Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kendall-Jackson Summation `09 $13.99 ***

I have been writing this review in my head for over a month.  I am partial to American wine dynasties, I've written about Banfi and Mondavi, but closest to my heart is Jess Jackson, the Jackson half of Kendall-Jackson.

Jess Stonestreet Jackson was successful, first as a lawyer and then in 1974, he and his family purchased an 80-acre pear and walnut orchard in Lakeport, California that he converted to a vineyard, his first vineyard holding that eventually grew to encompass the Jackson Family Collection: Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, Cambria, Stonestreet, Edmeades, La Crema, Cardinale, Lokoya, Hartford Family Winery, Verite, Atalon, Carmel Road, Murphy Goode, La Jota, Freemark Abbey, Bryon Estates, Arrowood, all in the U.S.; Chateau Lassegue in France; Tenuta di Arceno in Italy; Yangarra in Australia; and Calina in Chile.  Not too shabby for a poor kid, turned dock worker turned lawyer.  Now THAT is the American Dream.

I always have said that you need a safety, a way to support yourself while you dream about the days when you can chase your dreams  - Mr. Jackson did that, once a lawyer, always a lawyer, even after he was a wine full time producer, he was always one to use the courts to settle a disagreement or an infringement on his label or intellectual property.  It was the American way.  

After 1974, he was a commercial grape grower, and then, in the `80's, Kendall-Jackson started producing their own wine (with his now ex-wife Joyce Kendall). In the 21st century, he started buying high stakes race horses.  He died just after he pulled his horse Astrology from this year's Kentucky Derby.  He owned two amazing horses, 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra as well as Curlin, the 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year.  Pretty good for a poor kid, who in the last decades of his long life, was not only successful in each of his chosen professions but in his passions/hobbies too:  He was a Horse of the Year owner for three consecutive years.  Jess Stonestreet Jackson wasn't born rich, but he was born smart, with a lot of ambition, and the capacity to dream. He had a fun smile, an old school edge, a flair for marketing, and he will be missed.

Kendall-Jackson Summation is a tasty hodgepodge blend of :  33% Sauvignon Blanc, 27% Viognier, 15% Chardonnay, 9% Semillon, 6% Roussanne, 6% Pinot Blanc, 2% White Riesling, 2% Muscat Canelli.  What can you say about that?  Summation is Mr. Jackson - a melange of flavors and experiences that works.  It is crisp, a bit tart, a semi dry finish, 13.5% ETOH and can be just a bit aggressive and rough.  I originally served this wine too cool.  After 10 mins in the glass, it was just right, had a distinct highlight of grapefruit, and a nice fruity finish.  Perfectly good for a sunny Wednesday evening.

We had it with salmon in a white wine cream sauce from Julia Child's Way to Cook, and white rice.  I am very happy to have cooked tonight's dinner with two American icons in mind.  Jess and Julia, what a pair!

Jess Stonestreet Jackson
February 18, 1930 - April 21, 2011

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