California’s Cult Masters’ Take on Santa Barbara
The owners of Screaming Eagle, Napa Valley’s iconic $1,500 Cabernet, have made their mark in Santa Barbara: Winemaker Matt Dees’s Jonata has flirted with perfection, with eight wines over 97 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. The 2013 Jonata “Todos” earned a “smokin’” 94 points from the Advocate and 95 points from James Suckling, who called the wine “complex and fantastic,” “layered and gorgeous.” Dense, opulent, with beautiful silky texture, packed with blue- and black-fruit preserves, our past Santa Barbara offerings from this team have flown out the door, so don’t miss out on our limited allocation of “Todos.”
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has praised Matt Dees and his team, saying, “What they are accomplishing with Bordeaux varietals is mind-boggling.” Napa’s unobtainable cult Cabernet is simply what happens when a spare-no-expense commitment to quality meets a world-class wine region’s marquee grape. So, few were surprised when Jonata, Screaming Eagle’s sister winery in Santa Barbara, started blowing minds and earning 99-point scores with its Ballard Canyon Syrahs.
When the owner purchased a sprawling property on the high ground of Ballard Canyon in 2000, he opened the purse-strings to evaluate the potential for growing world-class varieties. He called in an “A-Team” from Pauillac to conduct soil samples. Once the report was produced, the proprietor pushed ahead with selecting 80 of the almost 600 acres for the planting of Rhône and Bordeaux varieties.
Then, in 2004, Jonata struck gold in the form of one of the most brilliant young winemakers in the world. Matt Dees came armed with a degree in soil science from the University of Vermont and a resume that included cellar stints at Staglin in Napa and Craggy Range in New Zealand. Dees 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. Ballard Canyon would never be the same.