Say “Kendall Jackson” to any half-knowledgeable cork dork and they’ll probably think of big, blowsy, overblown California Chardonnay. . . Dolly Parton in a bottle. And it’s true, way back when KJ was in large part responsible for a move by California winemakers to produce Chardonnays crammed with as much ripe fruit, oak and alcohol as the bottle would hold.
That, however, was then. This is now. And now—along with most of the rest of the California wine industry—KJ has moved in the opposite direction, to crafting wines with more balance and restraint, wines that play well with food highlight the varietal character of their grapes.
This, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing. Another good thing—a very good thing, in fact, is KJ’s recently released 2010 Vintner’s Reserve Summation, a blend of more than a half-dozen grapes (mostly Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay, with several Rhone varietals thrown in for good measure) that seems made for warm weather sipping.
The wine tantalizes right from the start with clean, refreshing aromas of tropical fruit, honeysuckle, orange and lemon, then delivers a short burst of ripe, almost honied mango on the palate before the citrusy acidity kicks in to balance the whole thing out.
Despite its thick, creamy texture it’s not at all heavy but rather medium-bodied and just as good poured with food as for sipping on some balmy South Florida afternoon. Its combination of ripe tropical fruit and crisp citrus acidity would make it a fine complement to anything from spicy Latin and Asian dishes to grilled fish and roasted chicken. And its $15 price tag means you can afford to drink more than an occasional bottle.
To sum up: a very good wine at a very fair price. Good for KJ.