Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Jericho Canyon Vineyard tucked in northeast Napa Valley

In the 1980s Marla and Dale Bleecher were ready to leave the stress of the city and find a place in the country where they could raise their kids and enjoy their dream of making wine.  They came across a small ad in the newspaper about a piece of property outside of Calistoga for sale by owner along Jericho Creek.  This 140 acre cattle ranch was going to require a lot of work to turn it into their dream vineyard and winery.  The land was along the Old Lawley Toll Road, the route to the Silverado Mine made famous by Robert Lewis Stevenson in his “Silverado Squatters.”

Years of work in the dirt, terracing the vineyards up the steep canyon walls on both side of the creek, constructing a 6,000 square foot wine cave, constructing a state of the art redwood 2000 cases winery housing stainless steel tanks, press and other equipment resulted in a high quality winery and 40 acres of
Cab, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.  They also built their new home on the other side of the canyon while they spent as much time as possible the intricacies of growing grapes and making wine.

For many years Jericho Canyon fruit went to Ramey Wine Cellars who produced a vineyard designates Jericho Canyon wine.  Winemaker David Ramey also produced an ultra-premium wine with the Jericho Canyon Vineyard label.  By 2006 harvest the Bleechers were ready for that big step towards making their own wine.  They completed the wine caves and winery building and produced their first vintage.  A few years later in 2011 their son Nicolas earned his BS in Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis to come on board to manage the operation.  Aaron Pott, the 2012 Food and Wine Winemaker of the Year and the legendary Bordeaux blending consultant, Michel Rolland, came along to help Jericho Canyon Vineyards to produce powerful wines that reflect their rugged hillside terroir.

Jericho Canyon Vineyard is Napa Certified Green, Certified Fish Friendly, and California Sustainable using sustainable agricultural practices to ensure that the vineyard and land remain healthy and productive for generations.  They do not use pesticides or spray to control insects, relying upon Mother Nature with her bluebirds to control insects.

The Jericho Canyon Vineyards 2013 Sauvignon Blanc is sur lie aged in 50/50 Stainless Steel and neutral oak barrels.  The result is a silky wine with nice crisp acids and a touch of grapefruit married with tropical flavors including pineapple and lychee.  The price is $40 per bottle.

The 2014 Rose is mostly a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with some Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.  It is a fresh light summer wine with a very light color and great acid and fruit flavors of strawberries and watermelon.  The price is $40 per barrel

The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon has an intense nose of dark fruit and black cherry.  On the palate you will enjoy the dark fruit flavors, spice, tobacco and floral qualities with a toasty note leading to a nice velvety long finish. The price is $110 per bottle.

The flagship 2012 Chimera is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.  It is a nicely balanced wine showing off nice tannins, full body, exquisite aromas and flavors of dark fruit, spice, chocolate and tobacco.  It has a nice smooth long lasting finish.  The price is $110 per bottle.

For more information: Jericho Canyon Vineyard

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