Marriage of Wine

Marriage of Wine

Jason and Janu Goelz are the husband and wife team behind Alara Cellars and Jason Stephens Winery. Along with both of these great labels, they also own The Silicon Valley Wine Company (SVWC), and produce the “Tech Series” labels (ONES and ZEROS and Pixelated).

While I look forward to trying those labels as well, this post highlights four of the red varietals they produce: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, and Merlot. They’re all unapologetically over 14% ABV, and all good… real good.

“Owners Jason and Janu Goelz created the SVWC to marry that rich wine-growing history to today’s forward-looking tech enterprises. The resulting fun, hip projects, apps, and bottlings are redefining the area’s 160+ year old wine industry.” ~Jason Stephens Winery

14.5% ABV – Aged 20 Months in Oak (25% New Oak)

Jason Stephens 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon ($28) is 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc—not your typical California Cabernet. Please, order yourself a bottle and let me know what you think. First pour, the aroma is enchanting with rich, ripe berries and woodsy herbs. First sip has a surprisingly light mouthfeel considering the opaque, almost deep purple color. The acidity comes at you bright and tart, but keep swirling, let it open up. It will keep showing you all of its colors and flavors. Layered, complex, with moderate tannins, this one could age another 10 years, but I do love it now.

15.20% ABV and 100% Delicious

Alara Cellars 2017 Pinot Noir ($41) This isn’t just a gorgeous, stylish label, it’s about the red fruit and full flavor. Strawberry, pomegranate, and hint of cinnamon spice. I was surprised to see a this at 15.2%, but don’t let the ABV fool you—the intoxicating nose is rich, but there’s no heaviness on the palate. Many Pinot Noir’s I’ve tried have been thin and a bit lackluster, so not only did I truly enjoy this bottle, I love just how beautifully different of a Pinot it was.

“I work with a fashion designer (Malene Grotrian) and tell her what I think the wines would look like if they were dresses and she paints them. Each varietal and each vintage has a different, custom painting.” ~Janu, Alara Cellars

14.5% ABV – Aged 36 months in the barrel (25% new oak)

Jason Stephens 2014 Santa Clara Valley Merlot ($24) is a blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec. Some of the best wines in the world are made with Merlot. Pomerol, from the famous Right Bank of Bordeaux is made primarily with Merlot, blended with Cabernet. If I were one to place bets, I would bet this Santa Clara Valley Merlot rivals any French bottle in the same (or perhaps even higher) price range. Smooth, almost velvety texture. Earthy, with rich cocoa dusted blueberries. A steal for $24.

“Our ultimate goal of the winery is to create well-balanced, elegant wines that capture the essence of the grape in each bottle. Through careful automated sorted and modern winemaking techniques, the truest flavors of the grape shine through the glass.” ~Jason Stephens Winery

Oh so good with a big, unbashful 15.20% ABV

Alara 2016 Tempranillo ($39) Decadent, filled with all the wonderful things Tempranillo should be… leather, fine black pepper, tobacco, earthy spices you love but can’t quite place (maybe that’s just me). When I think of Tempranillo, I immediately think of Rioja, not California. Even though some of the same characteristics are there with this grape, especially the leathery aspect, Alara’s California version is brighter with beautiful acidity. Swoon worthy and awarded 91 points from Wine Enthusiast.

Need more reasons to support and love these winemakers? They have sweet winery dogs!

Photo credit: Jason Stephens Winery via Twitter: #jswinery – This is Wrigley and Baxter! How cute are they!?! I mean, they’re not cats… but look at those sweet faces!

Thanks to Robert with The Larsen Projekt, I was able to sample these truly excellent wines from Alara Cellars and Jason Stephens Winery. Please click one of the links above to be taken to their website(s) to learn more. You can’t go wrong with any of these wines.

Meet the winemakers, Jason and Janu Goelz. Photo taken from Jason Stephens Winery’s website (click the photo to be taken to their site).




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I write about wine as well as the unique stories behind each label. I'm a R.D.H. with an applied science degree in dental hygiene, and have been geeking out about wine for over 20 years. Before obtaining a Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certification, I learned about wine just by trying different styles and regions. I've also worked with a local distributor in wine sales. Wine brings people together and makes the world a smaller, friendlier place... Cheers!

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