Led by Jamey Whetstone and his nearly 30 years of California winemaking experience, this is a small project for Whetstone, who also manages an eponymous winery along with his wife. The wines he makes at the former not only offer far better value, but the project is far more interesting to me. Here’s why:
Jamey cut his teeth in the winemaking business back in the 90s as an intern for Turley Cellars – not too shabby. He worked for Larry Turley for several years before leaving to join Failla Wines, run by the formidable Ehren Jordan. During that time, the jovial, happy-go-lucky winemaker made a number of great contacts throughout California. With both Failla and Turley making wines in a number of regions, the opportunity to forge relationships were endless, and Whetstone always kept this in mind.
A few years later, the importer Polaner approached him about their desire to work with a top winemaker who could make wine across several of California’s top AVAs. For Whetstone, not only could he work with Napa, Santa Barbara, and Monterey, but it would also give him the chance to make Chardonnay. He was immediately sold.
I tasted all three of his wines last week. All of them, just like the name suggests, are a great representation of a time and place in each region. But in the outstanding 2021 vintage in Napa, the Cabernet I’m telling you about is a BIG RED with plenty of sweet fruit and new oak that is sure to make a lot of folks happy.
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