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.
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.
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.
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!
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.