Willamette Valley AVA
As Nicolas-Jay developed, numerous awards, scores and accolades followed suit.
Their friendship began more than three decades ago and has blossomed into one of Oregon’s highest-rated Pinot Noir producing wineries.
The principles, Californian Jay Boberg (San Francisco) and Burgundian Jean-Nicolas Méo have a relationship that could easily have been made in heaven.
“We are both passionate about wine,” admitted Jay Boberg. “When we first met many years ago, the main topic was about wine and the great Burgundian tradition of winemaking. Nicolas went to Penn with my sister and that’s how we met.”
As a means of introduction, Jean-Nicolas is part of the French family that owns Domaine Méo-Camuzet, one of the stars of the Vosne-Romanée commune in Burgundy. The Domaine is considered one of the finest in Burgundy and produces six Grand Crus, among the top in the country.
Jay Boberg has been a musician all his life. While attending UCLA, he became active in the music world. He accompanied a roommate to Napa Valley and his affair with the almighty grape had its beginning. He also completed a master’s at the Harvard Business School.
He achieved great success in the super-competitive music business. He owned IRS Records and was president of MCA/Universal Records for ten years. Among the stars he developed were R.E.M., the Go-Go’s, Mary J. Blige, and B.B. King among others.
As his musical career waned, Boberg turned to his other passion, the wine industry.
“I had met Jean-Nicolas in 1988 and we shared a great deal of similar tastes. At one time, we discussed the possibility of establishing a winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, an area we both considered as particularly attractive for the Pinot Noir grape. The idea took root (literally) and Domaine Nicolas-Jay became a reality. The company released its first vintage (2014) and was off to the races.
While the company made its wines in shared facilities for its first five years, the idea of building its own winery site was foremost in their minds. In 2014, it acquired Bishop Creek Vineyard that had been planted in 1987 on its own rootstock, a rarity in this age. A new home winery was recently completed this past April in the Dundee Hills AVA, that also includes venerable Domaine Drouhin, Knudsen Vineyards, and other top wineries.
“We researched everything about the area,” Jay Boberg informed. “We looked at the quality of fruit, and the temperate climate. It was also somewhere affordable to make the business work, which wasn’t the case in California where land prices were out the roof.”
As Nicolas-Jay developed, numerous awards, scores and accolades followed suit. The entity was quickly considered one of Oregon’s finest Pinot Noir producers and a commercial success with its band of dedicated followers.
“It was always our aim to develop a French-American wine portfolio with our bond of friendship being a major factor,” Boberg related. “We both share a deep passion for wine and a dedication toward producing the finest Pinot Noir in the country.”
The label for Domaine Nicolas-Jay is a story unto itself. The owners contacted Art Professor Todd Hedgpeth of the San Francisco School of Design for his input. Another designer, Christine Lehtonen, joined the operation and the distinctive winery label evolved.
“Our two names are joined in a sort of chain,” explained Jay Boberg. “If you look closely, the chain is formed with lower case letters of our first names. Professor Todd even created the font that spells out ‘Nicolas Jay’ that is so distinctive and has drawn so many favorable comments from both the trade and the general public.”
It is entirely fitting that a Californian turned Oregonian and his French partner should find such remarkable success with their new venture. Their winery will produce around 4,200 cases this year and has the potential for increasing its production to around 7,000 cases in the next five to ten years.
Jay Boberg is also watching the careers of his offspring, Sebastian, 29, and Juliette, 27. “Both of my kids have worked around wineries for most of their adult lives and seem to like what they see when they are here,” Boberg added. “They both have different careers, but I am hopeful that they will one day come to appreciate the winery as both I and my partner Nicolas do.”
It is a great pleasure to introduce our Platinum Wine Club members to this Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. It is a tribute to Oregon’s pioneer wineries that Domain Nicolas-Jay has achieved such rarefied status in such a short period of time. Enjoy!
Map of the area
Dear Platinum WIne Club Members,
It is our pleasure to present you with our 2017 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Each year, this wine is a unique blend of the very best 8 vineyards in the region made up of barrels chosen by us for each vintage. All of our vineyards are farmed organically or biodynamically. Sustainable farming is essential to us. Jean-Nicolas uses the same winemaking regimen he employs in Burgundy at his MÉO CAMUZET Domaine crafting wines that reflect the unique terroir and elements of Oregon.
Our wines are balanced, creating a tension between fruit and structure that shines with food. Lower in alcohol and extremely limited in sulfites, these wines pair extraordinarily well with everything from salmon to lamb. The wines will age for at least two decades and likely begin to reach their peak towards their 10th birthday. The challenge will be to not drink them all before...
Our goal is to make the best wine in Oregon - you, and others who cherish the best wines in the world, will ultimately make that assessment but everything we do is with that goal in mind. We invite you to come visit us in the Willamette Valley at our winery and tasting room - it will be our pleasure to host you.
We look forward to hearing your feedback ([email protected]) and meeting you soon.
Jean-Nicolas & Jay