To all Best Winers,
The gang at Jonata, one of the Central Coast’s premier boutique wineries, have a big problem on their hands.
Their second wines are too good.
We knew there was no way in heck these wines from their Paring label could be ‘leftovers’. They’re just too…frigging…good.
Something was ‘up’. So we sent our investigative team out on the internet to do some research, while continuing to, ahem, ‘research’ the wines.
The website for The Paring tells us that their 2010 Pinot Noir is 92% Santa Rita Hills. Ok, stop right there. First inkling that this wine is a lot more than it seems. There simply is no ‘second label’ juice from the Santa Rita Hills. The grapes are expensive, and demand is ridiculously high for fruit from this super-hot appellation. At this point in time we already know that the gang at The Paring paid more for the fruit than what the bottle price represents.
We could stop there, but it gets better…
he website went on further with their description of the 2009 Paring Pinot Noir, remarking that 92% of that wine was sourced from 39 year old vines. Well, us old folks know that there were only pretty much two patches of Pinot Noir in the Santa Rita Hills at that time, and the only one that was turning 39 years old when the 2009 was produced was…Sanford & Benedict.
Digging further, we read the tech sheet on this spectacular 2010 Pinot Noir from them. It made plenty of references to ‘old vines’ in the descriptors but it didn’t tell us how old. Was this wine also the product of one of the greatest old vine Pinot Noir vineyards in California?
Phone calls made. Conversations had. Yes, indeed. The 2010 Paring Pinot Noir is primarily sourced from the old blocks at the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. Goodness, me! Scoring a wine of this caliber, at this kind of price from one of the new world’s most historic vineyard sites, made by Matt Dees, one of the world’s hottest young winemakers?
Of course we bought, and bought hard.
The 2010 Paring Pinot Noir is the finest sub-$25 bottle of Pinot Noir I’ve tasted this year. It is absolutely bulletproof. Sweet, tender, velvety in texture rich in dark cherry fruit, old-viney in character. I’ve tasted dozens of Pinots from the Golden State this year that were double the price and half as good, simple as that.
This wine got the royal treatment, including aging in French oak (35% new, 65% neutral) for 11 months (coopers included Remond, Damy, Ermitage and François Frères) prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered.
And, as an added bonus, the cherry on top if you will. The other vineyard in the blend for this outrageous Pinot? Just a little-known site by the name of Bien Nacido. Hello! Talk about an all-star cast!
What’s even scarier is The Paring madness doesn’t stop there. The winery’s 2010 Red Wine is a true ‘second wine’ but from some hellaciously serous ‘first’ wines!
How serious? The four wines from which this cuvee is born averaged 94 points from Wine Advocate while also averaging a retail price of $94…per bottle.
You can get this “chip off the old block” from Jonata’s estate vineyards for exactly a quarter that price. The wine is absolutely delicious, like its Pinot Noir sibling, deep, richly appointed, lush, satiny in texture, with a wealth of cooler-edge black fruit flavors. This ‘second’ wine is in fact one of the finest Bordeaux-inspired cuvees I’ve ever tasted from the Central Coast!
It’s also given the royal treatment, the blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Sangiovese, 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Syrah aging in French oak (55% new and 45% neutral) for 22 months (coopers including Taransaud, Sylvain, Bel Air, and Dejarnac) prior to also being bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Do these sound like $23 wines to you? Heck, no. And that’s the point. Buy now, buy hard…
Kyle Meyer and Tristen Beamon, Proprietors, BestWinesOnline.com