WINEMAKING / TASTING NOTES
The hardest wine blend we ever made!
Joe’s Jammin’ Red is named after our middle son, Joe, who has Down Syndrome. This wine is our very complex sweet, but not so sweet red. Over the years the wine has contained no fewer than 3 in the blend and as many as 8. Wines contain upwards of 15oo natural chemical compounds, so each year’s blend isn’t done as a recipe, but rather from opening a bottle of Joe’s, then taking wines from our tanks and blending until we have the flavors right on.
It dawned on me that we’ve been making Joe’s Jammin’ Red for 18 years now. So could Joe’s have changed over the years? Each vintage is a little different, so how much “wine creep” or “style creep” have we had? Two years ago, we opened several older vintages, going back as far as 2005. Yep, it had changed over the years. But what we noticed was there was a distinctive connection between all of the versions.
Standards within the blend through the years have been Chambourcin, concord, and cabernet sauvignon. Full flavored and very smooth, with some nice tannins to round out the wine. But one never knows…What’s amazing is we can take all sorts of wines and carefully blend the style we want when we bottle. And over the years, we have two fairly standard styles, one more robust one with more cab added and a lighter and fruitier style.
In March 2018, we made a departure by blending without the one variety that has always been in tbe wine: concord. Laura thought with three wines on the list with concord that we should see what we could do by making a blend without such a dominant grape. So the March 2018 version is perhaps the craziest blend yet: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Niagara, and Stueben with just a hair of Catawba.
In January 2019, we were back at it. I opened several older vintages and had samples of various wines from which to play. The focus became, as Laura did on the last version, not to make it exactly the same, but keep the idea as its heritage, a sweet but not overly sweet red with beautiful fruit flavors. Laura’s blend highlighted the cherry/strawberry/raspberry aromatics and flavors. I could go that way, but…eh. Nope. But then again, Laura has the final say. This time I leaned towards a rich cranberry/blueberry style. In this blend, one the same, Niagara (a white). Others in the blend included Cabernet Franc, Edelweis (a white), Corot Noir, Noiret, Frontenac, and St. Croix. Left out but sampled in several blends were Catawba, Stueben, and Concord.
For the 2020 version, Christine, Laura, and I pulled samples in November 2019. Cab Franc 2015 in? Check. We knew that. That was our given. We just needed to build from it. Another absolute we figured would be in the blend is Frontenac 2019. When we added it to neutral oak barrels we knew it had that Joe’s make-up in it. We pulled samples of Diamond, Laura wanted Geisenheim to be reviewed. Some catawba/steuben blend we called “Robin’s Revenge” certainly we wanted to give that a try. And perhaps some “Escape My Mind” since we still had some in a tank. Ratios would have to be evaluated too.
So here was the blend: 224 liters cab franc, 224 liters Frontenac, 225 liters catawba / Steuben, and 100 liters of Escape My Mind, which is a blend of Steuben, Niagara, and Concord.
Now for 2021. Sheesh! Here we go again. Pulled a sample bottle from 2020. Dang. That’s good. Gulp. Now, what for we had been sold out since September 2020? Zinfandel had the fruit from 2020. There was the base. Niagara! We tried concord for the fruit, but nope, the niagara was the killer in the blend. Next up Souzao. No one’s ever heard of it, and it’s a great, great grape for making port. Delicious in the blend. Next, Chambourcin and Frontenac provide nice acid, reduce alcohol and give the wine a nice pop.
Continuing the theme, in February 2022, we blended cabernet sauvignon, frontenac, chambourcin, and niagara.
Delicious fruit, boundless delicious fruit dominates this wine. Fruity and slightly sweet, exactly as it has always been, that red that’s sweet, but not really sweet, full flavored and that just dances on the taste buds.
Vintage: NV | Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon (Amador, CA), Frontenac and Chambourcin (Turtle Run Vineyards), Niagara (North East, PA)
Acid 0.67| PH 3.55| Alcohol % 11.95 | Residual Sugar 3% | Glucose grams 0 | Sucrose grams 0 | Fructose grams 12 | Calories per bottle of fructose 36
Price: $16 per bottle