Three New Releases: 2012 Chardonnay Camelot Highlands, 2012 Pinot Noir Outland Ridge, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkeye Mountain. These three new releases are part of Kendall-Jackson’s Jackson Estate and Highland Estate wines which show case their different outstanding vineyard properties located on California mountain tops and ridges, hillsides, benchlands and other special sites for wine growing. The vineyards on the Camelot Highlands in Santa Maria Valley are more than 40 years old. Exposed to the coastal fog, they experience a very long growing season, ideal for Chardonnay grapes. The Outland Ridge in Anderson Valley is a remote coastal vineyard with poor rocky soils that can produce complex wines. Hawkeye Mountain [shown here] is situated high above the coastal fog line in Alexander Valley and experiences large diurnal variations and constant winds from the Pacific Ocean.
The wines reviewed here are distinctive, revealing the individual characteristics of their respective growing areas. They are also very well made and crafted by a team of Jackson Estate winemakers led by Randy Ullom. The wines are also exceptionally well priced in light of their quality.
Jackson Estate 2012 Chardonnay 2012 Camelot Highlands Santa Maria Valley ($30) 92 The. 2012 Chardonnay Camelot Highlands displays a yellow gold color with ripe aromas of pineapple and mango with a hint of smoke. Fermented and aged sur lie eight months in 97% French oak (50% new with medium toast), it is soft and creamy on the palate and intensely flavored with excellent balance and a long dry finish. The grapes come from 40 year old ungrafted vines.
Jackson Estate 2012 Pinot Noir Outland Ridge Anderson Valley ($35) 92 The 2012 Pinot Noir Outland Ridge displays dried cherry aromas and flavors with a hint of underbrush. It has a soft texture and ripe concentrated red fruit flavors on the palate. Aged 10 months in 59% French (30% new), it has firm round tannins and a good finish. The grapes for this Pinot Noir are sourced from a remote coastal vineyard in Anderson Valley.
Jackson Estate 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkeye Mountain Alexander Valley ($55) 91 The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkeye Mountain reveals red and black fruit and cedar aromas quite typical of Alexander Valley. Aged 23 months in 93% French oak (41% new), the wine is big, lush and concentrated with dark blackberry fruit flavors on the palate and a soft silky texture. The tannins are also round, and the finish is quite pleasant.
Coming soon: Report # 44 The Wines of Sonoma County which will review the wines of Alexander Valley and other Sonoma County wines.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler April 2014