From the minds behind Screaming Eagle, comes its sister winery JONATA; quite possibly California’s next Big Cult Winery and Santa Ynez’s First!
“This remarkable Santa Ynez estate is under the same ownership as Napa Valley’s Screaming Eagle winery…this is one of California’s most exciting new wineries. What they are accomplishing with Bordeaux varietals is mind-boggling….” Robert Parker, the Wine Advocate 6/08
“This team excelled with both the Bordeaux and Rhone varieties….The Cabernet Franc El Alma de Jonata and El Desafio aren’t far behind and are incredibly concentrated and rich. I suspect all of these will have two decades or more of longevity….The Todos is becoming more and more Syrah dominated and certainly is not far behind in terms of quality and is much (well, a little) more approachable on release. In short, you can’t go wrong at this estate and these are brilliant wines that check in near the top of the Santa Barbara hierarchy. Hat’s off to winemaker Matt Dees and the rest of the team.” ~ Jeb Dunnuck, the Wine Advocate 8/15
Dedicated to expressing a range of red—and a handful of white—wines from its estate in the central coast of California’s Ballard Canyon (Santa Ynez Appellation), Jonata is one of a new breed of producers throughout the world who are thriving with a non-traditional amalgam of varieties and blends. With a commitment in particular to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, and informed by cutting edge viticulture, winemaking and a polyface approach to their estate, the Jonata wines are on the vanguard of an emerging quality movement in California winegrowing.
Sustainability as a Way of Life
Jonata is dedicated to sustainability from the inside out; a principled approach to farming. With its use of polyface farming—as first introduced to America by Michael Pollan in his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”—Jonata integrates and revolves livestock (chickens, turkeys, goats, pigs and sheep) in their farming model, which naturally enhances the soil and health of their land (not to mention that of the critters themselves and the Jonata community!). Farmworkers are given a large garden plot to grow food for themselves and their families. Water is used judiciously and with precision. Herbicides and pesticides don’t even enter the conversation.
The name Jonata pays homage to the 1845 Spanish land grant, Rancho San Carlos de Jonata. At the time the land grant covered a large part of the Santa Ynez Valley. Today’s Jonata is at the heart of the former land grant. The Jonata name was borrowed by the first pioneers from the local Chumash Indian and means “tall oak”.
Out of the 586 acres acquired by Stan Kroenke, only 84 bear vines today. The highly sandy soil made the vineyard development intricate and the task was successfully done by Central Coast Vineyard Care Associates—the preeminent viticultural management company on the Central Coast. Forgoing conventional wisdom from the outset the estate was planted with a host of varieties that are rarely cultivated side-by-side, an audacious decision at the time that created a stir in the winegrowing community.
From the first harvest in 2004 and under the guidance of Matt Dees, Jonata’s winemaker, it became clear that—despite widespread skepticism—not only had the right decision been made to plant Syrah, Sangiovese and Bordeaux varieties but the meticulously farmed 84-acre vineyard could also produce extraordinary results. Encouraged by Stan Kroenke’s dedication to excellence, the estate has turned out a series of wines that have garnered substantial critical acclaim from Robert M. Parker Jr., Jeb Dunnuck, Antonio Galloni and Stephen Tanzer.
The Ballard Canyon in California’s Central Coast Santa Ynez Appellation is one of California’s most notable emerging locations for superlative Rhône variety wines; while few have succeeded with Cabernet varieties here, Jonata’s sandy site and its team’s winegrowing know-how have produced results that are widely recognized as the best ever seen from this region.
Red Wine | Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley | Purchase Online
Wine Spectrum 93+, Wine Advocate 94: A great wine, the 2012 Todos Proprietary Red Wine offers terrific notes of black and red raspberry fruits, toasted bread and spice. As it sat in the glass, more classic Syrah olive, bacon and a touch of violet all developed. Medium to full-bodied, juicy, mouthfilling and loaded with sweet fruit, it doesn’t skimp on structure and will have at least a decade of longevity. Think of this as a mini-La Sangre. The blend here is 75% Syrah with 7% each of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance a mix of varieties.
Cabernet Franc | Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley | Purchase Online
Wine Spectrum 95, Wine Advocate 98+: Composed of 74% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot, the 2015 El Alma de Jonata gives a deep garnet-purple color and vibrantly scented nose of red currants, black cherries and rose hip tea with hints of tobacco, pencil shavings and underbrush. Medium to full-bodied, the rich, decadent fruit is nicely framed by firm, grainy tannins plus plenty of freshness, finishing long and perfumed.
Cabernet | Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley | Purchase Online
Wine Spectrum 95, Wine Advocate 95+: A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, the 2015 El Desafio de Jonata has a deep garnet-purple color and nose of cassis, blueberry compote and warm plums with hints of cigar box, dusty earth, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. The rich, medium to full-bodied palate gives layers of plums, earth notions and spices, with firm, grainy tannins to frame and a long, layered finish.