Published on November 23rd, 2013 | by Greg0
J Vineyards: Bright Bruts For The Holidays
Whatever is on your menu this holiday season, chances are that it will include some wine. Beer is great at a game, and spirits mix nicely at a bar, but while relaxing at home or entertaining a group, you should break out the nice glasses. Recently, we looked at a couple of other flexible options for the table, but today’s are the ideal appetizer or mingle wines. We suggest popping these open during any big announcements, or just saving them for the celebrations around the fire, or the post-meal lounge.
We’ve tried out several wines from J Vineyards before, a California wine that is distinctive for several reasons. For starters, it was founded by a woman, Judy Jordan, and winemaker Melissa Stackhouse continues to thrive in a very male-dominated business. Today’s pair of J Vineyards sparkling wines takes traditional Champagne-style techniques and applies them to New World grapes.
We’ll start with the perfect introduction to hors d’oeuvres- the J Vineyards Brut Rosé, a light salmon-colored wine made from 66% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay. Grapes were hand harvested, and some of the Pinot Noir skins left on to add color. At least two and a half years of aging later, with some secondary fermentation in the bottle, you’re greeted with a pop and fizz that is clearly classy, and notes of fresh berries and a little herbal and floral side. It’s not too sweet, and the acidity allows it to hold up to seafood like oysters or smoked salmon. Available for around $38 a bottle, it’s ready to drink now- or for New Year’s!
Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley is home to some of the finest wines in America. Making them into a Cuvee to celebrate twenty years of great wines, J Vineyards’ 20 Brut NV lives up to the name and history, and is our favorite sparkling wine this season. While you might imagine a pretty straightforward process for many wines, this one’s journey sounds intense:
“The grapes for this cuvée (blend) were hand harvested into small quarter-ton bins and placed as whole clusters, without destemming, into our special Coquard presses for a gentle pressing cycle. Juice from each vineyard lot was fermented and kept separately until blending. The cuvée was assembled and cold-stabilized to remove excess tartrates and then bottled in the spring. After the secondary fermentation occurred in the bottle, the wine aged for an average of two more years in the cellar. The bottles were carefully riddled to remove the yeast sediment. Following disgorging, a dosage liqueur of reserve wine and pure cane sugar was added. An additional six months of aging on the cork before release ensured a perfect balance of flavors.”
Extra-dry and effervescently sweet, we loved the pear nose on this, and the crisp, lemony feel. It was too bright for some folks, but highly drinkable. Crisp, fruity, and not too expensive, expect to spend around $28.