Back in 1974, Jess Jackson saw in the fine vineyards of California's cool coastal regions fruit with a variety of outstanding flavors. What if there was a way to produce from this abundance, a single outstanding "cuvée" that offered both quality and value? The result, first released in 1983, was Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay, a rich, round and flavorful wine, made with hand-crafted methods. That same year, Grand Reserve was introduced, a line of ultra-premium wines that represented the full potential of California's finest vineyards and winemaking. Today, over 5,000 acres of vineyard in California's coastal regions are farmed by Kendall-Jackson. Four separate wineries house what is possibly the single largest barrel-fermentation project in the world. But perhaps most important, is that Kendall-Jackson remains a family-owned winery.
Learn More About Riesling
The Riesling grape is happiest in a cooler climate, one that fosters its slow
and steady ripening. Often assumed to be the producer of only sweet wines, Riesling
is a fascinating grape of many faces. From bone dry to lusciously sweet, this
variety is delicious at any sugar level with its intense aromas and steely acidity.
Most popular in Germany
the Riesling grape is grown on steep, sun-facing slopes of these cooler climates.
It can be made in dry or sweet styles – Germany's qualification system for Rieslings
is actually based on ripeness level and the grape is almost always bottled as
a sole varietal in the country. In Alsace, Riesling can be blended, although typically not, and is most
often made in a dry style.
Riesling has an extremely high level of acidity. That acidity is matched by
the intensity of the grape's floral and fruit aromas. A number of descriptors
are associated with Riesling due to its tendency to adopt the characteristics
of where it is grown. Rieslings of the Mosel are distinctive because its flavors
reflect the region's slate soils, while its partner in Alsace displays less
soil character and more peach and apricot nuances due to the warmer climate.
For dry styles of Riesling, look to Germany's Kabinett levels, Alsace, Washington State, Australia and
New Zealand. For a slightly sweeter style, look to Germany's wines of the Spatlese
and Auslese levels. If you can afford it, and want a true, decadent and sweet experience, look for
the Beerenauslese and Trokenbeerenauslese styles. Hedonistic.
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Germany, Alsace, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Washington
State, California, New York State
steely, peach, mineral, floral, petrol, orange blossom, citrus
Learn More About Sonoma County, California
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.