Seriously. JC Cellars has been pumping out 90+ point wines for many years, sourcing from some pretty interesting vineyards, and doing it all a short BART ride from SF. And one of their wines (2005 JC Cellars The Imposter (Red Blend)) made it into Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of the Year in 2007.
Started by Jeff Cohn, the former wine maker at Rosenblum, JC Cellars sources grapes from some really expressive vineyards from all around California. Jeff has a pretty broad portfolio, but he focuses mainly on rhone varietals. His syrahs are among my favorites, and he has some fantastic red blends (which I refer to as Jeff’s Mad Scientist blends). Because of the broad portfolio, a tasting at JC Cellars is always a great experience — you’ll invariably have something you’ve never tried before.
Before you go, you should be prepared: don’t expect some elegant Sonoma or Napa tasting room. This is a warehouse. But what it may lack in ambiance, it makes up for in an engaging and knowledgeable staff. Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of having Angela, Brian, and Sabrina behind the bar, and they’re just fantastic people. And as a kicker: more often than not, Jeff will be there doing his thing.
Another reason to support this winery: Jeff is a great guy. He has fun with his wines, and his enthusiasm is infectious. He’s tremendously approachable and warm–and he makes some killer wines to boot.
I’m in the JC Cellars Wine Club, so doesn’t make much sense for me to write down what I’ve bought. But here’s a list of some of my favorites of their current releases:
- 2006 Haley’s Reserve Rockpile Syrah
- 2006 Eaglepoint Ranch Petite Sirah (Mendocino)
- 2007 Smoke & Mirrors Red Blend (85% Syrah, 9% Petite, 6% Zin)