Jeff’s Corner 1-27-23

Howdy, and Hello everyone!

Kathy and I just got back home from a fabulous week in Sonoma County, and we arrived just after the torrential rain and flooding in northern California. The weather was perfect, but many of the vineyards had lots of standing water in them and they have already had about 30% of their annual rainfall.

We spent four days in beautiful Cloverdale where I was judging the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and two days in equally beautiful Healdsburg where I was recovering from having scored about 425 wines Tuesday through Friday. Wowser!

Next week, I’ll write about the mechanics of the competition, the fantastic panel I served on (thanks, Joan Tillman, for the cool photo), the flights of wine I judged, and our over-the-top judges’ dinner we had in Napa at the incredible V. Sattui Winery. Today, however, I want to share with you the ongoing success of Heath Family Brands at what I like to consider the World Series of American Wine competitions. Every wine we entered brought us a medal!

Our flagship Grape Creek Vineyards label garnered 19 medals (mostly Silver,) with our long-tenured Cab Blanc bringing us its perennial Gold Medal. Our newer labels, however, are proving themselves to be rising stars in our ever-expanding portfolio. (Note: we did not submit any Invention Vineyards or JenBlossom Cellars wines.)

From our Owner’s Club, the Estate-Grown 2021 Joyist (81.5% Albariño) brought us a Double Gold medal, which means all three judges on the panel awarded it a Gold. Also in the Owner’s Club, from Heath Vineyards in Paso Robles, our 2019 Syrah and 2019 Absolution (a Cab/Merlot blend) both lassoed Gold Medals.

Over at Heath Sparkling, our 2019 Ebullience corralled another Double Gold. This is a unique, really cool wine made mostly from Pinot Grigio and finished in an old-world Ramato, or copper style. Finally, and last but not least, our 2019 Blanc de Blancs earned us another Gold Medal.

So, let’s all give Jason and his crew a huge shout-out for crafting such incredible wine, and Brian for having the vision to take us on this wonderful ride. You make us all very proud to work at HFB!!!

Below are my tasting notes for the ’21 Joyist and the ’19 Ebullience:

2021 Joyist
The only white wine in our Owner’s Club portfolio, the 2021 Joyist, is a brilliant, medium straw hue with a hint of pale yellow in the rim. Clean, straightforward aromas of Meyer lemon, tangerine, and yellow apple compliment white honey blossom and crème brûlée. 10% barrel fermentation adds texture on the palate with well-integrated fruit and acid leading to a long, brisk finish.

81.5% Albariño, 18.5% Chenin Blanc
13.1% ABV
Serving Temp: 45-50*

2019 Ebullience
An alluring pale gold with a hint of copper, yeasty, toasty aromas dominate the nose supported by an undercurrent of lemon zest, cantaloupe, and raw almond. A refined and intricate palate shows a touch of wet gravel minerality with a well-integrated, sophisticated finish.

78% Pinot Grigio, 22% Pinot Meunier
11.0% ABV
Sur Lie: 18 months
Style: Brut, .6% residual sugar
Serving Temperature: 38-45*