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J Vineyard Pinot Noir Multi County
Having already made its name with sparkling wines, Sonoma County–based J Vineyards & Winery released its first still wine, a Pinot Noir, in 1994. Following its purchase by E. & J. Gallo in 2015, J has been on the march with Pinot, launching its first venture outside of Sonoma that same year, to make this multi-county blend. Grapes for the wine come from both Gallo-owned vineyards and purchased sources, combining 40% fruit from Monterey, primarily from Gallo’s Olsen Ranch in the prime Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, 37% mostly from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley and 23% from Santa Barbara, tapping the Santa Maria Valley. This is a fine balancing act because Pinot Noir is so terroir-driven, yet winemaker Nicole Hitchcock deftly knits the characteristics of the three regions: the dark fruit flavours of Monterey, the vibrant red fruit components of Sonoma and the savoury spiciness of Santa Barbara.