By Robert Parker Charles Banks, a Santa Barbara (Calif.) money manager, and Stanley Kroenke, a Denver real estate developer, made a big splash last year when they acquired the Screaming Eagle property. That's the home of a coveted Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon that costs $300 upon release and thousands in the aftermarket.
Now, with much less fanfare, the pair have begun selling the first wines from Jonata, their estate in California's Santa Ynez Valley. Under a talented young winemaker, Matthew Dees, Jonata is building a remarkable portfolio that will also make the wine world take notice. For more information, go to jonata.com or call 805 564-8581.
2004 El Corazon de Jonata
This syrah/merlot/cabernet sauvignon blend offers loads of fruit; a big, floral, chocolate, coffee, blackberry, and cassis-scented perfume; and a savory, fleshy style. $85
2004 El Desafio de Jonata
Aromas of mocha, cr?me de cassis, pain grill?, and a touch of espresso rise from a glass of this cabernet sauvignon. It should age easily for 10 to 15 years. $125
2005 La Tierra de Jonata
This is one of California's finest sangioveses. It has a sumptuous nose of strawberries, new saddle leather, licorice, roasted herbs, and spice. To be released next spring. $95
2005 El Corazon de Jonata
Inky blue/purple in color, the six-wine blend exhibits copious amounts of blue, red, and black fruits, with truffle, charcoal, and graphite scents. It will last at least 15 years. $85
2004 La Sangre de Jonata
This beautiful 100% syrah reveals chocolate, blackberry, charcoal, and acacia traits and a refreshing, full-bodied style. Drink this powerful yet graceful syrah over the next 10+ years. $125
2005 El Alma de Jonata
This great cabernet franc boasts notes of bay leaf interwoven with blueberries, black currants, licorice, flowers, and subtle smoke. It's a wine of exquisite precision and richness. $125
Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.
Robert Parker is the world's most influential wine critic. Visit www.eRobertParker.com to see tens of thousands of tasting notes, buy his books, or subscribe to his newsletter, The Wine Advocate.