Friday, February 14, 2014

2/14 Quincey Blake, Patland Estate Vineyards, Melissa Stackhouse, J Vineyards and Winery

The Beginning - Rarely is it that someone visits the beautiful and tranquil Napa Valley, without imagining themselves leading the life of a winemaker. There is something wholesome and true about making wine.

Twenty-five years ago, when Henry and Olga first came to Napa as a young couple, it was no different. They could not escape the lure of this charming land, and so they returned, year after year. The welcoming atmosphere, the wonderful wine, the laughter, and the beautiful scenery just kept bringing them back.

On one occasion, they visited a small wine cellar, where the owner himself was pouring wine for the visitors; no other employees were in sight. The wine they tasted was excellent and so the little vineyard became a must for the pair on each of their visits. Little by little, they saw the transformation the winery underwent, from a small, dark cellar to a magnificent estate, a heaven for wine enthusiasts and art lovers. That winery became an inspiration for them.

Despite raising three young boys and working full time to promote a High Tech Company Henry began in 1995, the Patlands were inspired. Motivated by what they saw, they began looking for a way to turn their dream of a winemaking into a reality. After several years of searching, they finally found the gem they were looking for; a place that spoke right to their hearts, the beautiful and serene Terra Del Cuore, which translates from Italian as “Land of the Heart."

Once the idea of wine making truly took root, the next step was to decide on what wine to create. The Patlands, always being fans of the traditional, heavy and full bodied Napa style red wines, decided to create exceptional, distinctive red wines they themselves would enjoy.

The Wine - At the time of the purchase, Terra del Cuore had Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese grapes planted on the estate’s property.
In 2007, those were the grapes that went into the Proprietary Red Wine. The result being a unique ruby garnet blend, rich in aromas of red berries, clove, vanilla, cigar spice and nutmeg. The wine came to possess an elegantly soft, satin-like approachable finish. This particular blend is exclusive to the 2007 production only.

In 2008, upon returning from the wine country of Argentina and Chile, and following the advice of Jay Buoncristiani, Patland Estate’s winemaker, the decision was made to convert the vines present on the property into Malbec. The climate, the location, and the quality of the soil seemed ideal for a consistently great production of a rich Malbec blend.

For the Patland Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah wines, the Patlands purchased highly desirable grapes from Stagecoach Vineyards.

For Cabernet Sauvignon, Jay blended 95% of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with 5% of Malbec and created a dark, rich wine, deeply layered with aromas of black cherry, truffle, molasses, French oak, sage, vanilla and black pepper. The persistent yet balanced finish exhibits excellent depth, purity and elegance.

For the Syrah, he used 100% Syrah grapes and the wine emerged possesses the complex aromas of vibrant wild berries, toffee, maple, dark chocolate, white pepper and violets. Ripe dark berries, cedar spice and mocha continue to gush forth during the ultra fleshy velvet-textured long finish.



Sparkling Wines - Since our founding in Healdsburg, California in 1986, we have made our sparkling wine using Mêthode Champenoise, the traditional technique of making Champagne in the eponymous region northeast of Paris, France.

Similar to Champagne, the sparkling wines of J are made from hand-harvested Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes. But our unique Russian River Valley terroir contributes a distinctly American character with bright fruit, full mouthfeel, and balanced finish.

ABOUT MELISSA: Agriculture has played a crucial role in the life of J’s winemaker, Melissa Stackhouse. Growing up in a Michigan farming community, and having grandparents who were farmers in rural Minnesota, she became keenly aware of their dedication to the land at an early age.

“Their hard work resulted in many wonderful meals, cooked with the fresh ingredients straight from the farm,” says Stackhouse. “I developed an appreciation for fresh food from the garden, and it ultimately led to agriculture as a career choice.”

After spending some time in New Zealand working on organic farms, Melissa decided to pursue grape growing and winemaking. She enrolled in the University of California at Davis, where in 1998 she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Viticulture and Enology. While earning her degree, and in the years following, she worked at such prestigious wineries as Robert Mondavi, Peter Michael, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Sterling Vineyards, and Alexander Valley Cellars.
In 2003, she moved to Sonoma County to pursue her interest in Pinot Noir by becoming the winemaker at La Crema. It was there that she took notice of Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley and its distinctive soils, numerous clonal selections, and cool-climate vineyards. Melissa remained winemaker at La Crema until 2010 when she was named Winemaster for all Pinot Noir production at Jackson Family Wines.

In her role at J Vineyards & Winery, Melissa builds upon existing programs in J's nine estate-owned vineyards. She also develops long-term relationships with key growers in the Russian River Valley.

“Each one of our vineyards has a unique personality,” she says. “We are digging deep into the soil to better understand and encourage the right expression of flavor for each estate vineyard. It is important to distinguish and separate these flavor profiles, whether it becomes a J varietal or sparkling wine.”


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