Jonata Todos Ballard Canyon Red Blend 2014
Santa Barbara is the southernmost wine region of California’s Central Coast. It is 100 miles from downtown Los Angeles and benefits from a dreamy climate warm enough for semi-tropical plants to thrive. Happily, the vineyards are located such that perennial sea fog produces cool climate conditions—cooler in fact that either Carneros or the Russian River in Sonoma. Ballard Canyon is the warmest of the Santa Ynez sub regions. Located on the site of Rancho San Carlos de Jonata, a large land grant from 1854 in the Santa Ynez Valley, (Jonata means Tall Oak in the language of the local Chumash Indians.) Jonata Vineyards focuses on producing opulent elegant wines from Bordeaux varieties, Syrah and Sangiovese. Vineyards are planted with a diverse selection of grape varieties, but the bulk of the wines feature the aforementioned grapes. Jonata is devoted to sustainable farming.
Forty-one year old Matt Dees is the original winemaker at Jonata. His was a less than traditional route to this position. Born in Kansas City, he studied plant and soil science in Vermont where he helped start Shelburne Winery. He worked at a winery in Kansas for a while before finagling a job at Staglin Vineyards in Napa (basically, he just called and said he was coming and when he arrived, they put him to work). Matt was on an internship at Craggy Ridge in New Zealand when he received a call from Andy Erickson, the former winemaker at Staglin telling him that he had recommended him for the job of winemaker at Jonata. The rest, as they say, is history.
Todos is made from eleven grape varieties (Syrah 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 20%, Petite Sirah 11%, Petit Verdot 8%, Sangiovese 5%, Merlot 2%, Cabernet Franc 2%, Viognier 1%, Sauvignon Blanc 1%, Semillon 1%.) It is aged in 40% new French oak and 60% neutral French oak. 2014 was a very early ripening vintage. They aimed for low yields in the vineyards with strict vineyard management and were very pleased with the results. In fact, Matt Dee stated that the start that he felt the wine was going to be very promising. The wine combines fruit and spice—a delicious combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah with a hint of Viognier florality.