There is only one word in the English language I could use to sum up this past weekend…WOW!!!!! (OK, I lied there is also amazing, intense, incredible…..I think you get the idea)
Everything, including all the fantastic associates in the tasting room to the owners of Jessup (YES!!!!! we got to meet them too!) really makes you feel like part of the Jessup family. And that sentiment is extended to all who visit there for tasting as well. I was lucky enough to be able to spend this weekend with one of my fellow Ambassadors, Jessica Chung.
When we arrived in Yountville we were greeted by the affable and prolific Grant Long from Jessup and began our education. We learned everything literally from the ground up; starting with the growing season and farming technics through crush, fermentation, barrel aging to bottle and finally into your glass for enjoyment! We learned about the soil content and different varieties of growing conditions in and around the valley and how all of these conditions need to be carefully considered for the growth of each grape varietal. Some of these being much more delicate then others.
Grant clearly has a wealth of knowledge that he was eager to share in great detail. We were like sponges, soaking it all up (not to mention the sun too! It was beautiful in the Valley) After touring 5-6 different vineyards seeing different styles of farming and soil content it was time for our first tasting (FINALLY!!!!!)
Being that I had never had Jessup Wines before I was excited at the prospect yet also concerned that I might not like these wines… that would be embarrassing! I have tasted thousands of wines through the years and while certainly not a Sommelier, I know enough about my own taste buds and what I like (or not) to come to a solid conclusion. But nothing could have been further from the absolute truth. ALL of these wines are truly magnificent! I will talk about individual wines in later postings, but will say that the Chardonnay absolutely BLEW MY MIND!!!!! It was totally unexpected (until I found out later that Jessup brought Wine Maker Rob Lloyd on board a few years ago)… it’s depth and complexity with such unrivaled refinement from start to finish on the palate puts this particular vintage in a very exclusive class… other wines in this same price range cant match this true gem. All it takes is one sip and you are a life’r!
The next day we spent the entire morning with Grant and Rob Lloyd at the winery operation.We covered everything from barrel construction, treatment and type to the blending and creation of different finished products. How different flavor profiles are achieved and the time, patience and tremendous hard work that goes into these masterpieces. With Rob’s vast knowledge and expertise coupled with a most amazingly detailed mind, it is VERY clear that Jessup is well positioned for many years to come.
After a great cheeseburger, some garlic fries and a root beer at Gott’s in Napa (used to be Taylor’s Refresher) we headed back to the winery for the rest of our afternoon.
John Meyer (left) from 9 Clouds gave us instruction on blogging so we can try to look like we actually know what we are doing. Tracy McArdle from Jessup took us through the Napa Rocks presentation from the Napa Valley Vintner’s Assoc. which is not only a history lesson about the area itself but also about all of the different soils in the different growing areas.
We were treated to a fantastic dinner that evening at Farmstead at the Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena. It was magnificent! The Berkshire Pork Chop was amazing! Of course we were treated to a nice cross-section of Jessup wines to accompany dinner. This is Dr. Dan Blue one of the owners of Jessup Cellars.
Although Sunday was considered a “free day” to do what we wanted, we chose to accompany a few others for wine tasting in the valley… we saw some very nice places and beautiful settings and tasted wine. Our intent was to enjoy a picnic at the top of Spring Mountain at Pride Mountain Vineyards but it was so windy we opted for a nice setting in the St. Helena Park instead. Also tasted at Frogs Leap and The Terraces at The Quarry.
Well, this tremendous weekend had to end and reality was calling (we didn’t want to answer).
LET THE BLOGS BEGIN!