May 24, 201309:03 AMThe Telegraph
The Premier Blog of the West
Tasting Panel: Jericho Canyon Vineyard: Sauvignon Blanc And Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley is home to some big shot winemakers. But it's the little guys that form the foundation of Napa's reputation. One such enterprise is tucked away along the road to the old Silverado Mine, made famous by Robert Lewis Stevenson's Silverado Squatters, is the Bleecher family vineyard, Jericho Canyon, producing stellar, largely unsung vintages near Calistoga, California. The multigenerational operation sits on a former ranch — a small herd is still kept, though — and involves every member of the Bleecher clan, putting in seven-day workweeks with the assistance of winemaker Aaron Pott and Michel Rolland, consulting winemaker. Much of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of associate winemaker Nicholas Bleecher, son of founders Dale and Marla Bleecher. Nicholas, who began working at the vineyard at the age of 4, is an unassuming young man eager to discuss the particulars of wine production as well as the efforts his family takes to conserve and protect the land on which the vineyard sits. Jericho Valley is certified Napa Green Land & Winery. Seventy percent of the land is designated wildlife habitat, where there's plenty of bear and deer. Also, when forming the terraces for planting, the Bleechers followed the contours of the land, planting, 40 acres of merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, and sauvignon blanc. This week, C&I had the opportunity to sample bottles of the latter two.
Steven Phelps (website content manager): It has a lovely mineral qaulity to it and smells like white flowers. This Jericho Canyon is not as acidic as a lot of outher sauvignon blancs.
José R. Ralat (associate editor): There's a slight oak on the nose and I get guava when I drink it. Also, there's a tangy kick on the finish. This is the wine I want on a warm day.
Lauren Crispin (art director): I taste lychee. There's a spicy bite at the end, too.
Kathy Wise (executive editor): It's not thin at all, and smells refreshing. I love the grapefruit and the peppery end.
SP: I like the plum and smoky oak up front. It also has an easy finish with a mellow mouthfeel.
LC: It's kind of dry. I like it. I'm a red wine kind of girl, anyway. I'm not much for cold drinks.
JR: This cab is rich, and would go really well with a bunch of meat. It's important to note that wine relaxes if you let it breathe in the glass. It's not that it loses body out, more like it gets comfortable.
LC: I'd definitely buy it.
For more information on Jericho Canyon Vineyard wine, pricing and tours, visit www.jerichocanyonvineyard.com.