First wine of the Jujube Jemrose Winery dinner, wine paired with a ginger, coconut, and pumpkin soup with red rice and hijiki. Peaches in light syrup, citrus fruits, floral notes, and plenty of slate minerality with hints of bitter pecan shells, tropical fruits, ginger, and applesauce. Great palate complexity for CA Viognier. What really blows me away is the acidity, and the alcohol balance, even at 14% abv and the length is 30 seconds + and very clean. No cloying, flabby, or hollow wine here.
Wine Rating: A+. $35 price tag is one of the highest I have seen for Viognier, even from the Rhone, but it's the best example of Viognier I have ever had from a US vineyard. Can't say its a real value though, but you will definitely get quality.
Pairing: A+. Ginger qualities of the wine match up great with the ginger in the soup, and the wine citrus and soup coconut contrast nicely on the palate. Outstanding match.
Second wine of the Jujube Jemrose Winery Dinner, pairing- crispy duck with a sweet basil glaze and grill roasted tomato. Nose of wild red berries, white pepper, and barnyard funk. Palate is overwhelmed with inky squid sepia, char, tomato paste, and unfortunately alcohol heat. Some oak vanilla cream and berries, but not much even with a bit of air. Seems disjointed, especially with unbalance alcohol. Completely transforms with the duck however, the sweet glaze and even the roasted tomato really bring out the red berries and soften both the tannins and alcohol.
Wine Rating: B-. Not the best Grenache out there on its own merits but perhaps its still young or could use a longer decant. Either way, its really needs food.
Pairing: A. This gets an extra boost because the pairing was able to transform this wine from meh to bam! I sat back and thought that another more balanced Grenache wine might have been better but the transformation was incredible enough to make the whole experience really enjoyable.
Third wine of the Jujube Jemrose Winery dinner, paired with jujube and pork stuffed red pepper with red curry and mushrooms. Nose and palate are predominately earthy with hints of clean red fruits shining through- damp earth, tomato paste, black pepper, anise, bell pepper, smoke, roasted, mushrooms, cranberries, raspberries, black cherries, tobacco, and leather especially on the dry, tannic finish. Big, bold flavors with lots of tannic grip and long leathery finish. Seems dominated by tannins at this point; possible needs age or longer decant but nether of these factors could I control at this dinner.
Wine Rating: A-. Its a balance between old and new world, but really well made. Complex enough without being dominated by oak or alcohol. No telling if the tannins will relax with more time as the oak is balanced enough so that I really could not attribute the tannic structure predominately to the grape or barrel. Acidity is fair though the tannins are in control at this point. I enjoyed it but won't lie I balked at the regular $45 retail price tag; at this level you can find some Rhones that are more approachable.
Pairing: B-. The curry knocked out any fruit the wine offered, as well as the sweetness of the red pepper. The leathery finish does help to cleanse the spice off the palate, but otherwise I preferred each on its own.
Fourth wine of the Jujube Jemrose wine dinner, paired with a roasted sirloin sichuan au poivre, served with a shallot and potato hash. Looks to be about 60/40 Syrah / Merlot, though the owner, Jim Mack, says the blend normally hovers around that 50/50 mark. Very "black" nose- cassis liqueur, anise / black licorice, and earthy fire-pit ash along with some hints of wild berries for good measure. Palate shows the same black fruits, juicy blackberries and cassis, but with juicy, clean plum flavors as well. The tannins are chewy and noticeable; they combine nicely on the back end to give a great plum skin character. Great length, 30+ seconds, but the final finish is a little dry and leathery. This might have been more of a tannic beast in its early years, but the tannins are integrating with the acidity and its definitely coming together now. Its still very primary and fruit driven; only time will tell if it develops to the next level.
Wine Style & Quality: A-. Really well made wine with harmony amongst its bold flavors and aromas, especially considering its all fruit and oak at this point. More complexity and palate development, which might come with time, is needed to bump this in to the higher A's.
Pairing: A. You can't ever go wrong with steak and a bold red wine, but in this case the beef cut through the tannins and made the wine velvety smooth while still leaving those great plum notes. The roasted char on the meat also brought out more of the anise character in the wine. Superb!