Producing great wine is much like making great music requiring many components to come together precisely. Start with perfect grapes that depict the Terrior, treat them with care through the crushing and fermentation process, and then use the right oak barrels for the right amount of time to produce wine with the taste, aroma and structure that wine enthusiasts admire. Just as wine making is a symphony so it is true in making a great winery. Jason-Stephens Winery is an example of the harmony that can result when the components of a great symphony come together.
Stephen Dorcich, son of pear farmers and former professional high-speed boat racer, purchased the 79-acre estate in 1989 and started planting grapes. By 1993 he was selling his grapes to local wineries and home winemakers. Wineries around Santa Clara Valley and around California have used his sustainably farmed grapes in production of fine quality wines.
In 2001 one of those home winemakers was Jason Goelz, a recent Cal Poly graduate, who came to Dorcich for some grapes to home ferment a barrel of Syrah. The two struck up a relationship and by 2004 Goelz was selling Dorcich’s custom crush to high-end wineries in Napa and around California for blends. In 2007 Jason approached Dorcich with the proposal to build a winery and jointly produce fine wines under the Jason-Stephens label. The winery opened in 2008.
The persistence of these two has paid off, producing outstanding wines that offer complexity, balance and elegance. This symphony is a delight to enjoy. Jason’s philosophy in winemaking is to, “Enhance people’s lives for the better because of what I created. My goal is to provide the wine enthusiast with wines that exceed their expectations.”
The Jason-Stephens 2007 Estate Chardonnay is an elegant wine with a perfect balance of fruit and oak. The aroma of pears and pineapple is followed by a creamy feel on the palate with flavors of Crème Brule and lemon.
The 2006 Estate Merlot is a dark rich wine full of dark fruit and spice with the interest of tea, coffee and tobacco and a touch of vanilla from the oak. It is soft and smooth on the palate leading to a long finish.
Jason-Stephens 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is a great value that provides the aromas and flavors of dark cherry and blackberry with a touch of cassis and cedar. The smooth tannin leads to a medium finish.
On the other hand, the 2006 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent high-end wine rich in dark cherry, plums and cassis. There is a touch of pepper and bakers chocolate on the nose. The tannins are still a bit ripe but there is a lot of age ability in this wine and this wine will be providing pleasure for a long time.
The 2006 Estate Syrah is a double gold winner with the aromas of blackberry, strawberry and blueberry with significant pepper and smoke and a touch of vanilla. The tannins are rich and balanced and lead to a great long finish.
Jason wants to, “build friends, family and life-long loyal wine lovers.” He encourages wine lovers to visit the winery. During the summer they have live music every Friday night. The BBQ grills are warmed up and you are encouraged to bring your own picnic, fry up some burgers, enjoy the music, meet with friends and share in the passion Jason puts into his wines.
Jason-Stephens is located at 11775 Watsonville Road in Gilroy between Uvas and Redwood Retreat Roads. You are welcomed to the estate through a long row of palm trees. They are open daily for tasting 12 to 6 p.m. in the summer, and 12 to 5 p.m. during the rest of the year.
For more info: Jason-Stephens Winery