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Thursday, 9 September 2021

J Vineyards ‘J California Cuvée NV’ - Californian Fizz

A New World, Traditional Method fizz from California's J Vineyards and Winery

Until relatively recently, if offered the choice of a fizz from a warm-climate New World country, I would have most likely politely declined.

An MW-led Champagne tasting at the now-defunct Alimentum a decade ago taught me that California simply cannot do the sort of elegance that Europeans take for granted

But that was then.

Times change and so do wine regions; elegance, nuance, complexity, freshness and a sense of place are now the watchwords in many New World regions instead of mere heft and fruit.

These days, California is less Metallica's well-produced, technically-sophisticated but full-on Thrash Metal with its twin lead guitars, multiple solos and 8-minute songs

And more Jeff Buckley's sensitive, considered singer-songwriter-guitarist vibe, with nuance, subtlety and sensitivity, deploying a broader range of styles and a more adaptable approach:

For a more formal analysis of California and West Coast wines, see this much more considered piece by Nicolas Quillé, MW https://www.linkedin.com/posts/nicolasquille_the-vast-majority-of-north-american-wines-activity-6843165050430193664-sT3c

J Vineyards ‘J California Cuvée NV’ (£23, Tesco) 

California's J Vineyards was founded in the cool-climate Russian River Valley of Sonoma by Judy Jordan in 1994; the vineyards offer the ideal climate for growing expressive, world-class sparkling wines. Marked 96 points at the Decanter World Wine Awards, J Cuvée 20 Brut NV has an elegant mousse and a complex palate.

It is a blend of J’s best cool-climate vineyard sites, notably from the Russian River Valley, Santa Lucia Highlands and Mendocino County. A non-vintage blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, using 7% reserve wine, the grapes were hand-harvested and placed as whole clusters, without destemming, into the press.

As is customary for traditional method sparkling wine production, the second fermentation occurred in bottle. The wine was aged on the yeast for a minimum of 24 months, developing deeper complexity as it aged.

The wine has the elegance, finesse and complexity of a European fizz, but just a little more ripe fruit, making it an easier, earlier drinker.

ripe orchard fruit, biscuity brioche and florality; lemon curd, yellow stone fruit, ginger snaps and sherbet. Full, generous and supple with a fine mousse. Ripe fruit and easy-drinking.


Match with pork belly or king prawns.


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