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Jonesy Tawny Port and a California Cabernet

Not to supersede the Thanksgiving wines I recommended a few days ago, I have to talk about two wines I had tonight that would be great tomorrow or anytime. First off was a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. We then followed that up with a glass of Australian Tawny Port. With dinner tonight Lisa and I had a bottle of 2001 Mount Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc). The wine just meets the legal minimum to call it a Cabernet Sauvignon. According to the ATF a wine in the USA must contain 75% of one grape in order to call it by that varietal on the bottle. It was an exceptionally pure and complex wine. Wonderful flavors and aromas of currants, mixed berries and herbs jump from the glass and liven the palate. A surprisingly refreshing finish was defined by its acidity by which California wines get knocked for having a lack of. I blogged a few months ago about this winery and recommended all of their wines – check out my May 2007 archives!

The spotlight of this Blog I want to be the Jonesy NV Tawny Port ($8-12!). NV equals non vintage which means the wine is not of one vintage but composed of may different vintages blended together to make one singular expression of that winemaker. 46 years in fact for this particular NV wine! How do they do it? Well first of you may ask what the heck are they doing with all that old wine and where does it come from. Well, no one really knows how much 40-something year old wine is in the blend except the people making the wine. It is also not in any way ever detailed on the bottle of wine from my experience. In a bottle with 46 years of different wines it could be as small as a drop or more if the winemaker feels it is appropriate for the type of expression he’d like his wine to have. It all sits in different barrels by vintage, aging for years and blended in as the winemaker sees fit. It sounds almost like a mad chemistry experience. A little of this year, a little of that until they get what they feels is a complete wine worthy of consumption. If I were to guess (and I am as I did not do much research on port before I wrote this) I would say the winemaker uses the least amount if wine from the old and the new vintages and the core of the wine is made up of the middle to later middle ages of the wines available to blend.

Tawny port is usually brown in color bordered by copper to dark ruby hues. Aromas and flavors commonly include: maple syrup and molasses, candied fruits (think really ripe, sugary ripe, raisin-like or raisins), caramel, hazelnut, and my favorite – roasted nuts (like those in NYC sold by street vendors).

The Jonesy tawny port is ruby-brown with coppery hues on the edges. The nose is fresh and chock full of wonderful maple syrup and overly ripe dark fruit aromas. On the palate the wine is fresh and lively for its concentration and flavors of roasted nuts and maple syrup. I have to say this is a profound finding and I am going to buy a few bottle to stock up and have on hand, especially at about $10 a bottle!

Winemaker: Trevor Jones (aka the Port-meister) and Dan Phillips (importer of rock star Aussie wines)
Cost: $10
Availability: Wide! Wine-searcher.com had many places in NY and NJ that had this bottle for $8-12.
Not to supersede the Thanksgiving wines I recommended a few days ago, I have to talk about two wines I had tonight that would be great tomorrow or anytime. Lisa and I had with dinner a bottle of 2001 Mount Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc)

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!

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