2017 Jonata, Todos, Red Wine, Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley.
The hyper purple and inky 2017 Jonata Todos, is way better than the last vintage I tried, which was the 2013, with a deeper Syrah character leading the way, with a big amount of whole cluster crunch on the full bodied palate creating tons impact with dense blue and black fruits and a heightened umami presence. The chewy mouth follows this wines previous style and is filled with similar layers of earthy boysenberry, black raspberry, plum, currant and dark sweet cherry fruits leading along with a touch of violets, tobacco, dried lavender, peppercorns, anise, and light woody cedar notes. With air you get even more with creme de cassis, stones and leather coming through, there’s a bit more soulfulness and complexity here than I remember and a nice tension between the ripe fruit and the savory personality of this Todos. The Jonata and The Hilt wines are made by, as noted here, the highly regarded Matt Dees, one of California’s great new generation of winemakers, with this particular bottling being a fascinating red blend from tiny yields on the Jonata estate, which is set on sandy soils. Dees, with a degree in Soil Science from the University of Vermont, has done stints at Staglin in Napa and Craggy Range in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, and is a firm believer in organic and or sustainable farming practices and is looking to transmit the terroir into the wine with transparency, with this one being a unique example of his work. I recently tasted and reviewed Jonata’s sister label The Hilt, which specializes in Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay and Pinot, with their excellent 2018 Estate Pinot Noir being a beautiful example of the quality that is winery strives for.

Interestingly, the 2017 Todos Red Wine, has less Syrah than normal in the final blend with this vintage seeing 44% Syrah, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petite Sirah, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc, so I imagine the supporting cast of varietals will over time become more expressive as this exciting wine ages. The vintage saw lots of drama with cool conditions during flowering and heat events late in the season resulted in, as Dees notes, micro yields that In many cases only gave about 50% of the estate’s normal yields. This cuvée was selected from separate fermentation lots, sort of a kitchen sink blend with a Rhone meets Bordeaux feel to it, while also being a pure California wine. The color and aromatic quality here is very seductive and brings all of your senses alive, this Todos gains another level of dimension with food, the simpler the better, it also allows the tannic nature to gracefully smooth out and makes the finish much longer and pleasing. Jonata has been making this Todos blend from quite a while, with Dees adding that he thinks this 2017 is one of the most approachable vintages to date and while still firm, I can’t argue with that, though I’m also sure the 2018 and 2019 versions will be even better and I am looking forward to sampling those in the near future. The vines at Jonata are immaculately taken care of by local legend Ruben Solórzano, who is also responsible for the vineyards at Stopman, so you known the grapes are awesome here, as this intriguing red wine shows, even in the difficult growing season that this vintage had. The winemaking is non intervention and each block and varietal is made in a manner best suited to them, with the Syrah seeing a higher percentage of whole bunches and over all very little new oak or any is employed here, again to highlight clarity and provides a rustic charm.
($56 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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