A closer look at McConnell Golf’s exclusive wines
This past Spring, McConnell Golf began pouring two new wines — a red blend and sauvignon blanc — the fruits of a partnership with Juslyn Vineyards, located in the heart of Napa Valley. We spoke with Stephanie DeMasi, Juslyn Vineyards’ partner/general manager, to get more information on the varietals and where they came from Santé!
MARTHA-PAGE ALTHAUS: Juslyn Vineyards is located in Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain District. What makes this region distinct?
STEPHANIE DEMASI: We’re located in St. Helena, California. Our vineyard was planted in 1998 and harvested in 2000 with just 80 cases that first year. Juslyn’s Spring Mountain Vineyard sits right on and above the fog line, which allows us to avoid much frost, fungus growth, and rapid air and wind movement through the “hourglass” effect of the Napa mountain ranges. We have steep, southwest-facing vineyards, which provide optimal sun exposure, even in cooler vintages.
MPA: Tell us about the winemakers behind these new wines.
SD: Craig MacLean has worked with us for more than 20 years now. Our owners, Perry and Carolyn Butler, moved to California from England in 1982 to work in the tech industry. They would come to Napa on the weekends to relax. In 1997, they quit their jobs in the Bay area and opened Juslyn, which is derived from the names of Carolyn and their daughter, Justine.
MPA: How did the partnership between Juslyn and McConnell Golf form?
SD: I was introduced to McConnell Golf’s Chief Operating Officer, Christian Anastasiadis, through mutual friends Martin and Denise Cody of Cellar Angels. Christian and I talked, and the idea grew from there.
MPA: How did the flavors develop for each wine?
SD: We wanted to offer versatile expressions of wine that would be easy to match and enhance McConnell chefs’ dinner menus. We also wanted the wine to be enjoyed on its own.
MPA: What are the flavor profiles of the 2014 McConnell Red Blend?
SD: It’s a Bordeaux-style blend. On the nose, you’ll detect warm plums, blueberry preserves, and spice cake. It’s fi rm and muscular on the strong, full-bodied palate, with black cherry, cedar, and lavender fl avors, framed by light notes of French oak. It’s a ripe, fruit-forward wine with a nice spice to the finish.
MPA: And the 2017 sauvignon blanc?
SD: This tropical fruit-driven, aromatic wine exhibits flavors of ripe citrus, subtle mineral notes, and has a lively dry finish.