James Family Cellars

2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Chardonnay •Guggiana/Burnett

California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Coast

Offer Expired:Jan 19, 2012 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


Today’s Chardonnay is an absolutely lovely wine made by a great boutique winery that specializes in Pinot Noir. With just over 200 cases produced be sure to pick up an allocation of this delicious wine before it is gone forever.


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Mission Codename: Four generations and counting

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Secure a delicious Sonoma Coast Chardonnay from our good friends at James Family Cellars.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: James Family Cellars

Wine Subject: 2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Winemaker: Terry Adams


The Sonoma Coast AVA is the 750 square mile area with the Pacific ocean on its western boundary, the San Pablo Bay to the south and Mendocino County to the north, headed inland to the other designated AVAs in Sonoma County. The region is heavily influenced by the cooler ocean climate, increased rainfall and fog that lingers long on the coastal mountains. The specific climate suits the demanding Burgundian varietals of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir very well.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Very pale straw yellow and brilliantly clear that pales further to nearly clear along the edges. When swirled, this wine settles quickly in the glass and leaves slow broad headed tears on the side of the glass.

Smell – Bright and fresh aromas of white peach, tropical melon and sweet and tangy citrus blends with a touch of butter cream, white flowers and hints of toasted oak.

Feel – Medium to full-bodied for a white, this dry wine has vibrant acidity and a nice soft minerality. Plush and generous on the tongue that lasts long into the finish.

Taste – Fresh but also balanced orchard tree fruit including apple, pear and peaches with a little tangy citrus. These classic fruit flavors are complimented by old-world complexity of soft butter, toasted wood and oak, white floral notes and soft minerality that is tasted and felt on the side of the tongue.

Finish – Long and lingering with the tree fruit fading first and the tangy citrus and other complex flavors lingering on and on and on…

Conclusion – The 2010 James Family Cellars Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is quite simply a delicious wine that shows real Burgundian character. Great fruit and other complex aromas and flavors without the typical overly buttery and thick mouth-feel. The fresh acidity and soft minerality makes this a great wine to pair with food and being winter we found it the perfect accompaniment to fresh raw oysters.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Jeff James

FARMING EDUCATION: U.C. Davis – Agricultural Science & Management degree


WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Start with good grapes, then don’t mess them up.

GRAPE GROWER QUOTE: “You want to know how to make a small fortune in farming?… you start with a large fortune.”



AGENT RED: Greetings, Jeff. It’s great to be showcasing your wine again. We are thrilled to be showing your 2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonay today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

JEFF JAMES: Thank you so much. We’re happy to be back with you and your Operatives, once again.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

JEFF: My friends at U.C. Davis would occasionally bring the wines that they were making from their vineyards at home. Some were really good… some were not.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

JEFF: Our 2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is a very well-balanced and food-friendly wine. We think we found a very nice place in the flavor and texture profile with this vintage – not over the top with oaky and buttery components, but with just enough of each to enhance the complexity and mouthfeel of the wine.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

JEFF: Our fresh, local, Dungeness crab is fantastic with this wine. Another pairing that pleasantly surprised us was warm oatmeal raisin cookies right out of the oven… not what you would think of as a classic pairing, but it works exceptionally well with our chardonnay!

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Sonoma Coast so special for Chardonnay?

JEFF: Our neighborhood in the Sonoma Coast appellation is marked by a long, cool, ripening season which is ideal for developing complex flavors and elegant wines.

RED: What is occupying your time in the vineyard these days?

JEFF: Keeping barrels topped up, and getting our Rose’ of Pinot Noir cold stabilized and ready for its release in the Spring. We’re also busy pruning in the vineyard.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

JEFF: The next time you enjoy a glass of wine or a bite of food, try to remember to honor the farmer that produced it for you. Cheers!

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the James Family Cellars can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

Awards & Accolades:

Gold MedalSan Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

About This Wine:

A beautiful pale straw color grabs your eye as the light shines and shimmers through this elegant wine. The slightest hint of tropical fruit rises to greet your nose, then a beautiful blend of pear, lemongrass, nectarines and butterscotch waltz across your palate.

