Feature Coverage

J. Davies releases 100 percent cabernet sauvignon

“Stepping away from the tried-and-true wines from their portfolios, the Davies family introduced their inaugural vintage of a wine that may not be made every year, their J. Davies ‘Jamie’ Cabernet Sauvignon.

“During an exclusive unveiling of ‘Jamie,’ a 2012 vintage, on April 25 to industry trade – such as restaurant and wine store wine buyers – ‘Jamie’ seemed to enter as if she were Audrey Hepburn wearing pearls and silk stockings.

“‘The 325-case estate wine grown on Diamond Mountain was an experiment of sorts,’ said Sean Thompson, senior winemaker for J. Davies and Schramsberg labels, one that included taking a dozen of the best barrels of cabernet sauvignon from the 2012 vintage and setting them aside for the ‘Jamie’ label.

“They have wanted for a while to see how a 100 percent cabernet sauvignon would turn out. Other J. Davies cabernet sauvignons are blended with small amounts of other varietals such as malbec or petit verdot, and ‘Jamie’ is their first venture with only cabernet sauvignon, Thompson said. Every vintage may not lend itself to a ‘Jamie,’ he said, but since 2012 was a superior vintage it seemed like a good time to try. One barrel of the 2012 was held for further barrel aging to see how extra time in oak changes the complexity of the wine.

“The Wine Advocate wrote in October 2014 that the wine, which was bottled in January 2015, was ‘stunning’ with ‘floral notes mixed with crème de cassis and minerals’ that ‘dominate this full-bodied, beautifully etched wine with supple, silky tannins and layered, rich fruit that build incrementally to a full-bodied opulent, but stunningly pure and complex wine,’ adding that the wine should ‘drink well for 15 to 20 years.’

“The Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine wrote in April 2016, ‘Even if young, it shows a sense of refinement that is likely to encourage early drinking, yet it has plenty of potential for very positive long-term growth and merits a place in the cellar.’

“The grapes for the wine come from vineyard blocks on the Schramsberg property in the Diamond Mountain AVA. Totaling 41 acres, the blocks are laid out in three isolated pockets ranging from 500 to 1,000 feet in elevation. They are flanked by two cool creek canyons and surrounded by dense coniferous and deciduous forests. Two of the blocks are Napa Valley’s first hillside vineyards originally established by Jacob Schram. Not far from the blocks is Jack and Jamie’s Grove, where the industry tasting was held last week.

“‘Jamie’ is named for Hugh Davies’ mother, who along with his father, Jack Davies, resurrected the old Schramsberg property beginning in 1965 with the vision of creating an American sparkling wine house.

“Schramsberg is known for, among many things, being the first American wine served at any White House or State event at home or abroad. In 1972 a Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc was served at the ‘Toast to Peace’ hosted by President Richard Nixon for the Premier Zhou En-lai in Beijing.

“The J. Davies still wines would come several years later. The first vintage of J. Davies still wine, a 2001 cabernet sauvignon, was released in 2004.

“The exclusive ‘Jamie’ will be sold in three-packs to restaurants and other distributors, and at the winery for $200 per bottle, or $170 to wine club members.”

Anne Ernst, May 4, 2016
J. Davies releases 100 percent cabernet sauvignon