Double J Ranch 2013 Carneros Pinot Noir

Carneros AVA, Northern California; 13.8%ABV
$7.99 at the Long Beach, CA, store on 1 June

This wine appealed visually right away with a clean, classy label on nice paper with slightly metallic, reflective tracing as seen in the photo.Double J Ranch Pinot Noir

I had a pretty darn positive reaction from first sip, which clearly let me know that the wine needed to open up. Over the first two hours, the initial alcohol hit lessened and the dark cherry and raspberry came to the forefront. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied and just needed a good amount of time to smooth out and was better integrated at 3 hours than at two. There is a balanced amount of oak here, enough to complement, but not detract from, what comes across as a pretty straightforward and typical Carneros effort. It knows what it is and what it is not. It has structure throughout from initial sip to the finish. The fruit is pretty delicious without being too dominant and integrates well with the amount of oak used.

On the first night, the 13.8% alcohol kept getting in the way for me. Maybe from spending time in France recently, I got used to lower alcohol wines, and I’ve never really had issues with higher alcohol ones (I have a 16% ABV Old Vine Zin in my review queue). So, I left it to sit stoppered in its original bottle after using a Vacu Vin.

On night two, the wine was as good if not better with the fruit flavors coming through more profoundly. Night three was similar with a glass left to finish up and the only perceptible difference was some shortening of the finish and dissolution of qualities from the nose. It still drank well.

For me, though, I could never quite get past the alcohol which I felt was pretty pronounced here. This isn’t a huge knock on the wine overall but it was persistent, and I still give it an enthusiastic 2 Thumbs Up and a solid Very Good rating for the price. I think it reflects well at its supposed $19.99 retail price point and in that strong $7-8 Pinot Pricing segment we’ve seen over the last few years (at least in Northern CA). It’s far from the best Pinot you will ever try but I think this is a nice wine from someone who appears to be a proven winemaker and reflective of what most would expect from Carneros. Happy drinking!

More on the winemaker here if interested:


13 thoughts on “Double J Ranch 2013 Carneros Pinot Noir

  1. Darrell

    Did try a bottle and while it did have a smidgeon of the Carneros PN character, I preferred some other PN’s from GO. Good color and clarity with some spice in the nose. Not one of the funky types. Liked Tractor Guy and definitely the Maranet much better just as point of reference. Now to find a bottle of Loyalist.

    1. Darrell

      Retried the other half that was decanted into a half bottle that was filled with inert gas and corked. I appreciated the nose much better and don’t think the wine changed as I trust this rebottling technique, but rather my not paying close attention to the nose the first tasting. The PN flavor is less than expected when anticipating it based on the nose. A bit bitter but pretty much as GOWL described on his first tasting. I must be used to CA alcohol in PN.

  2. Colleen

    I totally agree with your tasting notes. I bought several bottles at the Costa Mesa GO over the past month and have enjoyed it even more on day two.

  3. inthewinecountry

    I was wondering about this myself and was hoping someone would review it here. I have been enjoying the Loyalist PN and even though its about a 1.00 more then I like to pay for a GO wine I figure drink it while its available. Anyone here want to compare it to the JJ ?

        1. inthewinecountry

          Should try it. I forgot and left the cork out of the bottle overnight and next morning I saw it and put it in. That night my wife and I finished off the half bottle and it was still good, which tells me this wine has a few years of aging to do. I also picked up the Double J this weekend and tried it. Left a half bottle with gas on it and corked tried it the next day and it was good but prefer the Loyalist.

        2. seedboy

          I bought a bottle of the Loyalist and drank most of it last night. It is second label of Chamisal, it appears, which was formerly the Domaine Alfred winery. Good pinot vineyard. Good pinot fruit, suspiciously dark color, at first it seemed a bit flabby (to me, anyway) but as I got further into the bottle I found acidity that seemed to be pretty artificial. My impression of this wine is it seems rather manufactured (probably second label because they had to mess with it to make it seem an acceptable table wine). It is not worth its price and I won’t buy another.

          1. Darrell

            If I remember correctly, the JJ wasn’t produced and bottled by and I couldn’t connect with the link GOWL provided for more info so JJ could have found good, Carneros PN.

  4. Zoel

    Great review GOdude…I had a similar take on the Double J PN. Found it to be a good value, and nothing to fault. Well-made and solid if not exceptional…but I’m more of a Sonoma Coast PN guy myself. I’m aligned on the two thumbs, thanks for a great review.


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