At just 25 years old, Judy Jordan set out to create J Vineyards & Winery, located in the heart of the Russian River Valley. Thirty years and 80,000 cases later, J Vineyards has earned a reputation for its impressive culinary and tasting experiences, along with its award-winning wines. The winery’s growing success garnered the attention of one of the largest wine producers, E. & J. Gallo Winery. In 2015, Gallo acquired J Vineyards and has continued its legacy as the leading sparkling wine and food pairing house in California.
J Vineyards, Uncork The Joy
Nov 29, 2019
J Vineyards Tasting Experience
Visiting J Vineyards & Winery is an unforgettable experience. The winery offers four distinct tasting and dining experiences: J Signature, J Tour & Tasting, J Legacy, and The Bubble Room. In the J Signature Tasting, you can try a selection of five Russian River Valley sparkling and varietal wines. But if you’re looking for a little bit more, the J Legacy tasting offers a flight of small-production and reserve wines that are perfectly paired with artisan cheeses. J Tour & Tasting entails a behind-the-scenes tour with a J Wine Specialist who will share how J Vineyards’ outstanding sparkling and varietal wines are made, and a visit to two estate vineyards where you can see the crush pad where grapes are pressed, plus riddling, bottling and fermentation areas.
While all of these experiences are unique, the heart of J Vineyards’ hospitality program was built on its creative sparkling wine and food pairing. The Bubble Room tasting allows you to immerse yourself in an innovative exploration of Sonoma-inspired food and wine. You are guided through a five-course meal prepared by Executive Chef Carl Shelton that showcases the character and elegance of the acclaimed wines from J winemaker Nicole Hitchcock. Chef Carl develops a new, seasonal pairing menu every six weeks, giving guests a unique gourmet experience each time you visit.
J Vineyards Wine Philosophy
Situated in the vine-friendly Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, J Vineyards utilizes many Old-World techniques and traditions into its winemaking. A prominent aspect of their method is the use of the Coquard press. In fact, Judy Jordan was the first to use a Coquard press in America.
Conventional Champagne presses worked sufficiently well but were unable to separate the juice from the skins, stems and seeds during the process, causing the whole mix to tumble together until the juice could be fully drained. With the new Coquard press, grape clusters remain intact while the juice is slowly extracted via a soft bladder that gently expands, allowing fresh juice to drain completely free of any solid material. Keeping the juice apart from the solids minimizes the chance of off-flavors in the final cuvée, where nuance is designed to trump bitterness.
Apart from the Coquard presses, another distinguishing method of J Vineyards’ winemaking is that all sparkling grapes are hand-harvested at night in cool temperatures. This ensures that the grapes remain in peak condition. After going through an ultra-gentle pressing, the grapes move onto a (much longer than most) 30-month ”en-tirage” aging period.
All great sparkling wine producers have secrets that make their wines personal and J Vineyards is no exception. J Vineyards use slightly higher fermentation temperatures that extract a more refined and textured yeast flavor, hence J’s subtle hints of fresh-baked bread as an undertone to its otherwise lively fruit expression.
This element of their process is what defines J Vineyards’ unique signature based on the wine’s crisp, fruity, but also slightly toasty, white peach and tropical fruit style points.
The J Vineyards wsparkling wine range has expanded as the winery has grown, but at Wine Warehouse, it consists of an essential quartet. The broadly popular J Vineyards California Cuvée, J Cuvée Brut 20, and both J Vineyards Brut Rosé and off-dry J Vineyards Extra Brut. The canvas is complete with these four.
As good as it’s been at J Vineyards for the last 30 years, the next 30 or so are sure to be just as lively and maybe even more innnovative – if that’s even possible. In the meantime, lift a glass and cheers!
J VINEYARDS SPARKLING
“Beautifully harmonious with intriguing layers of quince, oyster shell, citrus, plum and lime peel. A dry, soft mousse which to be enjoyed now or within the next few years.” – 96pts Decanter; 91pts Wine Enthusiast
“Nutty and substantial in texture, this pink sparkler is abundant in white peach, flowers and green apple. It’s sharp and focused, with rich undertones of cherry and rose. The developed mouthfeel is balanced by dry, stony acidity.” – 90pts Wine Enthusiast; 90pts Wine Advocate
“Flavorful and polished, this supple wine blends subtle apple and pear notes with buttery, creamy accents. It is rich in character and softly framed by fine bubbles and elegant acidity, with a hint of sweetness on the finish.” – 90pts Wine Enthusiast; 90pts James Suckling