The mouthfeel is round and luxurious while the finish is marked by plum, green apple and minerality. Our limited use of new French oak was utilized to delicately enhance the beautiful fruit and acid balance of this lovely chardonnay.

Pairings: Pair this well-structured wine with fresh stone fruit, sheep cheese, Pasta Alfredo, chicken dishes and our son, Matt’s, famous homemade oatmeal-raisin cookies.

About The Winery:

Owners Jeff and Judy James, along with their two sons who are 4th generation Sonoma County agriculturalists, founded James Family Cellars. James Family Cellars is a family-owned boutique winery that is dedicated to the production of artisinal wines that showcase the world-class grapes that they grow. Jeff and Judy planted their vineyard in 1998. They have been selling grapes for many years to premium wineries in Sonoma and Napa Counties. After winning several awards for the amateur wines they produced from their grapes, they decided in 2007 to follow their dreams and start James Family Cellars. Jeff and Judy are committed to the highest quality, which is reflected in the limited number of cases released.

James Family Cellars is dedicated to reaching the pinnacle of what Pinot Noir can be—a marvelously aromatic and flavorful wine. We are committed to quality and this is reflected in the limited number of cases released.

This is a family enterprise, involving our two sons and other family members. We are all involved and dedicated to the same goals. We enjoy being part of our region’s agricultural and wine businesses and strive to always produce wines which delight our customers.

Single Vineyard Pinot Noir:

From the vineyard to the cellar, our goal is to craft wines that are a delight to drink and a distinct expression of our vineyard. This ensures that our site’s singular “fingerprint” is revealed in the wine that we ultimately present to our customers.

Patience is a Virtue For Pinot Noir – James Family Cellars’ grapes are nurtured in the vineyard throughout the year and hand picked based on taste and appearance. In the cellar, we emphasize gentle handling, slow fermentation and lengthy aging to promote a Pinot Noir wine that is both elegant and long lasting. Our patience is rewarded by the seductive flavors and textures of a world-class Pinot Noir.

Location and Climate – Stony Point Vineyard, our home site on which our James Family Cellars Pinot Noir is grown, is situated on a gently sloping parcel of nearly 10 acres in the rolling hills of western Sonoma County. This area is famous for its cool climate Pinot Noir. The region’s cool maritime climate is balanced by our vineyard’s south facing exposure, providing us with ultimate hang time. As a result, our Pinot Noir grapes ripen slowly and evenly with tremendous balance of sugar, acid and flavors.

Design and Farming – Our vineyard’s specific row orientation, which mirrors the slope of the land, maximizes sunlight exposure, maintains natural soil profiles and provides us with better access to the vines for lower impact farming. In partnership with our vineyard managers, Steve and Joe Dutton, we practice a variety of sustainable farming techniques aimed at maximizing vine health and fruit quality. Canopy management is critical for proper sun exposure, while leaf pulling maintains open air flow and reduces the need for spraying. Crop thinning throughout the growing season concentrates flavors and ensures full ripening. Since we are located within the Russian River watershed, we are committed to fish friendly farming practices including the use of cover crops, drip irrigation and alternate row tilling to prevent erosion and run off.

Sustainable Farming – Sustainable agriculture is an alternative system of farming based upon resource conservation and quality of life to the surrounding environment and its inhabitants. The three most common indicators that appear in definitions of sustainable agriculture are: environmentally sound, economically viable, and socially acceptable. In this context, sustainable agriculture embraces all agricultural systems striving to meet these criteria. Such practices require a high degree of management of biological resources, and a firm commitment to long-term sustainable growth.

Technical Analysis:

Vineyard: Guggiana/Burnett

Appellation: Sonoma Coast

Winemaker: Terry Adams

Barrel Aging: 9 months in French Oak (25% new, 75% neutral)

Alcohol: 14.2%

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