by Fred McMillin
for June 1, 1999


A Bride Guide


1994 J Sparkling Wine  
The word "bridal" comes from an old English custom of the "Bride-Ale" by which the bride was given the proceeds from the sale of ale at her wedding.

...Paul Dickson, Toasts, p.108

June brides require June bubblies. Our sparkler is made by Judy Jordan who was a bride herself not so many years ago. (She now has two young children.)

The Rest of the Story

  • Bunking with cliff dwellers in Africa.
  • Working the rice paddies while living in a Chinese commune.
  • Hiking on the rim of the world in the Himalayas.
    These are not among the U.C.-Davis guidelines on how to prepare to launch a winery, but they worked for Judy. Today she's CEO of the J Wine Company, 40,000-case-range and over 250 acres of Russian River Valley vineyards. The latter are the stars of J. There are seven different vineyards providing grapes for the J sparkler. The spectrum of aromas and flavors come from 5 clones of Chardonnay grown on three different rootstocks and 12 different clones of Pinot Noir grown on six different rootstocks. A pretty sophisticated effort...as Judy says, "A lot has happened since we made our first experimental bubbly out of the back door of my father's winery." (Father is Tom Jordan, founder of the Alexander Valley's prestigious still-wine Jordan Winery.) So here's our sparkler for the June bride.

    Wine of the Day

    1994 J Sparkling Wine, Brut
    J Wine Company, Healdsburg, Sonoma County, CA.
    Tasting Notes—Fine for a reception because it's suitable for both novice and advanced palates. By that I mean, there is no yeast-acid shock that turns off my beginning students. Happily, all those vineyards and clones produce plenty of complexity that elicit thoughtful kudos from my veterans.
    Contact—Robin Oden, (707) 431-5400, FX (707) 431-5410.
    Price—$28 range


    About Judy Jordan, I notice she regularly refers to the J staff as a team. She knows something about teams because she was a member of a pretty good one. It was the Stanford tennis team that won the national championship in the 80's.

    Postscript—Fast worker.

    At this moment I'm looking at a publication which states Dom Perignon created the first sparkler (champagne) in 1639. He was born in 1638. Precocious!

    About the Writer

    Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


    WineDay Annex

    More articles by
    Fred McMillin


    Welcome to WineDay, the electronic Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday, WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend.


    Current WineDay

    January WineDays
    February WineDays
    March WineDays
    April WineDays
    May WineDays

    1998 WineDays

    1997 WineDays


    Copyright © 1999—the electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc. All rights reserved.