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by Fred McMillin
The Jade Crusade
Jade Mountain Winery proprietor Jim Paras obviously had been out in the hot vineyard sunshine too long without a hat. He had just bought a vineyard that supplied Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for the RESERVE wines of the Hess Collection and others. So when did he produce the first vintage of Jade Mountain Cab? Never! Would you believe...he tore 'em out and replaced them with Syrah.
The Rest of the Story
The year was 1991. The 42 acres were located 1,200 feet up on Mt. Veeder, located in the hilly southwestern Napa Valley. The cool temperatures and thin soil produce small grapes with intense flavors.
By now you've guessed that San Francisco attorney Jim Paras loved the grapes of the Rhone Valley. Also, he hired Syrah-booster Doug Danielak, a winemaker who had spent time in eastern France. Together they not only converted the new Paras Vineyard to Rhone West, but also contracted for Syrah from Lee Hudson, the first grower to plant that grape in the Carneros district south of their own vines.
My panel just tasted the result, the 1997 Jade Mountain Syrah, two thirds from Veeder, one third from Hudson. Their opinion was summed up by S.F. State wine instructor Edgar Vogt: "Awesome!" Here it is.
1997 Jade Mountain Syrah, Napa Valley
Remington Norman's Rhone Renaissance sums it up this way. "Jade Mountain is a fine domaine, in exemplary hands. If Doug Danielak needed a confidence booster it came recently when Chalone took over Jade Mtn. marketing in the U.S. Let's hope there's some left for the rest of the world."
About the name Jade Mountain. Jim Paras' first vineyard was not the Mt. Veeder spread, but seven years earlier in Sonoma County. It was a 20-year-old vineyard in the Alexander Valley named the Jade Mountain Ranch. of course, the first change he made was to bud over the Riesling to...SYRAH!
01/24/00—When the Gold Rolled
01/20/00—When the Bard Starred
01/19/00—Dry Sack Flashback
01/17/00—Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
01/14/00—The Doctor's Encore
01/13/00—In Calaveras County
01/07/00—A New Winery for a New Millennium
01/04/00—Our Best Wine of 1999
01/03/00—Our Best Buy of 1999
This page created January 2000