Wine of the Day: J Vineyards Cuvee 20 to The Class of 2020

Almost thirty-five years ago J Vineyards and Winery began in the heart of Sonoma’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay country. When it came time to honor of the 20th anniversary of Sonoma’s J Vineyards, the traditional method sparkling wine house introduced J Vineyards Cuvee 20 Brut ($38). A wine to demonstrate the house style of J, showcasing the classic varieties of Champagne, made in the heart of Russian River Valley, aged on the yeasts in the bottle to create the bubbles with the traditional second fermentation, and produced as a non-vintage wine, creating a consistent style for the wine for years to come. Now, almost fifteen years after the initial release of this beauty, the wine hasn’t missed a beat as it remains a shining star of California sparkling wine.

The beauty of California sparkling wines, vs. premier Champagne is that with pretty much 100% certainty you will have sunshine throughout the growing season in California. This ensures delicate fruit can ripen fully, delivering juicy, Meyer lemon, red delicious apple, and ripe Asian pear filled wine. Cooling breezes off the Pacific and the Russian River lock-in acidity, providing fruit with freshness. Bottle aging adds the additional layer of brioche, marzipan, and creamy meringue.

Last weekend I was supposed to be toasting my nephew on his graduation. A part of the class of 2020, Cuvee 20 would have been the ideal choice to celebrate his past accomplishments and future success. And, to toast his mama for her dedication to raising an amazing young man. Three months ago, the world stopped, ending every hope he had for his senior year from track meets and jazz concerts to debates, mock trials, and AP study sessions. He missed his Prom.

But, he became a part of something bigger. I have heard many parents of graduates say “they will never forget this year,” but the bigger part of that, is that this Class of 2020 is now united. Before Covid-19, Harrison was going to graduate with 300 or so kids, a group he had been tied to for his high school career. Now, thanks to things like Zoom and YouTube, that Class of 2020, thousands and thousands of kids across the country, has been united as one. And, they are the class that will bring change to our country. I admit I don’t agree with every political leaning that my sweet nephew has, but I do love that he has them. He has formed opinions through thoughtful discussion, education, and information. He is not one to go with the pack or retweet ugliness for the sake of retweeting. He thinks before he speaks, and speaks with a sincerity and empathy that I wish adults in leadership would take a lesson from. I worry about his future, in a world filled with unrest, but know he will make it a better place.

Today they will be holding a graduation ceremony for his class, allowing the kids to walk across the stage to receive their diploma…individually, in a very coronavirus conscious way. I am thrilled he is able to have this moment, and Gary & I will be Zooming in to see him walk from our Hawaii home, raising a glass to this incredible young man. #cheers

And, no fears, we don’t condone or support underage drinking. I wish I could be there to raise a glass with my sister, and commemorate her boy.