Two from J. Wilkes

J. Wilkes 2019 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Blanc ($20)

J. Wilkes Santa Maria Valley Pinot Blanc

Lovely fresh citrus and floral scents loft from the glass of J. Wilkes’ Santa Maria Valley Pinot Blanc. Clear, pale straw in color, it offers a mix of lime and orange and stone fruit aromas with subtle spring flowers. The nose builds an expectation that the palate satisfies, with juicy but dry, medium-bodied mixed-fruit flavors that follow the nose, framed with moderate 13% alcohol and zippy, structure-building acidity that starts your taste buds working. The wine gains complexity as it warms in the glass, and an intriguing waft of “petrol” minerality joins tangy citrus in a very long finish. Excellent wine. (May 1, 2021)

FOOD MATCH: The winery suggests “cold-water seafood, and anything fried. Fish and chips, raw or charbroiled oysters, scallops, sourdough grilled cheese. Asian food, Korean BBQ or kimchi. We enjoyed it with spaghetti with a bland of garlic, oil, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

WHEN TO DRINK: I’d enjoy it over the next couple of years on a wine rack, maybe five under good cellar conditions.

VALUE:’s $20 average U.S. retail matches the price from the winery. It’s a good value for an above-average white in this price range..

Click here for the J. Wilkes winery website, and use this link for a winery fact sheet.

Check prices and find vendors for J. Wilkes Santa Maria Valley Pinot Blanc on

Order this wine from the winery for $20, with shipping where the law allows.

Browse Wine-Searcher’s listings for vendors and prices for all J. Wilkes wines.

J. Wilkes 2018 Paso Robles Highlands District Lagrein ($50)

J. Wilkes Paso Robles Highlands District Lagrein

J. Wilkes Lagrein shows a very dark, almost blackish-purple color in the glass, typical of the Lagrein grape. Ripe black-plum, black-cherry, and mixed-berry aromas invite a taste, which follows the nose with full, dry cherry-berry fruit framed by firm tannins and food-friendly acidity. Alcohol is listed at 14.6%, but it doesn’t get in the way as berries and plums and intriguing minerality last into a very long finish. (May 8, 2021)

FOOD MATCH: The winery offers specific suggestions: “Beef stew with Herbs-De-Provence, butter risotto with white truffles, pizza, grilled Top Serloin, Brie and other soft cheeses.” We found it excellent with pasta with Marcella Hazan’s Rag├╣ Bolognese.

WHEN TO DRINK: Lagrein is not considered a grape for long aging, but the structure, tannins, and fruit-acid balance in this wine do suggest some potential for cellar evolution over five years or so.

It’s a fine red wine from an interesting variety, but to be honest, the $50 price at the winery is pushing it for me. Wine-Searcher shows a more doable $26 average U.S. retail but lists no current vendors.

Here’s a winery fact sheet on J. Wilkes Lagrein, with a link to a shopping cart.

Wine-Searcher doesn’t show current sources for J. Wilkes Lagrein. However, you can order it from the winery by clicking “Add to Cart” here.

Learn about Lagrein and find listings for dozens more wines from this variety on this Wine-Searcher link.

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