This Week’s Wine Tasting

Compare/Contrast: Chardonnay, Rose and Pinot Noir

From California, Oregon and France


Jean-Marc Brocard‘s origins lie in the Côte d’Or. For he is a farmer’s son from the village of Chaudenay-le-Château, not even the son of the vigneron. It was an accident of marriage that brought him to wine, he married Claudine (his childhood sweetheart), a vigneron’s daughter from the village of St-Bris-le-Vineux in the valley of Yonne. Starting with a hectare of vines from his father-in-law, Emile Petit, he has created an estate of some 180 hectares vineyards in Chablis and Burgundy. Jean-Marc acknowledges a considerable debt to one of the old vignerons of St-Cyr les Colons, a man Louis Petit, who despite the name is unrelated to his father-in-law. The oldest vines of the Domaine Sainte Claire came from Louis Petit and it was he who gave to Jean-Marc the sense of tradition and a respect for nature, showing him that you can still maintain the old traditions, while practicing modern methods. Born and bred, devoted to the land and its characterful wines.”

Jean-Marc Brocard Kimmeridgien Bourgogne Blanc 2012
Chablis, Burgundy, France. “Terroir: Kimmeridgian- Alternate layers of limestone and marls containing fossilized marine bodies which give Chablis its fresh minerality. This is the best quality soil type where authentic Chablis grow. It consists of alternate layers of dense chalk and softer permeable clay, encrusted with marine fossils (Oestra Virgula). Our vines are located in the south of Chablis AC close to the village of Saint-Cyr les Colons (south facing slopes). The mineral character of the resulting wine is typical of Chablis wines. Jean-Marc Brocard has created this Chardonnay collection to allow each soil to reveal its personality and its authenticity through Chardonnay. Age of vines: average 15 years. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Golden green colour with silver highlights. Citrus notes on nose with orange blossom. A very pure palate, with mandarin aromas which gives him all the delicacy. A fresh wine with a very beautiful mineral energy.”



“Jackhammer is a partnership between Stephen Dooley, owner and winemaker of Stephen Ross Winery, and Sandy Garber owner and founder of Garber & Co Wine- and their families. Stephen Dooley and Sandy Garber have been friends and business associates since they met at Chalone Wine Group in 1987, where Stephen was winemaker for Edna Valley Vineyards and Sandy was director of sales and marketing for the Chalone Wine Group. They have collaborated on many projects over the years. Sitting together in the fall of 2011, at an undisclosed location in Topanga Canyon, sipping on glasses of Central Coast Pinot Noir, they hatched the idea for Jackhammer Wine Company.  They realized that there just wasn’t enough good, inexpensive Pinot Noir available -at least, not that actually tasted like Pinot Noir.  And so the project began.  With all family members intimately involved, from financial management to label design – everything is done in house by the family team.”

Jackhammer Chardonnay 2013
Central Coast, California. 55% Spanish Springs, 45% Kristy’s Vineyard. “Tank fermented and aged in stainless steel for 4 months. No malolactic fermentation. Sourced from cool Central Coast sites, this refreshing Chardonnay exhibits ripe pear, apple, and tropical citrus aromas and flavors, with delicate floral highlights and mineral undertones. It is full and round, with a juicy core of fruit and mouthwatering finish. This Chardonnay exhibits lots of tropical fruit and lemon zest in the aromatics, and a rich mouth feel from the lees contact. The absence of oak provides a wine that is truly the essence of Chardonnay. This wine would be great paired with light white fish, sand dabs, grilled shrimp, tilapia tacos, or even a crab louis!”


Jackhammer Pinot Noir 2012
63% San Luis Obispo County, 30% Santa Lucia Highlands, 6% Monterey County, 1% Santa Barbara County, California. “Aged in neutral French oak barrels. Sourced from Monterey, San Luis, and Santa Barbara counties, this wine has a dark ruby color with a great nose of cherry, cola, and a wonderful floral component. Flavors of cherry, cola, plum, herb, are intermixed with lovely acid to keep it fresh, lively, and not too heavy. While this is a juicy and upfront wine, this has the texture and secondary characteristics of a wine that costs much, much more.”



