Library Release From Screaming Eagle Owners and Matt Dees
I taste thousands of wines per year, and sometimes get to taste what I call “history in a bottle.” That’s how I would categorize this impeccable library wine — the 2005 JONATA “La Sangre de Jonata” red. From the moment the owners of Screaming Eagle founded JONATA, all eyes were on the pioneering Ballard Canyon estate and winemaker Matt Dees — protege of Michel Rolland and Andy Erickson. With the 2005 bottling, their second vintage helped put the estate, Ballard Canyon, and the entire Santa Ynez Valley on the map. Jeb Dunnuck, former reviewer for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, was in awe, awarding the 2005 La Sangre a glowing 96 points calling it “a spectacular wine,” “full bodied and stunningly textured.” Parker himself loved its “extraordinary density, richness,” and Antonio Galloni was reminded of a “big-ticket, single-site Chapoutier Hermitage.” Just 50 cases perfectly cellared and ready to drink, this is an opportunity to taste the extraordinary beginnings of one of California’s most exciting estates. They say history repeats itself, but not when it’s in bottle — secure your share now.
I’m amazed at everything the 2005 La Sangre has to offer. The elegant floral lift of the best wines from the Côte-Rôtie is there, as is the expansive depth of best of Hermitage. But unlike a bottle of Chapoutier, which could easily set you back $400, this wine actually over delivers for its price. As Robert Parker wrote of the JONATA 2005s, “Fasten your seatbelts as these wines will give purchasers a serious ride for their money!”
Since founding JONATA in 1999, the owners of Screaming Eagle have demonstrated the same commitment to the land in Ballard Canyon as they have in Oakville. From the outset, they spared no expense in evaluating the potential for growing world-class wines, calling in an “A-Team” from France to conduct soil samples. After the report was produced, the proprietor pushed ahead with selecting 80 of the almost 600 acres for the planting of Rhône and Bordeaux varieties. When Matt Dees arrived in 2004 he took one look at the unique potential of JONATA’s sandy soil, another look at how much the owners had already poured into their Oakville winery, and signed on the dotted line.
It’s now been over a decade since Dees arrived in Ballard Canyon, and since then 39 of his wines have been awarded 94 points or more by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and two have flirted with perfection earning 98- and 99-100 points — an astonishing feat. To be able to offer the 2005 La Sangre direct from the winery’s cellar is a true privilege. The wine is stunning, aged to perfection but still with life ahead — a pioneering bottle that tells of the unlikely rise of an entire region and its preeminent estate.
Vanessa Conlin DipWSET
Wine & Spirit Education Trust Diploma
Stage 2 Master of Wine Student