HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve “Summation,” White Wine Blend (33% Sauvignon Blanc, 27% Viognier, 15% Chardonnay, 9% Semillon, 6% Roussanne, 6% Pinot Blanc, 2% White Riesling, 2% Muscat Canelli), California, 2009. 13.5% ABV. $11.99, available for $9.99.

Sometimes my love and I surprise each other with a new wine and the “Guess!” game. The winner gets one of his or her wishes granted.

When I first sniffed this beauty, I confidently said, “Chardonnay.” But as soon as I took the first sip, my eyes popped open in surprise. Not only was it NOT a Chardonnay, it had a velvety Viognier impression with its heavy-cream mouthfeel, and at the same time it was pleasantly and very surprisingly tart. My second guess was correct: “Well, it’s a white blend with a significant amount of Viognier.”

Despite the Chardonnay-like nose, Sauvignon Blanc is the predominant varietal in this blend. However, although tangy, as Sauvignon Blanc is, it didn’t have a bit of the characteristic SB twang of cat pee and asparagus. It tasted of green apples, pears, minerals, mild cloves, ripe grapefruit, and unripe melon. The very long, minerally finish was spicy, from mid-palate all the way down my throat!

“Summation” is definitely a big, elegant package bearing lots of surprises. It was stimulating, refreshing, and deeply rich all at the same time. With this one, we BOTH had our wishes fulfilled!

LABEL NOTES: For more than two decades, my family has sourced fruit from our mountain and hillside vineyards to bring you award-winning wines. Layers of flavor strike a perfect balance. Summation is a mélange of white grape varietals grown in cool vineyards along the California coast. Our winemaker meticulously selected the individual wines for this blend, layering together an intriguing white wine that is both crisp and refreshing. Look for flavors of honeydew, apricot, pink grapefruit, white pepper and honeysuckle over a creamy mouthfeel. Outstanding with food, or simply on its own.—Jess Jackson

WINEMAKER’S NOTES: Summation, our white wine blend, mingles refreshing flavors of honeydew melon, apricot, pink grapefruit and white pepper. Added hints of honeysuckle and a creamy mouthfeel result in a soft, dry wine that is excellent for food pairing or simply sipping.—Randy Ullom, Winemaster

WEB NOTES: 81% of the grape varietals are originally from the Loire Valley and Rhône Valley regions. Lake County fruit brings citrus and ripe melon flavors. Mendocino County adds floral and honeysuckle notes. Santa Barbara County grapes add floral and tropical tones. Monterey County’s cool climate adds white pepper spice and citrus. Sonoma County gives some minerality and perfume notes. Summation, a legal term for a final statement that summarizes principal points, represents to us the study and final blending of white varietals culminating in this exquisite wine. Growing Regions: 43% Lake County, 23% Mendocino County, 21% Santa Barbara County, 7% Monterey County, 6% Sonoma County.

WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING:

WINE SPECTATOR: Relatively new to the market is Kendall-Jackson Summation, a charismatic kitchen-sink concoction of eight different grapes from five different California wine regions (mostly Lake, Mendocino and Santa Barbara counties). Sauvignon Blanc gives it a crisp backbone and minerality, Viognier and Chardonnay add body and a lush texture and Roussanne, White Riesling and Muscat Canelli add bright fruit and floral aromas. The night I opened it, I made grilled chicken Caesar salad, and the wine was an ideal match. I rated it 90 points, non-blind.

ROBERT PARKER’S WINE ADVOCATE: A new addition to the portfolio is the 2009 Vintner’s Reserve Summation, an intriguing blend of 33% Sauvignon Blanc, 27% Viognier, 15% Chardonnay and the rest Semillon, Roussanne, Pinot Blanc, Riesling and Muscat Canelli, all largely fermented in stainless steel and neutral oak. It is a terrific perfumed, juicy white displaying a rainbow of tropical fruits in addition to crisp acids, medium body, a dry, flavorful mid-palate and lots of purity. This is a pleasure-giving, exciting, dry white that sells for a song … Kendall-Jackson enjoys a well-deserved reputation for over-delivering quality vis à vis price for its wines.

WEB: www.kj.com

P.S. Several months ago, we also enjoyed the 2008 “Summation” Red Blend. Here are my notes from that tasting:

46% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Zinfandel, 6% Petite Sirah, 4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Syrah, 1% Other varietals.

Growing Regions: 50% Mendocino County, 34% Sonoma County, 15% Napa County, 1% Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Luis Obispo Counties.

I found it smooth, not overwhelming, yet with “good bones” and strength; a little spicy.

In Feb. 2011, Robert Parker rated it 87 and wrote, “Soft and spicy with briery mountain fruit, licorice, herb, red and black fruit characteristics, this medium-bodied, lusty, soft 2008 can be drunk over the next 2-3 years.”

“Lusty” and “soft” might seem contradictory, but there’s no other way to put it! This wine has a lot of character without being in your face about it. Classy and strong without being dominating, like Audrey Hepburn vs. Kate.

This entry was posted in California, Chardonnay, Moscato/Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier, White Blend. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve “Summation,” White Wine Blend (33% Sauvignon Blanc, 27% Viognier, 15% Chardonnay, 9% Semillon, 6% Roussanne, 6% Pinot Blanc, 2% White Riesling, 2% Muscat Canelli), California, 2009. 13.5% ABV. $11.99, available for $9.99.

  1. D says:

    This may be a “kitchen sink concoction” but it tastes like it too. Too astringent, no bouquet, not crisp, no legs, no nose and just, maybe, a $3.00 wine that I just paid $20 for. Won’t purchase it again. Awful

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