Jaxon Keys Winery
2007 Etta's Reserve Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Ravazzi Vineyard
California: Mendocino County
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Keys to the Kingdom
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Procure Jaxon Keys’ stunning Etta’s Reserve Zinfandel, making it available to our Operatives first
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Jaxon Keys Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Etta’s Reserve Zinfandel – Ravazzi Vineyard
Backgrounder: Zinfandel is related to the Italian Primitivo grape, tracing its origin to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kastelanski. Zinfandel is one of the most versatile varietals with the ability to make wines, both rich to fruity, dark to light, and dry to sweet. Mendocino County Zinfandels, which are characterized by their refinement and balance, are gaining in popularity with our Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark burgundy in color, with a dark and nearly opaque heart, this wine looks deep and foreboding. when swirled, this wine shows off a springy surface that settles quickly, leaving behind tight clusters of branching legs that emerge slowly and then move swiftly down the glassSmell – On opening, the wine presents darkly jammy mixed berry aromas. These are followed by cranberry, dark cherry, oaky vanilla, dark chocolate, soft spice and the hard cracked caramel that you would find atop a creme brulee
Feel – Soft at the front, the quickly grippy and mouth-coating as the wines full body makes itself known. The wine is full-bodied, but it is also beautifully balanced with a nice softly spicy tang on the mid palate that keeps the wine all in check
Taste – Dark mixed berries, ripe raspberries, soft plum and dark cherry take the lead, soon followed by a unique chili-spiced chocolate, oak, spice and soft black pepper
Finish – The finish is smooth and rich, leading off with red fruits, and backed by its dark berries, toast and spices – making the mouth water and reminding you to take additional sips
Conclusion – We were very thrilled to be allowed to be among the very first to taste and feature this outstanding wine. Big on aromatics and great flavors, this is a wine that is best enjoyed over the course of a meal. The longer it sits in your glass or decanter, the more it seems to open and soften. I enjoyed a glass with fresh from the oven spinach, basil and chicken pizza. The wine complimented, rather than overpowered, the pizza. I also found the wine balanced and restrained enough to drink on its own or with lighter meals.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Clean, fresh, bright fruity nose with succulent vanilla bean on the nose. This engaging bramble-fruit pastry scent is followed on the palate by medium raspberries and spice, balanced by light earthiness. Perfect with a summer BBQ of sweet raspberry honey chicken (see below for recipe).
Winemaking: Hand-harvested and fermented in open-top vats with three daily punchdowns. Aged in American oak barrels for approximately 15 months.
About The Winery:
Jaxon Keys’ wine making philosophy is to produce wines and brandies grown only from their estate vineyards. We believe our wines should showcase the unique characteristics of the vineyards, while building upon the classical interpretations of each varietal.
Jaxon Keys; A Historical Perspective on Grape Growing in Mendocino County
Tucked in the rolling hills of Mendocino County, just north of sleepy little Hopland, California, lies a rare gem of a winery. Combining knowledgeable tasting room staff with genuinely friendly service and great wines, Jaxon Keys Winery and Distillery provides Northern California travelers and wine tasters a grand tasting experience.
This family winery is comfortably small, but has all the amenities of a larger commercial winery. They offer wines in a variety of styles from big, full reds, to delightfully lighter wines such as their new release Barbera Rose and Sauvignon Blanc.
As noted in the Wine Spectator from January 9, 2009, Ken and Diane Wilson, the owners of Sonoma-based Wilson Winery and Mazzocco Winery, recently purchased this beautiful winery and its 1,200-acre property in Mendocino County. This new acquisition, which includes 121 acres of vineyards, adds another property to the Wilsons’ growing list of wineries.
Staring out in 1844 as a Mexican Land Grant, Don Fernando Feliz located his headquarters here. In 1858 Don Fernando sold 1580 acres to a Scottish immigrant to the United States, John McGlashen, who had come to California during the Gold Rush. He named his new property “Burnee Hill Ranch” (Burn in Scots meaning “on a hill”.) The ranch was used for sheep raising, and the original house, which will soon be the tasting room, was built then.
In 1889 John married Chicago native Ana and they had daughter Jeanne Wilson McGlashen (Interesting to note this is not the first time the “Wilson” name has been associated with this property. Jeanne married Ern Hawn, and the two ran the ranch after her parents passed away. Their son Floyd was an employee of the County of Mendocino, and said that his father liked the agricultural part of running the farm, and was the first person to put grapes in on the property, to use in home winemaking. In the 1950’s the ranch was sold to Bill Cook.
Bill held this for investment property and never lived at the ranch. The Lucchetti family then became involved, and planted the French Columbard in the vineyard alongside Hwy 101, that is used for the brandy making. These vines grew to be six feet tall, mimicking the prune trees that grew alongside! Eventually other varietals were planted and the winery established in 1985.
Now, Jaxon Keys is planted in Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, French Columbard, Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Viognier and Grenache Noir. Our featured Zinfandel from Etta’s Block, comes from the 8.97 Zinfandel acres planted on the gentle south-east facing hillsides of the property.
Composition: 100% Zinfandel
Alcohol: 15.8 %
Soil profile: Dark clay soils rich in magnesium allows the vines a slow, even rate of maturity.
Year Planted: 1998
Production: 300 cases
Cellaring: Recommended cellaring time 1 to 5 years, Optimal storage temperature 55-60 F (13-16 C)
Raspberry Honey BBQ sauce!
- 2 cups sliced raspberries
- 1/3 cup raspberry jam
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onion
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- Salt to taste
Place the raspberries, raspberry jam, ketchup, green onion, honey, soy sauce, lemon juice, hot sauce, crushed red pepper, liquid smoke, and salt in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth.