Having lived near a NASCAR race track for 23 years, I know who Jeff Gordon is and have been to a few races. I admit I was a little star struck when I was asked if I wanted to participate in a Twitter tasting of the newly released 2008 Jeff Gordon Cellars Joie de Vivre. I was also very intrigued and curious about the quality of a celebrity-branded wine. I agreed to participate and anxiously awaited the arrival of my media sample graciously provided by Jeff Gordon Cellars.
The first thing I noticed was the packaging of the wine, as well as the care taken in providing me background information about Jeff’s interest in wine, Jeff Gordon Cellars, and the sample I would be tasting. I was very hopeful that the understated elegance of the bottle and the meticulous inclusion of relevant information would be an indication of the quality of the wine. Thankfully, I was spot on. Below are the specs:
2008 Jeff Gordon Cellars Joie de Vivre, Napa Valley
Winemakers: August “Joe” Briggs and Jesse Inman
Cabernet from Corbett Vineyards, Napa Valley/Spring Mountain
Merlot from Solari Vineyard, Napa Valley/Calistoga
Syrah from Page Nord Vineyard, Napa Valley/Yountville
254 cases produced. Release date: October 15, 2012
Total Acidity: 6.0 g/L
Barrel Aging: 20 months in French and American Oak, 30% New Oak, 70% 2-3 year Old Oak
$61.00 at jeffgordonwine.com
I opened the wine about two and a half hours before the start of the tasting and sipped it off and on both alone and with food until the tasting winded down (yes, I have half of a bottle left). To say I was amazed at the quality and complexity of the blend would be an understatement. The wine was truly amazing. It had complex aromas of earth, mint, red and black fruits, smoke, and spices. On the palate, the wine exemplified the best qualities of the grapes in the blend: blackberry, black and red cherry, blackcurrant, cranberry, pepper, plum, raspberry, smoke, spices, and mint. The longer the wine was opened, the more the complexity revealed itself. During the tasting, a few of us speculated that a wine with this complexity could be put back for at least 10-15 years and would only get better.
The Twitter tasting itself was lots of fun, filled with lots of camaraderie, knowledge, NASCAR puns, and input and participation from Jeff himself. I think he was amazed at the positive feedback, but this wine is a quality product, not just celebrity endorsed. This morning I woke up with a sort of wine-tasting afterglow, feeling as if I had been part of something very special with regard to both social media and the wine I had enjoyed. Perhaps by writing this, you, too, will give this wine a try. You won’t be disappointed.