Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Report from … An Impromptu Tasting of Carmel Road Wines at the MJF - September 17, 2011

It’s time to head out to the Monterey Jazz Festival – the event that brought us to California in the first place (or that’s what brought everybody else to California) … on the bus ride over from the hotel, Jaymz Bee, our illustrious leader and host for the Jazz Safari (thru radio station Jazz FM in Toronto) told me of a wine tasting in the Artist’s Tent, where he has a “in” with the “bouncer / head of security” … so with Joshua Redman and Herbie Hancock on the aural menu this evening, I find myself at an oral tasting of Carmel Road wines at the Monterey Jazz Festival. 

Carmel Road is owned by Kendall Jackson, this winery arm of KJ is a sponsor of the festival.  All the grapes from these wines are grown in Monterey.  Pouring the wine tonight is associate brand manager Jillian Lines and she runs me though the three wines being poured this evening, and all through the festival – please note these wines were tasted out of plastic glasses better suited as water vessels than wine glasses, think a slightly larger Dixie cup:

Carmel Road 2009 Pinot Gris ($16.00) - a fairly simple white sipper with aromas of peach and pear, the palate gives up a little more to get excited about: crisp pear and apple but with a slightly bitter finish. (***+)

Carmel Road 2009 Chardonnay ($18.00) – 80% of this wine see 7 months of barrel treatment as well as being fermented in oak.  Thus 20% is done in stainless steel tokeep an element of freshness.  As mentioned the glass was not of the best quality so the sense of smell revealed little to nothing.  The palate was peach and pineapple along with some delicate vanilla notes, there’s also some green apple that shows up with vanilla on the long, tasty finish. (*** ½+)

Carmel Road 2009 Pinot Noir ($20.00) – the best of the three wines was this Pinot Noir, smooth and easy drinking full of juicy black cherry and strawberry fruit on the palate along with white pepper and some vanillin notes, good acidity keeps it from being jammy. (****)

Addendum:  I was emailed by the folks at KJ and they wanted to set the record straight on a very important piece of information about owner of Carmel Road:
"wanted to make sure that you knew more about our ownership as it's easy to make the assumption that Carmel Road is owned by Kendall-Jackson. Both Carmel Road and Kendall-Jackson are separate wine brands owned by the Jackson family. All of the wineries owned by the Jackson family are marketed under the broader concept, Jackson Family Wines, but each remains an independently run winery. Many folks don't realize that Kendall-Jackson and its sister wineries are still family owned, which as you know is a rarity in the wine industry today."

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