Taste #1 – Jax Vineyards “Y3” Chardonnay 2021 

Region:  California > Napa Valley (vineyard in Carneros region) 

Varietal(s): Chardonnay 

Notes on Nose/Palate:  expressive citrus, delicate pear, apricot, green apple, fresh acidity  

Fun Facts:

Jax Vineyards is a family-owned brand run by the 3rd generation siblings Kimberly and Trent Jackson. 

This is not your typical ‘heavy buttery’ California Chardonnay. The grapes are from a single vineyard in the Carneros region, a cool climate region that benefits from the cooling effects of the Pacific Ocean. 

The winemaker is Kirk Venge, one of the most recognized and sought-after winemakers in Napa and Sonoma. He is a consulting winemaker for several other boutique producers throughout the region, including Eleven Eleven, B Cellars, Bacio Divino Cellars, Hunnicutt Wines, Mirror, Macauley Vineyard, Renteria Family Wines, Promise Wines, Summers Estate, & Trespass Vineyards.

Taste #2 – Lieu Dit Rosé 2022

Region:  California > Santa Barbara 

Varietal(s): Cabernet Franc 

Notes on Nose/Palate:  wild strawberries, rose hips, herbaceous notes

Fun Facts: 

Lieu Dit is a partnership of longtime friends Eric Railsback and Justin Willett. The two met in Santa Barbara while Eric finished college and Justin began his winemaking career. 

Lieu Dit focuses on varieties indigenous to France’s Loire Valley wine region. They specialize in Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and Melon de Bourgogne.

Lieu Dit prides itself on intentionally making approachable and balanced wines. 

Taste #3 – Seabold “Four Sisters” Grenache 2017

Region:  California > Paso Robles 

Varietal(s): Grenache 

Notes on Nose/Palate:  strawberry, cheery, plum, spicy notes of cloves

Fun Facts: 

Master sommelier, Chris Miller founded Seabold. He started working at his mother’s restaurant in New Orleans at the age of 12 and has had a 25-year career working in restaurants. While working in restaurants, he earned the honor of Best Young Sommelier in the World and other accolades in the wine industry.  

Seabold believes farming is critical for making great wine, and winemakers should spend more time in the vineyards than in the winery. 

The Paso Robles wine region is sometimes called the “grape capital of the world,” with over 35% of all wine production in California coming from this region. 

Grenache is one of the Rhone varietals in the famous red blend affectionally known as ‘GSM,’ which includes Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. 

Taste #4 – Vista Reserve “Atlas Peak” Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Region:  California > Napa Valley > Atlas Peak 

Varietal(s): Cabernet Sauvignon 

Notes on Nose/Palate: lush and complex black fruit, graphite minerals, grippy tannings, long finish

Fun Facts: 

Vista Reserve is a collection of small-production wines authentically crafted from some of California’s most stunning vistas. Their grapes are grown where the views are grand and the flavors grander.

The Atlas Peak sub-appellation within Napa Valley is a mountainous region known for its high-elevation vineyards, which can result in age-worthy wines with distinctive characteristics and structure.  

Usually, wines from Atlas Peak are priced well over $100, so Vista Reserve is a steal for under $50. This Cabernet Sauvignon punches above its weight in price and quality for this price point.