by Fred McMillin
for December 1, 1999


Daughter Was A Vintner


Editor's Note—With the approach of both the customary December holi-daze plus special millennium celebrations, this month WineDays will review more sparklers than usual. Here's one of them.


From my November 26, 1996 WineDay...
Tom Jordan and his daughter Judy launched their J sparkling wine in 1986. The critics were delighted...Prof. John Baxevanis, "full bodied, yet elegant." Aussie James Halliday, "complex, with creamy fruit and good body."

My panel gave the fifth-vintage 1991 a rousing HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. "Clearly this brut sparkler is J-0K."

J Wine
Company From my June 1, 1999 WineDay...
Judy Jordan says, "A lot has happened since we made our first experimental bubbly out of the back door of my father's winery." The happenings included her becoming the CEO of the J Wine Company, with over 250 acres of Russian River Valley vineyards and a 40,000-case sparkler winery. My panel gave the 1994 J Brut Sparkling Wine a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The Rest of the Story

I've had another bottle of the '94 resting in my cellar for six months, so I slipped it into the last blind tasting. Some of the acidity had morphed into additional subtle flavors. The rating went up to an EXCELLENT. It is definitely a contender for next New Year's Eve celebrations.

Contact—Robin Oden, (707) 431-5400, FAX (707) 431-5410
Price—$28 range.


Can California fizz compete successfully with French Champagne? In his Sip By Sip, Michael Bonadies finds that "The Champagne district is too cool for the grapes to develop an intensity of flavor comparable to those from selected California [microclimates]. The French would kill to be able to work with such exuberant fruit."

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.


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