JAX – The Quintessential Small, Family Winery of the Napa Valley

JAX - TJ

Above: Dan Parrott, Kimberly Jackson, & Trent Jackson.


Hand-harvested, family-owned, & earth-friendly Napa Valley wines.

The team at JAX is innovative, agile, and perhaps best of all, is producing some of the most competitive expressions of Napa and Sonoma out there, a true snapshot into the luxury of California wines at an accessible price point.

The secret is simple: everything produced by JAX is hand-harvested, family-owned, and earth-friendly. The fruit-forward profiles of each of their wines are driven by top-quality fruit from esteemed Napa and Sonoma vineyards.

We interviewed Dan Parrott, CEO of JAX Vineyards, to talk about this family winery’s beginnings, the three ‘levels’ of JAX wines, winemaking, climate change, fires, farming, & the landscape for Napa wine at large.


Give us the story of JAX — the beginnings, the name, & philosophy.


Walk us through the three ‘levels’ of JAX: the estate line, the Y3 line, and Block 3.


Tell us about you and your partners’ farming practices?


How is JAX improving with every vintage?


Tell us about working with Kirk Venge.


Can you tell us about your experience with the fires?


What’s your favorite part about JAX?


THE WINES

Wine and Spirit Label 1

Pinot Noir ‘Russian River Valley’, Y3 [Jax]

As hot-climate Napa Valley vintners, JAX knew that they could not force their hand in creating a Pinot Noir until the opportunity presented itself. Fast forward and along came CEO Dan Parrott who had worked with some of the best producers in Burgundy before jumping on board at JAX. Dan was responsible for finding the right vineyard and achieve a killer Pinot!

The berries were firm and had perfectly healthy skins and therefore vivid, deep flavors, great acidity. and excellent freshness. The wines are very pure, with strong specific vineyard signatures. But moderate weather prevailed throughout summer. The lack of heat waves kept sugar levels and phenolic maturity in sync. Ripening progressed slowly and predictably.

Our fruit is hand-harvested into small bins in the early morning to protect the fruit and preserve freshness. Grapes are hand sorted and partially de-stemmed before going into small open-top fermenters. Following a 5-7 day cold soak period and 10-12 day fermentation the wine is aged in French oak barrels.

 


 

Wine and Spirit Label 2

Red Blend ‘Taureau – Napa Valley’, Y3 [Jax]

Named after the Jackson family’s prized bull, legendary for his feisty and vibrant personality, JAX’s Y3 Taureau is a red blend made from 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, and 5% Zinfandel.

This wine is medium-bodied, luscious, and approachable, with flavors of ripe raspberry, black plum, and baking spices. Pairs well with chicken and pasta.


 

Wine and Spirit Label 3

Cabernet Sauvignon ‘North Coast’, Y3 [Jax]

The focus of our JAX Y3 wines, sourced from AVAs (spanning Napa and Sonoma) is to craft wines that express their unique terroir. The JAX Y3 Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from the rocky, high elevation, “Red Hills” AVA region in Lake County. The coarse red soil is comprised of large obsidian rocks (due to its proximity to Mount Konocti) resulting in excellent drainage and low yields.

These grape lots have been specifically-selected from various vineyard blocks to add layers of complexity. A small percentage of this Cabernet was sourced from Napa Valley providing tannic structure similar to that of our estate JAX Cabernet Sauvignon. Lake County’s warm temperatures and volcanic soils contributed layers of ripe flavors, creating a deep, rich palate. This wine was aged for 22 months in 30% new French Oak Barrels.

Dark aromas of ripe blackberries, currants, and a hint of spice. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon coats the palate with dense layers of black cherry, cocoa nib, forest floor, and soft hints of cedar. Full-bodied and well proportioned, this wine carries through to a vibrant and lively finish.


 

Wine and Spirit Label 4

Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Napa Valley’, JAX

94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc sourced from the Jackson family’s dry-farmed vineyards in northern Calistoga. Following fermentation, this wine was aged for 21 months in French oak (70% new). A powerful, dense expression but beautifully balanced and precise.

Thick tannins wrap around tones of dried herb and juicy black cherry in this 100% varietal wine, given 22 months in 65% new French oak. Supple and well integrated, it is smooth and approachable, so enjoy in the near term.92 Points, Wine Enthusiast

 

Wine and Spirit Label 5

Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Block 3’, JAX

This is JAX’s Reserve Cabernet, which they started making in 2013 for the first time. It’s literally the third block of the JAX vineyard in Calistoga, which is all 337 Clone Cabernet. Dan and Kurt always knew even before they replanted the vines here that there was something special about this piece of the vineyard.

… deep garnet-purple in color and a little mute to start, offering glimpses at warm black cherries, cassis, and preserved plums scents with hints of chocolate box, cedar chest, tobacco leaf, and iron ore plus a waft of bouquet garni. The palate is full-bodied, concentrated, and packed with bold black fruit and fantastic tension, framed by firm, ripe, grainy tannins, finishing long and multilayered.95-97 Points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate