubble Room is located at 11447 Old Redwood Highway, south of Healdsburg. To learn more, or to join the J Wine Club, go to
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