“As one of Oregon’s founding wineries, our history is long and varied. From planting the first vineyard in the early 1970’s to farming 237 acres in the north Willamette Valley today, a great deal of learning, experimentation and collaboration has contributed to our company’s and our region’s success. In 1972, the Adelsheims began planting their original 15-acre vineyard at Quarter Mile Lane with Pinot noir, Chardonnnay, Pinot gris, and Riesling, relying on family and friends for assistance. Although the Chehalem Mountains were, at this time, an unproven viticultural area, the Adelsheims were undaunted in pursuit of their dream to produce exceptional wines in Oregon’s north Willamette Valley. Today, the Adelsheim Vineyard estate has grown to include eleven exceptional vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley, totaling 229 acres. A new generation of experienced wine industry professionals has joined with David Adelsheim in our passionate endeavor to lead the industry in crafting consistently transcendent wines.”

Adelsheim Rose 2013
Willamette Valley, Oregon. 100% Pinot Noir. “A saignée was used to make this Rosé, in which a portion of juice was bled off from a Pinot noir fermenter 6 to 12 hours after being filled with grapes. A slow, cool fermentation in our temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks helps to retain the primary fruit esters. For enhanced textural richness, 12% of the wine was fermented in older, neutral French oak barrels. This delicious wine offers aromas of fresh strawberries, orange blossom, white flowers, and a touch of vanilla bean. The aromas follow through on a rich, well-textured palate that offers great fruit intensity and persistence to the finish. Though a perfect summer beverage on its own, this Rosé will pair with all manner of that season’s meals, from bouillabaisse and grilled shrimp, to goat cheese, ham and poultry entrees.”



“Miraval is a rose wine released as a joint venture between well-known Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Famille Perrin, from the estate that the couple owns in the Cotes de Provence region of France. There is no obvious association with the famous couple on the bottle, apart from the words “bottled by Jolie-Pitt and Perrin” appearing in French on the bottle’s small back label. The wine is made by long-time vintner Marc Perrin.

Miraval the property and Miraval the wine capture the essence of Provençale charm, the epitome, perhaps, of Matisse’s ‘Luxe, calme et volupté’. The terraced vineyards date from Roman times, as indeed do the surrounding forests, the environment of scrubland (aka garrigue) thyme and olives, providing a most welcome refuge, no doubt, for Hollywood A- listers seeking to brush up their winemaking knowledge. It seems, indeed, that Brad and Angelina are more hands-on than one may have expected, their hands expertly guided around the winery by the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel fame.”

Miraval Rose 2013
Provence, France. “The Miraval rose is a blend of three red grapes commonly used in French rose wines, Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah (these grapes are also often used to make wine in the Rhone region of France). Mirival rose also contains the white grape Rolle, which is more commonly known as Vermentino, and is used to make popular white wines in France and Italy.” 90 Wine Advocate– “Clean, refreshing and classy, the 2013 Cotes de Provence Rose offers up plenty of strawberry and citrus-like aromas and flavors to go with a lightly textured, medium-bodied profile that’s perfect for a hot summer day. Made by the Perrin Family (of Chateau Beaucastel), enjoy this beauty over the coming summer.” 89 Wine Spectator– “A light, pure, steely style, with a rose petal and strawberry core, featuring white cherry notes backed by savory and stony hints on the finish. The finely beaded acidity lets this stretch out into a sneakily long finish.”



Ken Wright Cellars
“Located in rural Carlton, Oregon, Ken Wright Cellars is devoted to showcasing the inherent quality of selected vineyard sites. With a clarity and breadth that is unequaled by other varieties, we believe Pinot noir best expresses the character of these sites. Rather than stamping wine with a varietal trademark, Pinot noir is the ultimate vehicle for conveying the aroma, flavor and texture of the location in which it is grown.

Well over thirty years of winemaking have taught a simple truth. Source is everything. When you work with sites that have a “ton” of character, great things can happen. These great things cannot happen without a commitment by the vineyard owner to the health of the vineyard and extremely low crop levels that ensure intensity of aroma, flavor and texture.”

Ken Wright Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2012
Willamette Valley, Oregon. Light brick/ruby in color. The aromas are of toasty oak, garrigue (underbrush) and pine forest with dark, ripe, briary fruits. The palate offers juicy acid, sweet spice, blackberry and raspberry fruits. An approachable, friendly style. “After thirty-five year of winemaking experience in Oregon and California, I can count the truly great year on three fingers. 1979 in California’s Monterey County, 1990 in the Willamette Valley and, yes, 2012 in the Willamette Valley as well. There are years when we simply sit in awe as Mother Nature hands us remarkable fruit that only requires that we respect the gift we have received. 2012 is such a year. The intensity of color, aroma and flavor is inspiring. We know how special this vintage is and that this kind of opportunity is rare. I may be dragged out of the winery by my Red Wing boots at eighty without seeing another year like this.”


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