James Family Cellars

2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir •Stony Point Vineyard

California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Coast

Offer Expired:Apr 25, 2009 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


Today’s single vineyard Pinot Noir is an absolutely lovely wine made by a great boutique winery. 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: Nothin’ Phony About Stony

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Secure a delicious single vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: James Family Cellars

Wine Subject: 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Winemaker: Mat Gustafson


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 – Bright and crystal clear ruby red that effortlessly fades from ruby to pink along the edges. Alternating fast and slow thin legs ring the edge of the glass when swirled.

Smell – Soft and well integrated but youthful in character with aromas of tart and ripe raspberry and red cherry with hints of vanilla toast (reminiscent of toasted marshmallow), subtle earth, herb and floral notes and a touch of gun smoke and mocha coffee.

Feel – This medium-bodied wine is extremely smooth on the palate with fine easy tannins and medium acidity that adds just a touch of tanginess. Hints of medium spice hit the edges and back of the tongue.

Taste – Fresh and luscious tart and ripe red raspberry and red cherry supported by flavors of vanilla oak and hints of caramel and mocha. A touch of spice, earth, fresh herbs and gun smoke add to the overall complexity but do so without overpowering the silky texture and flavors of this wine.

Finish – Medium in length, clean and fresh with lingering fruit, toasted vanilla and hints of spice.

Conclusion – The 2007 James Family Cellars Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a delicious wine that shows tremendous finesse and elegance all the while being plush, fresh and youthful in its aromas, texture and flavors. Easy to drink, this wine is an absolutely perfect way to start a Spring meal or simply to enjoy on a warm afternoon as the days become longer. This wine is drinking perfectly right now and should continue to develop for the next few years.

Mission Report:

Everyone knows that I am the real brains behind The Wine Spies. I push the buttons and turn the dials that keep our organization moving at maximum efficiency.

For today’s wine, I cleverly and covertly leaked some tasty intel to the winery itself – and that led them to seek out Agent Red. The winery contacted Red through back channels and a meeting was set at the winery property in Cotati, California. What follows is his brief report:

I was lucky enough to snag today’s choice assignment. Its always nice when a winery comes to us, especially when that winery thinks that they found us on their own. In reality, Agent White worked his magic, and the winery sought me out.

Emails exchanged, phone calls made and appointments set, I set off toward the vineyards which house the James Family Cellars winery. I knew from the approximate location, that the estate vineyards were set in among some of the largest vineyards in the area, those owned by wine giant Gallo. Gallo is a really interesting topic for another day. Suffice to say that Gallo actually happens to make a few really surprisingly great wines, some of which come from – you guessed it – these neighboring vineyards.

The day was sunny, clear and pristine. As I drove up, I spotted co-owner Judy James. As I parked, she walked up and greeted me. The vineyards here were perfectly tended and very neat. The first tiny buds were just starting to appear and Judy explained that everything was looking just perfect.

Inside the ranch house, I met the other co-owner, husband Jeff James. After a few pleasantries, we sat down at a long dining table. Bottles were presented, wine was poured, and lively conversation ensued.

These James’ were warm and very down to earth folks. Born of a multi-generational Sonoma Country farming family, Judy James describe to me that they had been growing grapes on their estate property for Schramsberg winery, for its sparkling wine program. The grapes were creating such good wines, that, in 2007, they decided to craft their own Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Jeff James is humble about his wines, which are of remarkable quality for such a new wine label. He attributes the quality to the great fruit that is grown right here on the family’s estate property.

Handled minimally, farmed sustainably and using more natural techniques, the grapes are lovingly crafted into fine wines. This nurturing of vineyard, grape and wine leads to remarkable, award winning wines. Their Pinot Noir is extremely impressive for such a young wine. This is a brilliant testament to the land, the fruit, the people and the love that is each bottle produced here.

This wine get a very solid Wine Spies recommendation. Available in such small quantities, be sure to pick some up – before we run out, dear Operative.

Agent Red, OUT.

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 Medal – 2008 Sonoma County Harvest Fair

About This Wine:

Juicy cherry with hints of raspberry flavors pop from the glass along with a breath of roses and vanilla on the nose. With a silky caramel and dark cherry finish the experience ends with coffee and vanilla on the palate. Delicious tonight, or enjoy to its fullest over the next 4-5 years. James Family Cellars is proud to have won a Gold medal for this wine at the 2008 Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

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.

About The Vineyard:

Stony Point Vineyard is located in a particularly cool area of the famed Sonoma Coast wine growing region. Situated on the northern edge of the Petaluma Wind Gap and less than sixteen miles from the coastline the vines are influenced by the Pacific Ocean daily. This cool climate, combined with the sun exposure provided by the southern-facing hillside vineyard, creates a low-yielding slow-ripening environment that is perfect for Pinot Noir.

Our vineyard is located in a particularly cool area in the famed wine growing region of Sonoma County. We are twenty miles from the coast and the climate is affected daily by the ocean. This cool climate, combined with the sun exposure provided by our southern-facing hillside vineyard, creates a low yielding, slow ripening environment which is perfect for Pinot Noir.

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:

Cases Produced: 211 cases

Clones: 113, 115, 828

Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir

Vineyard: Stony Point Vineyard

Appellation: Sonoma Coast

Harvest Dates: 9/29 and 10/5/07

Barrel Aging: 10 months in French Oak (33% new)

Alcohol: 14.3%

Titratable Acidity: 0.53g/100ml

pH: 3.68

Winemaker: Mat Gustafson

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