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 Muscat
Sweet & Sticky
The Muscat grape is one of the oldest grape varieties known to the wine world.
Instead of being just one grape, Muscat encompasses a family of grapes, found in a range of hues - from
white to brown to near black. The two best-known clones are Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains (Muscat blanc for short)
and Muscat of Alexandria. The Muscat blanc grape is the oldest variety and creates the most concentrated grape
flavors. Small in size, Muscat blanc is not always white and it can produce both dry and sweet wines. Muscat of
Alexandria is larger and often darker than the Muscat Blanc, and creates wines of intense sweetness.
Muscat Blanc is the Moscato used in
for Moscato d'Asti and Spumante, both light and fizzy wines.
It also creates the Muscat d'Alsace of
France, which is often made in the dry style. Muscat Blanc can
also be found in the deliciously sweet wines of Beaumes-de-Venise in the south of France. The Muscat of
Alexandria is responsible for the “stickies” of
as well as the Muscats of Portugal and South Africa.
California also has a hold on producing sweet dessert wines from Muscat.
Summing it up
Successful Sites: France, Italy, Australia, South Africa, Portugal, United States
Common Descriptors: grapey, musky, orange peel
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.