The wine tasting from J Vineyards & Winery was thoroughly enjoyable. The winery began in 1986 by Judy Jordan, the daughter of Tom Jordan, founder of Jordan Vineyard & Winery fame. The father and daughter team began as equal partners, until the daughter was able to buy out her father and she became sole proprietor. As I stated earlier for the first ten years they only produced the J Vineyard Brut and what a fine job they did with it. Scott Anderson went up the ranks at the winery and finally went to Associate Winemaker with Nicole Hitchcock and he made the evening most enjoyable discussing some of the nuances of this job. In 2015 E&J Gallo bought J Vineyards & Winery and Scott maintained his position with the change of command. After the tasting, I had a chance to discuss wines with him and when I found out that he was staying at the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit, I learned that he had eaten at Roast, the first evening, and being a staunch Detroiter, I strongly urged him to walk out the side door of the hotel and cross the street and to go into Lafayette Coney Island to try one of the unique dining opportunities in Detroit and that they are an institution. I even get side-tracked in conversations.
The first red wine for the evening was the J Vineyard Pinot Noir California 2015. This was a blend of Pinot Noir from three areas. Seventy percent of the fruit came from the Olson Ranch in Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County and I have been praising the Pinots from that region for some time. Twenty-six percent of the fruit came from the Russian River Valley and four percent was harvested from Santa Maria Valley AVA in Santa Barbara County. The different wines were aged for six to seven months in a mix of French and American Oak, then blended and bottled. I thought this was the wine of the evening, as it impressed me on all points of the tasting.
The last wine of the evening was stellar and if I hadn’t been blown away from the last bottle, this one would have done it for me. The J Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir 2014 had fruit from all eight of the Russian River Valley estates. This was their flagship wine for the Pinot Noir line and there were ninety-nine different lots of fruit that was aged for eight months in French Oak, of which twenty-five percent were new and then aged in the bottle for an additional nine months before release. Just some truly wonderful wines, that seemed to evaporate in the glass after being poured and a delightful speaker who you could tell enjoyed winemaking much more than marketing.