Jones Family Vineyards was founded by Sally and Rick Jones, avid wine enthusiasts who developed a passion for drinking wine in the 1970′s while they were living in France. This certainly is not a bad place to immerse oneself into the culture of old world wines. Sally & Rick moved to the Napa area in 1991 and were able to purchase a premium vineyard that was being sold by Calistoga’s Araujo Estate. For several years Jones Family sold their fruit to a winery in the Stag’s Leap district and at the same time, made non commercial wine. The knew their vineyard was quite capable of producing stellar Cabernet – both from tasting their own wine as well the wine from the wineries who were purchasing their fruit.
Jones Family released their first commercial vintage in 1996 and currently focus on estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon. They employ two superstars in the local Napa wine scene, vineyard manager David Abreu and winemaker Thomas Brown. Both have sterling reputations in the valley in their respective fields. As any winemaker will tell you, a large percentage of winemaking is done in the vineyards and it is up to the individuals managing the vineyards and the winemaker to bring forward the uniqueness of each vineyard location.
The vineyard is 10 acres and ranges in elevation from 600 to 900 feet. The original 7 vineyard acres was planted in the early 1990′s. Later David Abreu planted an additional 3 acres and the fruit from this vineyard is used in blending as well as in their second label, The Sisters. Their vineyard is among the southern most vineyards in the Calistoga appellation (located on the Eastern side of the valley).
Today Rick is still involved, however his two daughters Stephanie and Heather now run their sales, marketing and general operations. Even their husbands are wine enthusiasts and have been known to help out from time to time on marketing related activities. It is truly a family run affair and hopefully the 3rd generation when of age, will be consumed by the “Napa allure” that is hard to resist when you grow up in a winemaking family in the Napa Valley.
The 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% varietal; it is dark ruby in the glass with a complex bouquet that reveals a nice depth of aromas as it opens. It is an elegant nose – that shows some earth notes, chocolate, hint of baking spice and subtle fruit aromas including pleasant blackberry. The bouquet is elegant and refined. The mouth feel is rounded especially on the fore and mid palate but one can quickly tell this wine has power, especially towards the finish. Rich flavors and a big structure lingers for some time. This is a wine that certainly can be enjoyed now but will develop additional nuances and smoothness over time.
Jones Family produces a true second wine, appropriately named with the family in mind, called The Sisters. While from the exact same vineyard as their Estate Cabernet the wine style is decidedly different. This is more California in style using the same fruit as used in their Cabernet Sauvignon but depending on the year, is blended from specific blocks within the vineyard as well as with additional amounts of Cabernet Franc.
The 2008 Three Sisters is 100% varietal Cabernet Sauvignon; it shows explosive fruit on the bouquet – aromas of blackberry and black currant dominate – as the wine opens a pleasing earth component creeps into the bouquet. This is a very aromatic bouquet. The entry is surprisingly soft on the palate – the core of fruit is red rather than dark and the finish leaves well integrated dusty tannins as well as hints of mocha.
Jones Family does not produce a lot of wine – each of the wines released is typically only around several hundred cases. As a result, the majority of their wine is distributed through their mailing list and on site at Salon St. Helena, an appointment only tasting salon shared with another producer with a similar pedigree – Harris Estate. You can also find their wine locally at several premium restaurants including the French Laundry in Yountville , and select restaurants in New York and London. Visit: www.joneswine.com
The start of this video is in Japanese but proprietor Rick Jones provides a good synopsis of their history and production: