Led by 31-year-old winemaking dynamo Victor Palencia, Jones of Washington produces a lot of wine, all at high quality.
ONE OF WASHINGTON’S brightest and rising young wineries is combining superb quality with great values.
Now many wineries are trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Jones of Washington, launched in 2002, is a moderately sized family-owned winery based in the arid and sparsely populated Grant County town of Mattawa, with tasting rooms in Quincy and Wenatchee.
Three to try
Jones of Washington 2014 chardonnay, Wahluke Slope, $15: Aromas of peach taffy and minerality give way to flavors of apple, pineapple and orange cream. A deft touch with the barrel program builds complexity without oakiness.
Jones of Washington 2011 barrel select red wine, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $30: This luscious red blend leads with cabernet sauvignon and provides aromas and flavors of red currant, dried cherry, black olive, chocolate and just a hint of cedar.
Jones of Washington 2014 sauvignon blanc, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $15: One of the best white wines I tasted last year is bright with notes of lemon grass, spearmint and Granny Smith apple. This is a perfect seafood wine.
Jones of Washington is led by young Victor Palencia, a 31-year-old winemaking dynamo who is proving over and over that when you control your grape-growing and winemaking, you can achieve greatness. Palencia was born in Mexico, grew up in the Yakima Valley and graduated from Walla Walla Community College. By the time he was 23, Jones had recognized his talent and brought him in as winemaker.
Jack Jones, who died in early 2015, was a maverick who began planting wine grapes on the remote Wahluke Slope in the 1990s and expanded into the somewhat cooler Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, selling his grapes to other producers.
He then teamed with fellow grape-grower Dick Shaw to create J&S Crushing, a custom winemaking facility in Mattawa that helps other wineries produce their wines. With Palencia at the helm, J&S Crushing now crafts in excess of 1 million cases of wine per year, of which about 10,000 are produced for Jones of Washington.
Regardless of what kind of wine you seek, it’s likely to be found in the Jones of Washington lineup — and at a nice price. Superb rieslings, chardonnays, sauvignon blancs and rosés are backed by cabs, merlots, syrahs and blends. In all, Palencia makes more than a dozen wines for Jones. Prices tend to range from $12 to $30, with the majority landing under $20.
And the thing is, these wines simply don’t miss. It’s uncanny. I will taste Jones of Washington wines multiple times throughout the year, and they typically stand out for their high quality.
Jones of Washington wines are not difficult to find, as the winery has solid distribution throughout the state. If you happen to be traveling to Wenatchee, check out the tasting room at the fantastic Pybus Public Market near the Columbia River.