Our selection came to be named after J.J. Black, a man of legends in the town of Zamora, just east of Napa, in the late 1800s. He owned a hotel, two stores, a jail, blacksmith shop, and town hall, and we're sure he would have been a member of the Wine of the Month Club if we were around now.
The wine is made by our good friends at Matchbook, whose Chardonnay vineyard is just a few miles from Zamora. They figured naming it after a local legend wasn't a bad idea, and we agree. Matchbook is owned by the Giguiere family who "retired" from the wine business in 2000 when they sold their highly successful brand, R.H. Phillips.
That retirement lasted all of five years before they were back at it with Matchbook. It seems a similar story has been told many times over. The difference is that the Giguieres know how to run a successful wine operation. They put out a product that most people think is worth more than they are charging for it. It sure sounds simple, and yet it eludes a lot of wineries.
Their approach is to not make another Chardonnay which clings to oak at the expense of the fruit. Their version is a subtle, elegant style, featuring the flavors of the grape expanded upon by the treatment. The result is a lovely offering with peach, apple, and pear notes supported by touches of spice and vanilla. A classic match with shrimp scampi finished with tequila and lime or a shrimp taco.