2005 Jonata El Desafio de Jonata
Made from a classic northern Medoc blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (93%) and Merlot as well as Petit Verdot, the 2005 El Desafio de Jonata boasts an inky/purple color as well as a moderately intense nose of forest floor, earth, blackberries, creme de cassis, licorice, and incense. Full-bodied and powerful, with high but sweet, well-integrated tannins, this cuvee builds incrementally on the palate (it is full-bodied), but displays wonderful freshness, vibrancy, and precision. Another tour de force in winemaking, it should drink effortlessly for 15+ years.
This remarkable Santa Ynez estate is under the same ownership as Napa Valley’s Screaming Eagle winery. While well-known Bordeaux consultant, Michel Rolland, and Screaming Eagle’s winemaker, Andy Erickson, play important roles at Jonata, the people most responsible for the quality of the wines are owners Charles Banks, Stan Kroenke, and winemaker Matt Dees. Jonata’s debut vintage, the 2004s, were somewhat of a work in progress, but the 2005s convincingly established what compelling wines were about to emerge. The 2006s and a handful of 2007 barrel samples I tasted suggest this is one of California’s most exciting new wineries. What they are accomplishing with Bordeaux varietals is mind-boggling. I have included these cuvees since some of the blends include Rhone varietals.
Tel. (805) 564-8581