This 2016 Cab literally danced in our mouths. We looked at each other and knew we had produced something special.
JAX Vineyards has been in existence for more than two and a half decades and must be considered among Napa Valley’s highest-tiered wineries.
The product of the brother-sister duo of Trent and Kimberly Jackson and operating partner Dan Parrott, JAX Vineyards has carved an imposing niche among the giants of Napa Valley. The initial idea of the Jackson brother-sister duo was to create a niche winery outside the more established (and imposing) wineries of the great Napa Valley. They would employ an “en vogue” winemaking style that would highlight the imposing land that comprised their father’s vineyard.
Before we continue, JAX is the obvious abridging of the name Jackson, a simplistic attempt at making the name easy to remember for consumers. From all indications, this imposing name has worked to perfection for its owners.
“Nothing much has changed around here since we started JAX Vineyards,” informed Operating Partner Dan Parrott. “We have a great team and we make fantastic wines. No need to try anything different.”
Parrott explained that JAX Vineyards will produce around 2,500 cases this year, a figure that has remained steady for the past few years. “We don’t want to get any larger,” he clarified. “When we started, we set out to prove certain things about our terroir and have always let our releases speak for themselves. It seems we hit on a winning formula and have all the accolades to show we were right in our initial expectations.”
For the record, the JAX Estate Vineyard still belongs to Dave Jackson while the winery concern is owned by his daughter and son, Kimberly and Trent. Dan Parrott is also a part-owner and serves as the operating partner in the JAX venture.
The ‘great team’ includes noted winemaker Kirk Venge who has been with the JAX operation since 2001. Venge is practically a legend (his father Nils is the Napa Valley winemaker icon) in Napa Valley and his list of accomplishments is hard to match. Venge is a UC Davis graduate and has had practical experience in practically every aspect of winemaking including the technically difficult sparkling wine field.
“Kirk is very meticulous when it comes to terroir-driven wines,” commented Parrott. “He might be most specific in that area of any Napa Valley winemaker. If the wine doesn’t mirror its conditions almost perfectly, he isn’t satisfied. It’s all about what Kirk calls ‘sense of place’, a term he takes quite seriously. With that in mind, we start with an incredible estate vineyard that has proven itself over many differing vintages and produced a great many award-winning wines.”
That vineyard is the JAX Estate Vineyard located on the Dave Jackson Farm in Calistoga. The northern Napa Valley site provides the fruit for almost all JAX Vineyards’ wines and is supplemented by small amounts of outside fruit for the winery’s Pinot Noir (Petaluma Gap) and Chardonnay (Russian River Valley) releases.
“Our style has remained consistent for the past fifteen years,” added Parrott. “You don’t want to mess with something that has proven its worth over many years.”
Parrott is particularly pleased with this month’s Diamond Wine Club selection, the 2016 JAX Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Block 3. “Kirk and I had always felt that the Block 3 fruit was better than the other blocks and we decided to prove our theory with the 2016 fruit. There was always something special about these grapes, they always grabbed our attention. We put aside enough for four barrels and let it do its thing. The wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and we used all new French oak barrels for the ageing process. Literally, we spared nothing in the making of this wine,” he added.
When it came time to bottle the wine, it seemed even better than we had hoped for. It literally danced in our mouths. We looked at each other and knew we had produced something special. We only made 125 cases of this wine, so your members are in for a real treat. I know it will affect them as it did Kirk and me.”
The reputation and high stature of JAX Vineyards is recognized worldwide with good reason. JAX Vineyards sits outside the established Napa Valley wine hierarchy and holds firm to its original vision of a winery that focuses totally on where its fruit is grown.
We salute JAX Vineyards for its uncompromising stance on terroir-driven wines and applaud the many accolades it has garnered since its inception.
We know you will enjoy the incredible experience this 2016 JAX Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Block 3, will provide.
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
The critics are over the moon about the 2014 Napa Valley vintage. Antonio Galloni called the year “exceptional” in his December 2016 report, while James Suckling praised the wines as “extremely attractive” and “bright and sophisticated.” For some of the most densely concentrated and opulent releases of the vintage, look to the Calistoga AVA, which benefits from the most extreme diurnal temperature variation in Napa Valley and beautifully rich volcanic soil.
In this vintage our winemaker Kirk Venge produced an absolutely stunning Cab off these valley floor vines earning a glowing 93-point review from Parker. “This is super and a great value,” Parker wrote, and we won’t argue. Kirk knows the Calistoga appellation well; it’s where he broke ground for his own winery, in 2010. It’s not hard to see why — Calistoga boasts a litany of superlatives that make winemakers giddy. It has the most extreme diurnal temperature shift in all of Napa Valley, often seeing temperature changes of upwards of 50 degrees between night and day, making for wines of incredible phenolic ripeness. It has the highest percentage of volcanic soil of any Napa Valley AVA, lending magnificent concentration. Its vineyards are the steepest in Napa and sit on the most geologically uniform bedrock. And the list goes on.
The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes used to make this wine are from our family’s vineyard in northern Calistoga. My father David Jackson purchased the vineyard in the early 90’s after 5 years of searching for his ideal terroir encompassing alluvial loam soil, dry farmed vineyards, and the elemental protection of our little valley. The JAX name represents an updated twist and memorable abbreviation of our family name.
We hope that you will enjoy this beautiful wine with your family and friends. To taste the rest of the JAX Vineyards wines come by our tasting room in the heart of San Francisco or come to one of our many tasting events. We provide a unique Napa Valley experience in the city that is not to be missed.
Kimberly Jackson Wickam,