Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Jonata Winery "Todos Everyone" Syrah

Jonata Winery "Todos" -  "Everyone" Syrah Vineyard Blend Red Wine 2017

For midweek pizza at home, I pulled from the cellar a Big Red from Santa Barbara County's Santa Ynez Valley which we visited earlier this year in late Spring. It was our first encounter with this producer and their unique style.

This Big Red Syrah based blend is from Jonata Winery, sourced from their estate vineyards in the Ballard Canyon AVA, which is part of the greater Santa Ynez Valley appellation, in the foothills and mountains to the east of the town of Los Olivos, site to over forty local winery tasting rooms.

Jonata is named for the Rancho San Carlos de Jonata which dates back to the originating1845 Spanish land grant. for land that covered a large part of the Santa Ynez Valley, site of the Jonata estate. The name Jonata was coined by the early pioneers, taken from the local Chumash Indian and means “tall oak”.

Owner Stan Kroenke acquired 586 acres of which 84 are planted to vineyards. Contrary to conventional wisdom at the time, the estate was planted with a host of varieties that are rarely cultivated side-by-side, Syrah, Sangiovese and Bordeaux, a highly controversial and questionable decision in the winegrowing community at that time.

The first harvest was in 2004, overseen by Matt Dees, Jonata’s winemaker. The result proved to be prescient when the vineyards produced extraordinary results.

Since then the estate has consistently produced a portfolio of wines that have garnered substantial critical acclaim from Robert M. Parker Jr., Jeb Dunnuck, Antonio Galloni and Stephen Tanzer. Today they produce ten different wines from the broad range of varietals and blended combinations - all seemingly complex, all with Spanish derived names - El Desafio, El Alma, La Sangre, Todos, Fenix, Tierra, Fuerza, Flor, and La Miel.

Winemaker Matt Dees earned a degree in Soil Science from the University of Vermont and then worked at Staglin in Napa, California and Craggy Range in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand where he developed an intricate feel for viticulture and wine production, from dirt to glass. His unconventional approach is reflected in the Jonata wines. Dees as winemaker translates his approach to structure, texture and tannin  in his wines. Matt is assisted in the winery by Drew Pickering.

It is written that 'Jonata's sandy site and its team’s winegrowing know-how produce wines that are widely recognized as some of the best achievable from the region.'

I guess I need to pay more attention to this producer and their wines. We went to Morton's upscale steakhouse last night and they had no less than three Jonata labels on their extensive, award winning winelist.

Jonata Winery Todos "Everyone" Red Wine Vineyard Blend 2017 

This label has been produced since 2006. This vintage release is a unique blend of 44% Syrah, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Sirah, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc - a Bordeaux blend with a backbone core of Syrah. 2370 cases were produced in this release.  
The rear label explains this wine "Todos or "Everyone" is our estate in a bottle, It represents all 10 grape varietals we grow - each one with a distinctive voice, from an unconventional estate, all coming together in seamless harmony."

"As always Todos possesses the most exotic, complex and compelling aromatics of the lineup. Highlighted by black truffle, jasmine, five spice, black pepper and clove. Driven by dried blueberry, Mission fig and aged balsamic. Hints of dried tobacco, mint and baking chocolate combine with a tidal wave of velveteen black fruit on the palate. A wine of extreme power, but also delicate and proportional balance. Strikes me as the most approachable Todos since 2006 and also possibly the finest since that date." - Matt Dees, Winemaker.

This release was awarded 94+ points by Jeb Dunnuck jebdunnuck.com, and 93 points by Antonio Galloni Vinous.

As one might expect, this was a bit of a cacaphony of flavors, fighting for attention and prominence. This is not for feint of heart. Linda loved the bold forward full fruits. I did too, but would've preferred something a bit less obtuse, with more balance and polish. 

Give this five years to settle and integrate and it might achieve that and be more approachable.

Dark blackish inky colored with a barely slight garnet ring, full bodied, aromatic, complex, firm, tight, structured with a bit of an edge, backbone of concentrated black fruits with notes of balsamic, spices, black pepper, black tea and hints of clove and truffles with a long tongue coating tangy finish. 

RM 92 points.