James Family Cellars

2008 Rose of Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir •Stony Point Vineyard

California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Coast

Offer Expired:Sep 07, 2009 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


Today’s wine drinks above it’s price class, qualifying it for this spacial QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) alert


Today’s Estate vineyard Rose of Pinot Noir is a fantastic wine made by on of our favorite family-run boutique wineries, James Family Cellars.


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Mission Codename: Among the stars

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Operative favorite, James Family Cellars, secure their rose of Pinot Noir

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: James Family Cellars

Wine Subject: 2008 Sonoma Coast Rose of 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 – Perfect coral-colored, with total clarity and concentrated color out to the edges of the glass. When swirled, the wine shows a bouncy surface that settles quickly, leaving behind evenly-spaced and medium-width legs that move at a leisurely pace down the glass

Smell – Lush, perfumy and vibrant, with layers of strawberry, dried violets, soft cherry, fresh soil and the subtlest hint of tutti-fruitti ice cream

Feel -Soft on entry, then softly grippy at the edges of the palate – as gentle dryness appears, softly coating the mouth, drying the lips and unveiling a slate-like minerality

Taste -Fresh fruit and a hint of softest fresh herbs lead off, with tender young strawberry, soft cherry, rhubarb, soft fresh salad herbs, soft pink grapefruit and tender rhubarb

Finish – Long, fresh, bright and lingering with flavors that move from softly dry and tart then goes sweet as flavors gently tail off

Conclusion – We absolutely fell in love with James Family’s Pinot Noir and when we were given a chance to showcase their new Rose of Pinot Noir, we rushed to infiltrate the winery again. Their 2008 Rose of Pinot Noir is a unique and amazingly delicious wine with big a big nose and hearty flavors. I don’t usually get excited about Rose wines, which are usually too light-hearted for me. This wine is perfectly well balanced – which is to say that it is not overly hearty or overbearing. Rather, this wine holds everything in check, delivering a drinking experience that is delicious and very interesting. For best results, decant this wine for at least an hour. You will be rewarded handsomely as the wine will soften and really open up. Cheers!

Mission Report:

What follows is our original mission report, from when we first learned of today’s winery, as introduced by Agent White:

Everyone knows that I, Agent White, 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 described 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

About This Wine:

This dry rose’s acidity is well balanced by the strawberry and cherry notes that express Stony Point Vineyard so well. The luxuriant mouthfeel and crisp finish make this a wonderful wine for summer afternoon sipping or for pairing with your favorite lighter foods.

About The Vineyard:

Stony Point Vineyard is located in a particularly cool area of the famed Sonoma Coast winegrowing 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 creates a low-yielding slow-ripening environment that is perfect for Pinot Noir.

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: 98 cases

Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir

Vineyard: Stony Point Vineyard

Appelation: Sonoma Coast

Aging: 5 months in Stainless Steel

Alcohol: 14.1%

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