Winemaker Matt Dees has the kind of resume that makes other winemakers green with envy. Having previously worked at other noteworthy estates such as Staglin in Napa, and Craggy Range in New Zealand, Matt has learned how to coax the best out of several different grapes grown in a variety of climates. And now, the wines Matt has made at Jonata have earned as high as 100 points!
Owned by Stan Kroenke (who also owns Screaming Eagle), Jonata is located in Ballard Canyon, just south of Los Olivos and is focused on Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. The entire Jonata property is comprised of sand, with varying amounts of clay. The vineyards are sustainably farmed (herbicides and pesticides don't even enter the conversation), and the area enjoys very cool nights due to winds coming off the Pacific Ocean, mixed with very warm days during the summer months. This helps to create wines of exceptional structure, intensity, and ageability…and it's not uncommon for these Jonata wines to earn 97-100 points from the critics!
While the Jonata wines are meant to age gracefully in the cellar, Matt selects some of the more approachable barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon and bottles them under The Paring label. By doing this, you quite literally get a wine that is a "chip off the old block"! This 2015 Cabernet blend has been aged in French oak barrels, of which 55% of them were new. This is something that is typically reserved for Cabernets that sell for 3-5 times this price! Matt then increases complexity and nuance by blending in Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. Petit Verdot costs more than Cabernet Sauvignon, so again, you get something reserved for a wine that typically costs more. We can only imagine the conversations that go back-and-forth between Stan and Matt!
So if you're looking for a Cabernet-blend that packs a lot of flavor for a rather modest price...then today is your day!
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "The 2015 Red Wine is the Bordeaux blend of the estate and is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, and the balance Merlot and Petit Verdot, all from declassified Jonata lots. Its deep, inky purple color is followed by a rich, powerful wine that's loaded with notions of blackcurrants, unsmoked tobacco, graphite, and crushed rocks. With background oak, full body, ripe yet present tannins, and a great finish, it's going to keep for at least 7-8 years."