JC Cellars The First Date 2007
Rhone White Blends from Central Coast, California
In 2007, we explored fermenting a little warmer while keeping the fermenting juice in the cold room for longer periods of time to lengthen the fermentation. Then, we let it warm up at the end of fermentation to about 68-70 degrees. A little risky, but you just wait. This almost sounds like an interesting and tantalizing romance. Trust me: this will be a first date you will never forget.
When I first started making this wine it was my quest to make a St. Joseph style white wine, but then it took on a different path. Sure, it was 75% Roussanne and 25% Marsanne, but this wine became more about being The First Date and not a replica of a St. Joseph. It became the understanding that "yes", we can take these varietals to new heights, explore their different flavor and aromatic profiles. Let the vineyard talk, spend time listening to it. Converse back with it. This communication has been the key. This is what a first date is all about.
Both Northern Rhône varietals, Roussanne adds great perfume and a certain delicacy, a touch of Marsanne yields added richness and body to the wine. The wine represents fruit harvested in the peak of ripeness, displaying honey & spiced peach cobbler, full-bodied and backed up with a core of minerality and acidity which allows it to pair nicely with richer foods.
75% Roussanne / 25% Marsanne
Wine Spectator - "A rich, lush texture and a full body are the base for this fantastic wine. Like a fresh apple pie, with ripe flavors, spicy notes and a buttery crust. Tropical flavors give this extra dimension. Roussanne and Marsanne. Drink now. 213 cases made."
JC Cellars Winery
When Jeff Cohn was the winemaker at Rosenblum Cellars, annually he crafted more than 70 different wines. Today, at his Oakland-based warehouse winery, the irrepressible vintner now limits himself to a mere 21 bottlings, focusing on Rhône varietals. Cohn's longtime relationships with some of California's top growers and vineyards enable him to source some of the state’s finest fruit, including Rockpile in Sonoma County, Fess Parker in Santa Barbara County and Stagecoach in Napa.
All JC Cellars wines are fermented in open top fermenting vessels that range in size from a half ton to eight tons, where each bin is hand punched down five times per day. This time-consuming procedure allows maximum exposure of skins to juice, intensifying the flavor of the fruit while handling it as gently as possible.
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About Central CoastView a map of Central Coast wineries
The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Notable FactsGrape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.