Quick Sip: James Family Cellars 2010 Chardonnay

Hello Friends,

Last week on Cellars of Sonoma TV Tuesday, host Scott Jordan welcomed special guest Jeff James of James Family Cellars. Jeff, along with his wife Judy, own and operate this micro-boutique Sonoma County winery that focuses on small-lot, hand-crafted wines. The family planted their estate vineyard in 1998 and sold fruit to nearby producers. In 2007, they decided to keep their fruit and start their own label. While specializing in making small lots (under 1k cases per year)of estate-grown Pinot Noir, James Family Cellars also makes a very nice Sonoma Coast Chardonnay – which like the Pinot Noir variety, thrives in some of the cooler areas of Sonoma County. Jeff’s 2010 Chardonnay is aged in new (25%, 8-9 months) and neutral French (75%) oak barrels and goes through partial malolactic fermentation (conversion of a sharper malic acid to a softer lactic acid), which helps the wine retain its natural acidity and freshness. Approximately 240 cases of this Chardonnay were produced. Without further ado, let’s uncork this wine and give it a swirl, sniff, and sip.

The James Family Cellars 2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

In my opinion, this Chardonnay falls smack dab in the middle of bright and refreshing [mostly stainless] and the [lower acid] big, buttery, oak-driven styles many people associate with [classic] California Chardonnay. On the nose, this wine boasts inviting aromas of green apple, pear, melon, buttered toast and a touch of vanilla with pretty floral elements. The palate is round and fairly mouth-coating with generous supple fruit flavors and nice balancing acidity that flirts with finesse. The wine finishes with pleasant notes of vanilla, crème brûlée, and citrus accents. For food pairing ideas, Jeff offered two excellent recommendations: fresh Dungeness crab and grilled chicken. The James Family Cellars' 2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay retails for $30 and for those in the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) club, this selection may compel you to cancel your membership. Lastly, due to very limited production you probably won’t find Jeff’s wines in stores. Please visit the links below to learn more about James Family Cellars and wine availability. Cheers!

To view the winemaker interview with Jeff on Ustream click here. Cheers!

Click here to visit the James Family Cellars website.

Click here to visit the Cellars of Sonoma website.

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