Following in His Parents' Footsteps

Mar 27, 2007

John Anthony isn’t using his last name on his wine label for obvious reasons: Truchard is already taken by Jo Ann and Tony, his parents, for their vineyard and winery in Carneros.

Truth is, John, 34, is intent on making his name and reputation without trading off of theirs, which is already well-known to many wine drinkers. And he's off to a great start: Of the six wines I’ve reviewed under the John Anthony label, five have earned outstanding marks, and only one—a late-harvest 2005 Sauvignon Blanc—failed to excite me.

“I think my dad is pretty excited about what we’re doing,” says John, adding that his mother is thrilled by her son's wines and accomplishments.

Born in 1972, two years before his parents started their vineyard, John has long been interested in farming and wine. For years he worked closely with his father, a fastidious farmer who owns several hundred acres in Carneros. Tony and Jo Ann not only make wine, they also sell grapes to many Napa wineries.

John and his wife, Michelle, started a vineyard management company, Vinewerkes, 10 years ago. Since then, they've developed and worked with a group of vineyards to supply their grapes. The young couple, who live next door to John’s parents, has succeeded with two excellent vintages of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (2003 and 2004, both $55 and 92 points) and Napa Valley Syrah (2003 and 2004, 92 and 91 points, and $35 and $45, respectively).

Both wines have pure varietal character. The fruit is rich, focused and concentrated in the Cabernet, yet supple in texture, making it enjoyable to drink now. In 2004, 1,112 cases were made. The Syrahs have classy pepper and wild berry flavors and a smooth mouthfeel. They too drink well now, and 194 cases were produced in 2004.

I also thought the 2005 Carneros Sauvignon Blanc Church Vineyard (90 points, $19, 1,200 cases) was wonderful—tight, fresh, flinty and concentrated.

The goal is to increase production to 6,000 to 8,000 cases a year. You can order their wine at www.javwine.com.

United States California

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