Jekel Wines Reviewed, A Treat from Monterey

The Jekel Winery

Monterey is California's most diverse and dynamic winegrowing region and it is here that the Jekel winery is located.  Jekel is known for pioneering the production of crisp vibrant wines.  They have a very interesting website with recommendations for using several of the wines with Asian food.  This inspired us to find an Asian Restaurant where we could bring our own wine.

You can almost read the recipe

One lovely, summer evening, Leon, Barbara, Gloria and Trish visited Chinoiserie Restaurant featuring Pan Asian Cuisine in Wilmette, Illinois.  It was a warm evening and we were seated near an open window, inside and outside.  Mozart was playing and the sounds and fragrances from outside enhanced our pleasure.  We brought two wines with us, the Jekel Gerwurztraminer 2005 and the Jekel Riesling 2005.  The group's overall feeling about these two wines was that the Reisling worked better with all the food and the Gerwurztraminer was better on its own. 

The Gerwurztraminer had a pungent bouquet and lovely color. It was off dry, slightly sweet and a nice contrast to the spices, which were softened by the wine.  It was especially pleasant as an aperitif and an end to the meal.

The wine makes the meal


The Jekel Riesling 2005 had a lovely deep gold color and pleasant, fruity bouquet.  Gloria noted that, "it filled the mouth, there was a pear flavor and a slight sweet effervescence."  Trish observed that it was "redolent with summer fruit". Gloria thought that it immediately emphasized the flavor of the fat mussels, the sweet contrasting with the garlic flavor.  The whole group enjoyed the way the Riesling stood up to the spicy spinach-mushroom dish.

A few weeks later, we tried the Gewerztraminer again.  This time there was a small group of us eating at home.  After our last experience, we were pleasantly surprised at the extent to which the wine enhanced our meal and vice versa.

Jackie commented on its light effervescence, the sweet but not cloying taste and the pear bouquet.  The pan-fried salmon, salad and vegetables would have made for a simple dinner but combined with the wine, it became a meal to remember.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Our friends, Dottie and Suru suggested that we, Barbara and Leon dine at Think, a Chicago restaurant with a frequently changing varied menu where we could bring our own wine.  The Jekel Chardonnay 2005 and the Jekel Pinot Noir 2005 were our choices.  We began with the Jekel Chardonnay 2005, noticing its honey color and fruity bouquet.  At first taste there was a zing.  It wasn't oaky but dry and delicate with sweeter foods.  Dottie and Barbara noted happily that it was a lovely accompaniment for the arugula salad with house dried apples, goat cheese and mango balsamic vinaigrette- it was a good combination.

Beautifully presented appetizers

But after exploring the Jekel Pinot Noir 2005, we thought this was a star.  Its ruby color was inviting and the bouquet of black cherry and plum was very pleasant.  It filled the mouth with a mellow complex flavor.  It enhanced the house specialty that night which was beef pasta.  It also held its own with the rosemary flavors that spiced the mahi-mahi special that night.  Each of us found the softness of the Pinot Noir on its own to be very enjoyable.

The Jekel Merlot 2004 and Jekel Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 were wines we chose to bring to an open house for a new condo in Chicago where there were lots of people to enjoy the wine with many kinds of food.  The Jekel Merlot 2004 looked appealing in the glass and had a bouquet of fruits, especially berries.  It was very dry and went well with the spicier foods.

Lovely for an open house

The Jekel Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 had a deep red color and the bouquet had a hint of fruit.  It was dry with an oak swell, had complex flavors and was full bodied.  It was very smooth and was a great accompaniment for the heavier dishes.  It filled the mouth and was lovely to drink on its own as well.

Bill Jekel chose to found Jekel Vineyards in the cool expanses of Monterey's Salinas Valley in 1972 in part because Monterey vineyards have unique qualities that make them easily distinguishable from those produced elsewhere in California.  You will no doubt agree when you try them, especially as they are so reasonably priced.

The 90 year old toast

You can find Chinoiserie Restaurant at 509 Fourth Street, Wilmette, IL.  PH 847.256.0306.

Think Restaurant is at 2235 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL PH 773.394.0536 or

2005 Chardonnay August, 2006 Monterey 100% Chardonnay-$10.99

2005 Riesling June, 2006 Monterey 92% Riesling, 8% Muscat-$10.99

2005 Gewerztraminer February, 2006 Monterey 100% Gewerztraminer -$12.99

2005 Pinot Noir September, 2006 Monterey County 100% Pinot Noir-$14.99

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon December, 2006 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon, 99%, Petite Sirah, 1%-$14.99

2004 Merlot December, 2006 Monterey Merlot, 78%, Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.6%-$14.99







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