Kendall Jackson’s home is in the town of Kelseyville right next to the Red Hills AVA. Known primarily for value driven wines, Kendall Jackson also makes the premium Grand Reserve line which includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Chardonnay.
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In the early 1974s, Jess Jackson bought an 80 acre pear orchard in the town of Kelseyville. After converting his property to vines, he soon bought another 600 acres in Lake County. Jackson originally only sold grapes to other wineries.
In 1982, Jackson established Kendall Jackson and began making his own wine. His Chardonnay was immediately successful and he continued acquiring vineyards. Jess Jackson currently owns or controls an amazing 12,000 acres of vines throughout California Wine Country. 300 of these acres are in the Red Hills AVA.
The Kendall Jackson 2001 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a great value from the excellent 2001 vintage. Grapes are sourced from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino to give this wine many levels of flavor. I enjoyed it young, but it could certainly age for several years.
Like Mr. Jackson’s Grand Reserve Cab, the 2002 Grand Reserve Merlot also uses fruit from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. Dark fruit flavors and spice were the strongest flavors I noticed. This nuanced wine does the Merlot varietal justice.
The Grand Reserve Chardonnay is made with fruit from Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties. The winery is a master at blending grapes from all over California into distinctive, seamless wines. This vintage is no exception.
The 2001 Camelot Bench Chardonnay is produced with grapes from the cool Santa Maria AVA. It has substantial body without being overdone with oak. This wine has nice acidity and is quite refreshing.