Are you a rabid Pinot Noir fan like me? If so, let me clue you in to Joseph Jewell Wines, if you haven’t found out about them already. My prediction is that this brand will soon to be up there in the wine-o-sphere with highly allocated, hard-to-find Pinot Noirs like Kosta Browne, Kistler and Sea Smoke. They are currently listed in the top 50 Pinot Noirs in Wine & Spirits Magazine, so I know I’m not alone in my love for these stunning wines. Find yourself some Joseph Jewell wines and buy some. Buy some now!

The story of Joseph Jewell Wines is like so many I’ve heard throughout my long, wine-drenched career (Two guys started making Pinot Noir in a garage, with a love of wine, a big dream, a lot of passion and a little money…), but these guys seem to have the Midas touch. Through hard work, dedication, being genuinely nice people and being in the right place at the right time, they have been able to source the best fruit and to make their off-the-hook wines at a state-of-the-art, gravity flow Pinot-centric winery. This has been going on since the brand’s inception in 2006. They produce only about 2500 cases per year and keep their wines really affordable – prices range from $30 – $50 per bottle.  They currently produce 11 Pinot Noirs, two Chardonnays and one Zinfandel. I tasted through a bunch of their wines and loved everything I tasted. They have a new fan here! More on the wines in a bit – let me tell you a little more about the brand and their offerings first and get your mouth watering for the wines…

Joseph Jewell Wines is the brainchild of Micah Wirth and Adrian Manspeaker. The name Joseph Jewell is a combination of their middle names – Micah Joseph Wirth and Adrian Jewell Manspeaker.

Micah is a fourth generation winemaker from of a pioneering winemaking family. He was born and raised in Sonoma County and grew up in the wine industry. As soon as he was old enough to be helpful in the cellar, Micah worked alongside his father at ElvenGlade and Raptor Ridge wineries in Oregon. He then returned to California to attend Enology classes at UC Davis and worked as a harvest intern at Chalk Hill Winery.  After completing his studies, Micah worked alongside rock star winemakers, Gary Farrell and Susan Reed at Gary Farrell Winery, where he remained for seven years as Cellar Master.

Adrian, also from Sonoma County, was bitten by the wine bug early on and took to wine like a fruit fly. He immersed himself in the passion and business of winemaking  – he joined tasting groups, studied winemaking and viticulture at UC Davis’s extension program and studied business management on the side. Adrian also put theory into practice – he worked the 2007 harvest at C. Donatello Winery and the 2008 harvest at Peay Vineyards.

Since Joseph Jewell Wines’ inception in 2006, the dynamic duo was selling their wines mostly through wholesale channels and doing fairly well with it, but they wanted a home base to showcase their wines, so they opened their tasting room in the sleepy West Sonoma County town of Forestville last July. The vibe there is low-key and casual, yet hip, with hardwood floors, a corrugated tin-fronted bar and warm-toned walls dotted with local art.  A picnic table and corner lounge area beckon for relaxed seated tasting experiences. Speaking of tasting experiences, Joseph Jewell Wines features some fun, delicious and unique offerings, such as:

DISCOVERY FLIGHT – three to four wines for $10 per person
SINGLE VINEYARD FLIGHT – four to five single vineyard wines for $20 per person
LIBRARY FLIGHT – four to five rare Joseph Jewell wines from the cellar for $30 per person
WINE TASTING 101 – educational adventure, by appointment for $25 per person
GOURMET PICNIC LUNCH & VINEYARD TOUR – by appointment for $95 per couple
LUXURY HELICOPTER VINEYARDS TOUR – by appointment for $500 per couple

OK, let’s talk about the wines. As I mentioned earlier, I tasted through a bunch of Joseph Jewell wines and loved every wine I tasted. Hmmm…I may need to join their wine club…
Here are a few of my favorites:

2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay: I’m not usually a big fan of Chardonnays, but this stainless steel fermented beauty stole my heart with its mouthwatering aromas and flavors of green apple, citrus, savory herbs, Chai spice and mineral notes, all wrapped up in a bright, juicy mouthfeel. Long, delicious finish.

2013 Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir: This is Pinot Noir with a capital “P!” Seductive scents of raspberry, red cherry, rose petals and a whiff of mocha lure the taster into a silky, sexy mouthful of consistent flavors. Made me dance in my chair.

2012 Rubies Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley: OMG! This wine should be illegal, because it’s so off-the-hook good! Aromas and flavors of black cherry, Christmas spice, rose petal and vanilla all play nicely together from the first sniff, through the super-silky mouthfeel and on through the lingering finish. Only 75 cases were produced and I want to buy it all!!

2013 Grist Vineyard Zinfandel, Bradford Mountain, Dry Creek Valley: What a pretty, elegant, Pinot-like Zinfandel! Raspberry, blackberry, vanilla and peppery spice aromas and flavors abound in this perfectly balanced complex Zinfandel and the mouthfeel is luscious, yet juicy, with a long, lovely finish.

Again, I urge you to check out Joseph Jewell, before the masses catch on. And they will – the wines are really that good! Writing about these wines has me wanting to go back and buy more. Maybe I’ll see you in the tasting room!

Joseph Jewell Wines tasting room is located at 6542 Front Street in Forestville, CA and is open daily from 11AM-5PM. For more information, visit the website at or call 707-820-1621.