This Jack London Cabernet Sauvignon was included in the line up during my one-on-one tasting with Kenwood Vineyards winemaker Pat Henderson. Previous to this, I had only tasted the Jack London Zinfandel, which I had a mixed-review for. But this Cab — well, you’ll just have to read the review.
Kenwood Vineyards Six Ridges line is named after the mountain ridges that border the Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Coast. I had the opportunity to taste and talk with Kenwood Vineyards winemaker Pat Henderson about the Six Ridges Pinot Noir. Here are our collective tasting notes.
If you’re from California or enjoy California wines, the concept of an “unoaked” Chardonnay may confuse and baffle you. Like, what’s the point? But, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, winemakers are like chefs: they know their ingredients in their separate parts, and they know their ingredients as a combined whole. With that experienced knowledge, winemakers will make their harvesting, pressing, fermenting, and aging choices. And good winemakers, like good chefs, will never distribute something they’re not 100% proud of. Now, that’s not to say that it will be to every person’s palate. If you’re a hardcore Cal-oaky Chard kind of person, then that’s your right and privilege. Personally, I like to experiment. And, though, I’ve had a few (unmentionable) un-tasty unoaked Chards in my time, I figured, why not give Joel Gott a go. I’ve had good experiences with his wines in the past (see Joel Gott Pinot Gris), his wines, on the whole, have a good reputation, and for ten bucks — might as well, right? So, I present to you, Joel Gott California Unoaked Chardonnay…
In the mood for a Cab, but not necessarily one inundated with chewy tannins or one that makes you work to taste the actual fruit juice? Yeah, me too. And for just such an occasion, I keep Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon as a regular tenant in my cellar.
The first time I bought this wine, it was on a whim, thinking (as I always do) that Chateau St. Jean is a good, reliable vintner. I trust they know how to accentuate flavors when called for (as in their Chardonnay), and hold back when needed (hello, Fume Blanc). So, I put my trust in CSJ when picking out a Cab for the evening — something not too bold, but not too timid, but just right. Yes, the Goldilocks standard of Cab-perfection.
PS Yes, this photo is a little crookers…sorry!