Archive » January 10, 2008
By Irene Jones, Staff Writer
Jonata releases first vintage
The first official vintage from Jonata Winery, a 586-acre estate with 80-acres of vineyard in Buellton’s Ballard Canyon, was released in December. The winery is owned by Charles Banks and Stan Kroenke, who also jointly own Screaming Eagle Winery in Napa Valley, known for its high-end “cult” Cabernet Sauvignon, which sells for a minimum of $300 a bottle on release and for thousands at auctions.
Business columnist and wine critic Robert Parker rated the new Jonata wines with points between 91 and 94, claiming the ratings mean the release is “excellent.” Parker added that Jonata is “building a remarkable portfolio” that will “make the wine world take notice.”
The newly released wines and Parker’s ratings include 2004 El Corazon de Jonata, 91 points, a syrah-merlot-cabernet sauvignon blend with chocolate, coffee and blackberry notes for $85; 2004 El Desafio de Jonata, 91 points, a cabernet sauvignon reminiscent of mocha and crème de cassis, $125; 2005 La Tierra de Jonata, 93 points, sangiovese that hints of strawberries, licorice and roasted herbs (to be released in spring, 2008), $95; 2005 El Corazon de Jonata. 94 points, a six-wine blend, with truffle scents, $85; 2004 La Sangre de Jonata, 94 points, syrah with chocolate, blackberry and acacia, $125; and 2005 El Alma de Jonata, 95 points, a cabernet franc with bay leaf, blueberries, black currants, and licorice, $125.
Jonata winemaker Matt Dees, formerly with Staglin Family Vineyards in Napa and New Zealand’s Craggy Range, said the focus at Jonata is Bordeaux blends. Banks, Santa Barbara, a money manager for National Basketball Association players and other athletes, and Kroenke, a Denver real estate developer, acquired the Screaming Eagle Winery in 2006 for $40 million. Screaming Eagle’s new winemaker is Andy Erickson, previously with Staglin as winemaker.
The two closed the deal for the Napa property a few months after acquiring the Jonata vineyard in early 2006. They were contacted by the previous owner of the Napa vineyard after she heard about their interest in vineyards. The deal was closed quietly and quickly. Kroenke also owns the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche.