Joyce Vineyards Winery

2006 Chateau Christina Monterey Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir •Franscioni Vineyard

California: Monterey County

Offer Expired:Sep 15, 2008 at 11:59 pm
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Mission Codename: Open wide, and don’t spit!

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: After a long surveillance, secure a supply of Chateau Christina’s Franscioni Vineyard Pinot Noir

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Chateau Christina – Joyce Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2006 Monterey Franscioni Vineyard Pinot Noir

Winemaker: Frank C. Joyce


The first grapes were planted in the Salinas Valley as early as the late 1700 by the Spanish missionaries. With its storied history, the region has nearly 6000 acres under cultivation. The cooler climate, ocean fog from Monterey and wine; alluvial soils and aspect of the region favor the Burgundian varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Franscioni Vineyard is located south east of the town of Chualar.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Ruby red and garnet hues with edges that fade from garnet to pink. When swirled, widely spaced thin legs slowly drift down the side of the glass

Smell – Medium intensity with perfume aromas of black cherry and cherry blossom layered over an earthy barnyard component and a touch of toasted vanilla and oak

Feel – This medium-bodied wine has good structure and is dry and moderately smooth, with firm tannins and bright acidity. A touch of spice and minerality lingers throughout the palate

Taste – Tangy and ripe black cherry balanced over earthy notes and toasted oak and vanilla. A touch of spice and cola complement the fruit and earth components

Finish – Clean and youthful with a moderately long finish led off by its tannic structure and tangy fruit

Conclusion – The Chateau Christina Franscioni Vineyard Pinot Noir is pretty wine with nicely balanced fruit and earth. It is a bit more Burgundian in character with its subtlety. Enjoy this wine with a nutty alpine cheese such as Appenzeller or Gruyere, and of course a few good friends.

Mission Report:

Chateau Christina was a difficult winery to recruit. Where smaller boutique wineries like Christina usually fast to enter the fold, Christina took a long time to tender.

Why? Well in this particular case, I have to admit to my own sub-standard Wine Spy technique. I am embarrassed, but its true.

Having followed Chateau Christina from regional wine event to wine event, I became familiar – and even enamored with their wines. Unfortunately, each time I approached them – or thought that I was approaching them – I got the brush off. I was told, simply, “Thanks for your interest!”.

The people were always lovely and when I pressed them, even finessed them for more intel – I needed to learn how to get my hands on their wines – I was always politely told, in essence, don’t call us, we’ll call you. This only upped my intrigue, but after several attempts, I sort of gave up for a period.

My memory of CC’s wine kept haunting me, however, and this time I was resolved to secure their lovely Pinot Noir for our Operatives. I planned out my most intricate subterfuge, a mission so devious that my fellow spies would bow to my superior wine sleuthing skills!

With my plan in hand, I executed Phase One: Sitting in my office, I dialed the winery. Posing as a wine journalist, I was going to try to set a meeting at the winery itself. This would allow me to undertake a direct surveillance.

“Chateau Christina, Russell Joyce here.”

Russell Joyce, I though to myself. The son of the winemaker and owner, Frank Joyce.

I answered, my voice deep and sophisticated-sounding, “Yes, I am interested in your wines. You see…”

Russell inturrupted with, “Great! Would you like to place an order?”

I realized, then, that I had gone about my initial approach of the winery all wrong. As I should have learned from competitive fencing, sometimes the most simple attack is best.

Dropping all pretense, I simply told Russell who I was and exactly what I wanted. He agreed and we set a time and place for samples to be handed off. He gave me three of his Pinot Noir and I am very pleased to present you with the first to appear here. Today’s selection from Chateau Christina is more Burgundian in style than their other wines, which is why I chose to show it to you before the others. As the least costly of the three, its also a great way to get to know their wines.

If you are new to The Wine Spies, welcome! To become an Operative, please sign up at the top of this page, simply by subscribing to our Daily Dispatch. If you sign up, you’ll be sure to stay on top of all the latest wine intel from The Wine Spies. We’ll also be sure to let you know the next time we feature another fine Chateau Christina wine!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The vicinity of the Franscioni Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

Awards & Accolades:

Bronze Medal – 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Bronze Medal – 2008 Monterey Wine Competition

About This Wine:

The 2006 Pinot Noir “Franscioni Vineyard” is a well balanced example of ripe fruit loaded with cherry and hints of cola, layered with flavor from the tip of the tongue to a long lingering finish. Best mid 2009. Elegant yet full bodied.

Smooth, ripe, rich and polished with a pretty core of cherry, spice, raspberry and a hint of cola. The mouth feel is silky.

About The Winery & Winemaker:

Joyce Vineyard winery was established as a small boutique winery in 1996 at the Joyce family house in Carmel Valley.

The Joyce family planted grapes on the steep hillside behind their house in 1987 to prevent mud slides during heavy winter rains.

Dr. Frank Joyce, a successful local dentist, found that he had an undiscovered talent for winemaking. After studying with such noted winemakers as Paul Hobbs of Paul Hobbs wines and Kathy Joseph of Fiddlehead, he decided to pursue it in addition to dentistry.

The winery has since flourished and opened a larger facility in Salinas.

Joyce Vineyard Winery specializes in handcrafted, unfined, unfiltered wines. Great care is taken to procure only the finest grapes.

Wine making philosophy includes long cold soaks and small vat fermentation, which is labor intensive but affords the best results from superior grapes. All the wines are vineyard designates from the same group of vines. This guarantees a consistency of flavor and quality from one vintage to the next.

Joyce Vineyard winery produces 4 pinot noirs, 2 cabernets, 2 merlots, 1 syrah and 1 chardonnay under 2 brand names, Joyce Vineyard and Chateau Christina. The total case production is 3,000.

The 2006 Pinot Noir “Franscioni Vineyard” is a well balanced example of ripe fruit loaded with cherry and hints of cola, layered with flavor from the tip of the tongue to a long lingering finish. Best mid 2009. Elegant yet full bodied.

Enjoy – Frank C. Joyce

Technical Analysis:

Appellation: Monterey

Vineyard: “Franscioni”

Case Production: 465

Alcohol: 14.7%

pH: 3.8

Sugar: 0

Malolactic: 100%

Fermentation Technique: 50% whole berry; French Oak; 1 year 2 months; 40% new.

Tasting Notes: Cherry Cola!!! Layers of delight.

Bottled: November 7, 2007

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