TN: Gretna Green, Outpost, Saxum, Jonata


Last night it seemed most of my tasting group had other obligations, so three of us met at a local restaurant, and enjoyed a nice meal with our theme; Rhone Rangers. The bottles were consumed non-blind over the course of 3 hours with food. It was a very nice and relaxing way to enjoy the wines.
A white to start:

  • 2009 Lagier Meredith Pott Chesters Anvil Gretna Green - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Green/gold in color. What a lovely nose. Very floral with a steely minerality. Complex and also some kiwi notes. Medium bodied with a silky texture. On the palate, this is much tighter. Perhaps it opens, but I am not sure how well this ages. During dinner, it did open up nicely with limes and minerals. I really like this wine and will drink mine up this spring and summer. Went well with hummus and pita bread. (91 pts.)

The reds went well with my Roasted Vegetable Platter and the others said the same for their lamb dishes.

  • 2005 Outpost Grenache - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
    Light ruby in color. The nose was very nice with strawberries, raspberry kool-aid and a slight warm, musty funk that was very nice. On the palate, it was nice, but lagged behind. An upfront attack of raspberries was good. The mid-palate was hollow. Then the finish was just ok. A fair amount of heat that never really went away. It went well with roasted vegetables and rice. Good if not great. (88 pts.)
  • 2004 Saxum James Berry Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    I know that 04 was a variable year for Saxum. This bottle was, for whatever reason, not perfect, but still a very good wine. On opening the nose has black raspberries, grilled meat and black pepper. There is also this off chemical note, slightly sour. With an hour of air, the nose smoothed out and was quite good. On the palate, I found the fruit still vibrant, mostly black raspberries and some blue berries, but there was a tingly acidity. Not enough not to enjoy the bottle, but not quite right either. Was I looking for this? Maybe, but we all mentioned it and it never really dissipated. Still, it was a delicious and outstanding bottle if not what other bottles can be and have been. (90 pts.)
  • 2006 Jonata Winery La Sangre de Jonata - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
    I really liked this wine. It was my WOTN but IIRC, this was $125. Simply not worth it and at that pricing I am no longer a buyer. Purple in color, opaque and bright. The nose is very good, earthy, black raspberries, bacon fat and reasonable. On the palate, there is some restraint here and it is very tight. It opened throughout the evening showing layers of black raspberries, grill smoke and leather. Nice balance. Long finish. Really an outstanding wine. (93 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

My recollect was the GretnaGreen came from StageCoach Vnyd in the NapaVlly, rather than SonomaCoast.
I thought it was easily the best Marsanne/Viognier off that vnyd ever. Very lovely wine.

Tom, you are probably right. That came from CellarTracker. I will check my bottles to see if that says and if needed, let Eric know about that.

Mine says Stagecoach.

Thanks for the notes, Loren

Thanks, mine too. I put in a CT request to change it.


Thanks for sharing. The 05 Outpost was a very nice wine when I had it a few years back, and I would say that your notes mirror my experiences, Wonderful aromatics but a midpalate and finish that left you wanting more . . .

And I wil agree on the Jonata note as well, especially the question of whether the tariff makes this a ‘purchase’ or not. Matt Dees is doing some great stuff - just wish pricing was more in line with others in our area.


+1. Wish I had ordered more.


Have you tried any of the Black Bart wines made by the owners of Stagecoach? Their whites have generally been well receieved. I also believe Jeff Cohn at JC may be working with their whites, but I could be mistaken . . .


Yep, Larry, I’ve had the opportunity to try the Black Bart Bride or Bridesmaid (I don’t remember the exact name) a few times in past years - I recall it being a a bigger, softer, less vibrant wine than the Gretna Green, and the Ohio retail price is quite a bit higher on the Black Bart (north of $50 IIRC). I suppose some of the difference could have been the vintage(s) but I haven’t revisited mainly because of the price. I’ve not come a cross a JC Cellars marsanne blend from this vineyard here in Ohio.

Hopefully Carole will be pouring some of the GretnaGreen at Rhone Rangers this weekend - I’ll try to stop by and try some (-: