Jack Creek Cellars is pinot heaven in Paso Robles. We were introduced to them by Diane Babcock, co-owner of The Canyon Villa Bed & Breakfast on a trip to Paso Robles in late July, 2007. (Diane’s husband Jim is the other partner.) We won’t say any more about the Canyon Villa beyond this: if you get a chance to stay there, don’t pass it up. A once-in-a-lifetime experience featuring Italian luxury in the hills just southwest of Paso Robles. Diane made reservations for us at Jack Creek.
Doug and Sabrina Kruse, the owners, growers, winemakers, marketers, and bottle washers, were gracious hosts and introduced us to some of the best pinot noir and chardonnay we’ve ever tasted. Norma immediately insisted that we join their wine club because, “in a few years only club members will get any of their wine.” Jack Creek now has a tasting room open Thursday through Monday. (Technically the winery is located in Templeton, a small suburb of Paso Robles.) Their two most recent pinot releases are both 2009 vintage. We’ll save you the trouble of visiting their site: both these are sold out. Looks like Norma’s prediction wasn’t far off the mark.[doptg id=”8″]
The Estate Pinot Noir ($33) is “hard-candied watermelon, black cherry pie, and traits of raspberry reduction. If you judge a book by its cover you would expect the wine to be a fruit bomb, but it mellows out and gains complexity on the palate. Cola, plum, blackberry, and spice move in harmony as they dance across your senses, and take a final bow with a soft, sweet, dusty tannin finale.” We’ll add that this wine is very intense and could probably use six months or so before drinking. Not that we waited. This wine is just too good. We need a wine vault with a time lock, not just a wine cellar.
The Estate Pinot Noir Reserve ($43) is, “Deep, rich, gorgeously subtle fruit that is exploding in its youth. Where it will lead us is exciting to anticipate!” We have a couple of bottles of this one left in the cellar because, frankly, the winemaker’s notes are correct. It’s just too intense right now. We’ll try to resist for a year or two and see how it develops. Also available in magnums ($115) which are, of course, also sold out.
The 2010 Estate Chardonnay ($35) is best described as nearly naked. Just a bit of oak and no malolactic fermentation allow the grapes to express their true nature. Classic citrus and pineapple notes grace the palate. Great stuff and, somehow, we still have a bottle left.
Now that the winery is on its feet, Doug and Sabrina are having a little fun naming their their wine. That’s good luck for all of us. Their 2010 Concrete Blonde Estate Chardonnay ($37, available only to club members) is a bit more acid than the Estate Chardonnay, with minerality that reflects its fermentation in concrete tanks. (I may be wrong about the concrete fermentation, since I’m relying on my memory.)
The 2010 “Glow” Rosé of Pinot Noir ($23) will persuade those who actively dislike pink wine. Current releases also include a 2010 Rosé of Grenache/Syrah ($22), a 2009 Estate Grenache ($41), and a 2009 Estate Syrah ($46).
Doug and Sabrina are charming hosts. Club members are invited to their annual pickup party in the spring. If the wine itself wasn’t enough to keep us in the club, this event would seal the deal.
Jack Creek Cellars
5265 Jack Creek Rd
Templeton, CA 93465
The Canyon Villa
1455 Kiler Canyon Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446