Joyce Vineyards: Chateau Christina

A chance discovery in the Monterey tasting room in Salinas, led me back to the Frank Joyce’s home and vineyard in the Carmel Valley, where I enjoyed some of the best wines I tasted during my two week tour of California.

2005 Estate Pinot Noir, Joyce Family Vineyard, Carmel Valley, Chateau Christina, 14.8%
There are very deep rich red fruits – raspberries and cherries – on the nose.  Very rounded on the palate with a nice elegance.  Lovely elegance and a perfumed palate.  Very focussed.  Very Good Indeed.  90/100

2002 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Russell Vineyard, Carmel Valley, Chateau Christina, 13.8%
This has a really concentrated nose, initially with lots of cassis; then it develops lots of layers of interesting fruit and foliage notes – some bilberries, some mint, yet it’s very gentle too.  Really quite a fascinating nose.  It’s really good in the mouth too: initially the cabernet fruit is to the fore, but then it develops and fills out with lots of layers of interest.  This really is exceptionally good.  It’s very balanced and elegant.  A superb wine with lots of superb fruit character, but no heat at all.  Outstanding.  98/100

2003 Merlot, Michael’s Vineyard, Carmel Valley, Chateau Christina
From Pomerol clones, this is a 100% merlot.  The nose is supremely elegant and Pomerol-like, with gentle, plummy black fruit.  Really elegant on the palate with super balance.  It has good structure and is long and lingering in the mouth, with a touch of oak on the finish.  Excellent.  95/100

2004 Merlot, Francis Vineyard, Carmel Valley, Chateau Christina, 14.3%
This has around 12% cabernet sauvignon alongside the merlot.  It has a much more obvious nose than the Michael’s Vineyard, and is more obviously plummy with some chocolate notes.  Rich and full on the palate, this is a very nice wine in a very attractive, pleasing style.  It has a much riper, richer, fuller feel than the 2003 Michael’s merlot.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.  89/100

2005 Pinot Noir, Franscioni Vineyard, Chateau Christina, 14.5%
This is very restrained on the nose, with lots of red, cherry fruit, together with a bit of cedar.  On the nose, it’s really got an air of Chianti about it.  Soft and gentle on the palate, but with an attractive fruity sweetness.  Very attractive.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.  89/100


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Last updated: 4 January 2008