Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Reviewing the Chateau Carbonnieux 2015 Grand Cru Classé de Graves

Located in the Pessac-Léognan region of the Graves, Chateau Carbonnieux is known for its production of red and white wines. Thanks to the clay–limestone terroir, this area produces some of the best dry white wines in the Bordeaux region.

The chateau was built in 1380 during the Hundred Years War and overlooks one of the largest vineyards in the Graves region. The Bordeaux Hospices originally owned it. From 1519 to 1740, the Ferron family and then the Councillors at the Parliament of Guyenne resided there. In 1740, the Benedictine monks from Sainte-Croix abbey in Bordeaux purchased the property, renovated the estate, replanted the vineyards and began making wine.

Marc Perrin purchased the estate in 1956. He and his son Antony, who now manages it, have spent time restoring the Château, upgrading the vineyard and modernizing the working areas. The estate now grows 111 acres of red grapes varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc along with 106 acres of the white grape varieties of Semillon and Sauvignon grapes.

The Chateau Carbonnieux, Grand Cru Classé de Graves is a straw-colored light bodied wine. The “cru classé,” batches of Semillon and Sauvignon grapes are blended to create structure from the Semillon grapes, and the Sauvignon grapes provide the vivid floral notes. The Grand Cru Classé de Graves opens with a citrus and floral nose followed by a light fruity flavor profile and a hint of vanilla on the finish. The wine is barrel aged for ten months before bottling.

Legend has it that the wine was served to the Sultan of Constantinople’s palace in the 18th century. In order to slip past Islamic law, the wine was called “mineral water from Carbonnieux,” which everyone could then enjoy.

This wine is a standout when chilled well and paired with fowl or seafood off the grill, or served with a fruity dessert. May be cellared from 4-7 years. Enjoy!


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Grab a Bottle (Any Bottle) Of JaM Wine for Summer

Reviewed by Joy Neighbors

If you're looking for an affordable wine that flaunts exceptional aroma and flavor, then JaM Cellars is a great go-to.

John and Michele Truchard
John Truchard grew up in the wine business. His parents, Tony and JoAnn Truchard developed Truchard Vineyards in 1974. It was 2003 when John and his wife Michele started John Anthony Vineyards. From there, the Truchard’s, along with winemaker Rob Lloyd created JaM Cellars in 2009. They wanted to offer wine drinkers something enjoyable, and affordable, and it appears that they have succeeded. Today, Jeff Kandarian is JaM's winemaker.

The 2007 JaM Red Blend was the first release in 2009 with Butter Chardonnay hitting shelves in 2010. In 2014, JaM Cabernet Sauvignon was released, and now, non-vintage Toast Brut Sparkling is available. For this review, I tried all three.

2014 JaM Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2014 JaM Cabernet is, well, jammy. This medium bodied Cab is crafted from Napa Valley grapes, and it does not disappoint. Aromas of berry, cherry and leather lead into a flavorful explosion of cerise, blackberry, and a hint of elderberry. Although I would have liked the apple and tobacco finish to linger, this vino was a hit when served with burgers, and with venison steaks.

2015 JaM Butter Chardonnay
Suffice it to say, this is buttery! If you’re into rich Chards (and I am), this will be a top pick. The nose is stone fruits with hints of toasty oak. Get ready for BUTTER on the tongue with an exceptional creaminess and a long vanilla finish. JaM cold ferments the grapes with a unique blend of oak for a luscious Chardonnay. I served it with grilled chicken. Nice.

Non-Vintage Toast Brut Sparkle
There’s always a reason to celebrate and Toast makes it fun. It may be crafted with traditional Champenoise techniques, but there's nothing stuffy about this wine Pop the cork and inhale notes of melon, lemon and cheddar. The flavor profile includes pineapple and melon with a toasty finish. This light crisp sparkle is great for a celebration, (We toasted the New Year with it!), or for no reason at all.

Kudos to JaM Cellars! Rarely do I find all of the wines from one producer to be something I'd purchase, but your wines hit all of the marks.


JaM Cellars wines can be purchased from a variety of stores, from small wine shops to your neighborhood grocery store. The wines are available in all 50 states and Canada.

Here’s just a sampling of grocery stores carrying these wines:
Cost Plus World Market
Food Lion
Giant Eagle
Super Target,
Trader Joe’s
Whole Foods
And more