Cabernet Sauvignon, 1979. Jekel Vineyard | Vintage Wine History and Information

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | September 1984

Monterey County is one of the important California wine growing regions. It is still developing and has not made its mark in the premium wine arena as other regions have. The area does have a few champions however, and Jekel is one of them.

Bill and Gus Jekel are owners of Jekel vineyard. Rick Jekel is the winemaker. Their wine estate has been developed with the philosophy that only family control from planting to bottling can assure the desired premium wine quality. They claim that “The Estate wine concept recognizes that growing one’s own grapes permits the achievement of quality not otherwise attainable”. I think this truth is better said when the words “consistent and continuous” are inserted before the word quality.

The Jekels have, in fact, achieved the premium wine quality goal. The five varietals they produce received at least twenty-one awards at no less than nine wine competitions in 1983.

They planted 140 acres of vineyard in 1972, just west of the town of Greenfield in the Arroyo Seco District of Monterey County. In 1978 they built a modern winery.

Their wine style derives from the uniquely cool, dry, growing season of Monterey county, and a deliberate policy of stress-culti­vation that results in wines of intense fruit and a fine balance of acids and tannins.

The Jekel Cabernet dominated my notes at two recent trade tastings. It consistently showed well, and had an interesting departure from the usual Monterey County Cabernets. The intense herbaceousness was not there, and the flavor was more to the traditional California cabernet. Notice that I say “California cabernet”, if such a generalization can be made! The original home of the Cabernet grape is Bordeaux, France. The great and small clarets from Bordeaux are a result of the masterful handling of this grape and its relatives in winemaking technics where blending is an important element. The California effort seems to have evolved in a purist fashion, using minimal blending.

This premier red wine of California is sought after world wide for what it is, and not for what it is thought to imitate. If one dares to sketch a typical picture… California Cabernet is intense, bold, usually tannic, with varietal character of nose and taste bordering on green olives and bell peppers. Ageing ability usual­ly parallel to its counterparts from around the world, but with less contribution from the blending relatives.

Our Jekel Cabernet is dark garnet red in color. It is nearly opaque. The bouquet comes to you first, a fragrance of the blend of oak and wine aromatics. The ele­ments of the varietal identification of the grape then follows which has at its end a hint of Monterey herbaceousness (Ever so slight and actually pleasant and complementary here). The taste fol­lows the nose exactly. It is full bodied, intense with dry flavor, and unmistakably cabernet. Some tannin comes in at the middle, but is not overwhelming. It has a slight spiciness to it, and complex flavors are developing. Good round­ness. Serve at room temperature with roasts, steaks, prime rib, or with cheddar cheese after the meal.

Cellaring Notes: Will develop and soften for 4 to 8 years.

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