The People

The family behind J. Cage cellars are Austin natives! Roger & Donna Beery were drawn to northern Sonoma County for different reasons. Their son, Conch, studied winemaking and settled there to hone his skills. Daughter, Whitney came to build a career in wine hospitality. Together, the family is chasing their “Wine-Stained Dream” of creating exceptional wines with integrity and passion. 

While it might seem unlikely that a family from Austin named “Beery” would go into winemaking in northern California, their roots are planted deeply in the Texas Hill Country. J. Frank Cage was Roger’s great grandfather. Mr. Cage was a craftsman, a builder, and an avid outdoorsman who hunted and fished throughout the area. He designed and built Austin’s historic Lamar Boulevard Bridge, noted for its Art Deco-style open-spandrel architecture and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Beery family has been inspired by J. Frank Cage’s commitment to craftsmanship and are indebted to the legacy he left them. This spirit shows in the wines of J. Cage Cellars. At Blurred Vines we love great wines that are made by interesting people. We consider the Beerys to be part of our extended family.

The Juice

While this Chardonnay is made in the California style, it is not over oaked or manipulated during fermentation. The uniqueness of this wine can be traced to the harvest decision. Mr. Beery waits until the malolactic acid starts dropping out of the fruit so that there is less to convert during fermentation. He then allowed malolactic fermentation to occur in about half of the tanks and prevented it in the other half. The tanks were then blended to get just the slightest amount of secondary fermentation. The wine was aged on the lees in neutral French oak barrels for seven months with regular hand stirring. The wine is the color of beautiful pale straw when poured in the sunshine, as all Chardonnays should.

The Dirt

The vineyard is originally part of the 1843 Tzabaco Rancho Mexican land grant. The property is just west of Geyserville and has been farmed by the Phillips-Schmidt family for more than 160 years. The sixth generation of family members are running the farm. Chardonnay from this iconic vineyard in the Dry Creek Valley is characteristically aromatic and juicy. The land produces irresistibly thirst-quenching white wine that takes on a soft plushness on the palate.

The Taste

The palate is soft, smooth, and textural just along the edge of the tongue. The acidity presents itself with citrus and a bit of a zesty sensation. Dominant flavors are of citrus zest, lemon juice, coriander, and tarragon. Spring-like aromas of apple, pear, light honey, and lemon hit you on the nose. It gets better as it warms up and a little swirling will open the aromas and flavor. This wine is perfectly balanced and walks the line between traditional French and California styles. Easy to drink with food or without.

The Spill

Bill always shows up whenever there is Chardonnay being poured and he can be very critical. He is a fan of the J. Cage pinot noirs and was excited to try this white. He loves this style of Chardonnay and holds it up against several of his much more expensive favorites. Bill is a fan of cooler climate Chardonnay made in a traditional fashion with crisp acidity. The J. Cage combines a little of this old style with just a hint of the new to make something truly extraordinary at a great price. While this wine is sure to sell out, he did  volunteer to buy all remaining inventory. Come get it while you can folks.

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