This month’s domestic selection has to be the bargain of the century! This is Limited Series wine that we can all enjoy.
The Jekel Vineyard was originally planted in 1972, the year WOMC was founded, so it is, like us, no new-comer to the industry. Back then winemaker Bill Jekel, with his twin brother, Gus, planted 140 acres in Monterey County. Another 190 acres was added in 1983, the same year in which English judges awarded top honors to one of Jekel’s Cabernets, against some of Bordeaux’s finest, in an internationally publicized London tasting.
One of the key factors in the quality of Jekel wines is their “micro-climate”. Marine winds from Monterey Bay dominate the summer making it one of the coolest regions in California in which premium wine grapes will ripen to full maturity. Harvest here is extended 2 to 4 weeks beyond other premium growing districts. This slow maturation allows the grapes to develop complex flavors while retaining high natural fruit acids. Resultant wines exhibit well-defined varietal character in a fine balance of fruit and acidity.
Many tasters consider Cabernet Sauvignon “The King of Varietals.” There is due reason for such an regal accolade. First, it is the primary grape of Bordeaux, the most famous region in the world for production of expensive, collectable vintage wines. This grape, when carefully grown and vinified, yields wines that are subtly complex and balanced, retaining a fresh and forest-like character of woods in spring, even when very old. It produces the finest red wines in California. Jekel enhanced the complexity of this wine by adding 5% Cabernet Franc, another classic Bordeaux grape, noted both for its lightness and herbaceously aromatic charms.
Our selection offers an extraordinarily inky-dark, ox-blood color, accurately foreshadowing what is to come. Deep currant, blackberry’ and wild forest scents (mushrooms, earth and wood) exude from the glass. It is marvelously big and rich in the mouth. Appetizing acids in textbook balance with gobs of fruit (classic blackcurrant predominates) are all underlaced with the correct amount of tannin. The finish is smooth and dry with blackberry and a hint of violet in the aftertaste.
Serve at room temperature with roast beef or lamb; or barbequed steak.
Cellaring Notes: Drink now and through 1992.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper