J Vineyards and Winery, founded by Judy Jordan over two decades ago in Sonoma County‘s Russian River Valley, is certainly best known for its sparkling wines, like J Cuvee 20 Brut and J Brut Rose’. But quietly, over the last decade, they have been ramping up their still wine production.
While Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are their main focus, they have always turned out a stellar version of Pinot Gris. That grape has been the white wine domain of Oregon wineries, while California wineries seem to give it only lip service. From the beginning of their original production, J’s Pinot Gris has always been one of the best around, regardless of origin.
This J Pinot Gris, Russian River Valley, Cooper Vineyard ($28) 2012 version is entirely estate fruit from their own vineyards and shows finely honed aromatics of white peach, stone fruit and a hint of green herbs. Stone fruit persists on the palate with kumquat, kiwi, orange peel and lemon verbena. Unusual for Pinot Gris, it has great texture and grip on the mid palate, a complex intertwining of flavors coupled with a satisfying finish.