J Vineyards & Winery
11447 Old Redwood Highway
The Ultimate Wine and Cheese Pairing J’s goal is to make sparkling wine that rivals champagne, which is enough to draw me in. That, and its incredible cheese and charcuterie pairings from Executive Chef Erik Johnson. The winery’s Russian River Valley collection includes pinot grigio, pinot noir, and six to eight sparkling varieties at any given time, among others. J’s estate pinot grigio vineyard, the Cooper Vineyard, allows the winery to produce 85,000 cases of pinot grigio each year, making them one of the leading producers in California. Stop in for a guided tour or a seated tasting on the terrace or in the beautiful Bubble Room or Legacy Reserve Lounge. A wine flight is $30, or $50 with a cheese pairing. For your wine, you can choose from a varietal flight, a sparkling flight, or a pinot noir only flight. I highly recommend the cheese pairings and accompaniments, which are specifically crafted to match each wine (one cheese pairing can easily be shared between two people). On my visit, I tasted Belweather sheep milk ricotta with local blackberry honey steeped in Meyer lemon, a pecorino-style cheese with dried cherries and rose petal, a NY camembert with pomegranate puree, a Nick’s Yard bleu cheese with quince, and a soft-ripened Spanish goat cheese with hazelnut and vanilla. Reservations recommended.