Napa People-Pleaser of Palpable Quality

Today’s Story: John Anthony Vineyards

John Anthony Vineyards was established by John Anthony Truchard and his wife Michele after he planted his own vineyards during the late 1990s and harvested his first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in 2003. A second generation vintner, John learned a great deal about farming and winemaking at an early age working alongside his father at Truchard Vineyards. When he was in his early 20s, John started his own vineyard management company and farmed vineyards on nights and weekends before ultimately planting his own fruit and securing long-term leasing agreements to foster his dream of bottling his own wine. John selected Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Rhône clones when he planted his vineyards and the resulting wines are elegant and terroir-driven while each showcasing a unique place. John oversees the entire winemaking process from vineyard to cellar and bottles his wines into four distinct categories: AVA Series, Single Vineyard, Reserve, and The One. The wine I’m reviewing today falls into the Single Vineyard category, with other options being Crane Vineyard, Church Vineyard, and Coombsville District.

Note: John and Michele also started JaM Cellars in 2009 with the goal of producing affordable yet quality wines. They started with a bold, fruit-forward Cabernet Sauvignon priced under $20 but have since expanded the portfolio to include Butter Chardonnay, Toast Sparkling, and Candy Rosé.

Today’s Wine: 2009 Oak Knoll District Cabernet Sauvignon

100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15.2% ABV

The 2009 Oak Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon is opaque deep garnet in color with ruby hues and pale garnet variation near the rim of the glass. Once this opens up, the nose showcases aromas of ripe red cherry, dried raspberry, redcurrant, blueberry, cedar, chocolate, clay, musky tobacco, red licorice, and truffle. On the palate, I get notes of dusty blackberry, ripe blueberry, cherry, jammy plum, tobacco leaf, black tea, graphite, forest floor, green garden herbs, coffee, and oak. This wine is medium- to full-bodied with medium acidity, velvety and integrated medium (-) tannins, and a long finish dominated by notes of rose and licorice.

Price: $80 on release (the current vintage 2015 sells for $125 at the winery). This is drinking really well right now and it is not as jammy/fruit-forward as some of the wines from John Anthony I’ve had prior. I still think this fits into the people-pleasing camp but today’s typical Cab lover would enjoy this. Pair with filet mignon, herb-roasted lamb, or mature hard cheeses.

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