This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Tasting Wine Part Two with Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom

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Today’s Podcast; Part Two(Current Week), Vintners Reserve Chardonnay and Riesling tasting with Randy and WineGuyMike;

Part One Avant Chardonnay

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Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at

Sleep City Missoula

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Jess Jackson grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the Great Depression and worked as a policeman, farmer, and even became an attorney whose focus was on land-use.  In 1974 he purchased an 80-acre pear and walnut farm, and so began the Kendall-Jackson Winery.  It was Jess’ desire to get back to the land and farming so that he could move away from practicing law. He also knew that agriculture was a better way of life for his family.

By the early 1980’s the orchard had been converted into a winery and the vineyard was producing grapes that were being sold to supply other wineries. In 1980 there was a bumper crop that resulted in a large order for grapes that was cancelled, which became the first vintage of Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve. 

Every entrepreneur experiences a defining moment and for Jess Jackson and the winery this was that moment, as the 1982 vintage of Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay became America’s favorite Chardonnay. The 1983 vintage was recognized by winning the first Double Platinum Award ever presented by the American Wine Competition, and has received yearly accolades ever since.

This week on the WineGuyMike radio show I was joined once again by Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom for our second week of tasting. The crown jewel of Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson is the Vintners Reserve Chardonnay, after all this is where it all began.  Last week we tasted the Avant Chardonnay which was excellent, refreshing, and a style favored today by many Chardonnay lovers.  Randy and I sat down and tasted the Vintners Reserve Riesling and Chardonnay this week on the show.

For those of you just tuning in this week Randy Ullom is Winemaster for Kendall-Jackson.  Randy has been with Kendall-Jackson since 1992 as a winemaker, in 1997 he was made head Winemaster by Jess Jackson.  His job is to oversee the entire KJ wine portfolio, a job he does very well.

My take away after tasting wine with Randy last week was the fact that the Kendall-Jackson wines are made with finesse, the wines are elegant, and the wines are always consistent.  I found this to be true once again this week as we tasted the Vintners Reserve Riesling and Chardonnay.  The Avant Chardonnay was outstanding and here is a recap of what my experience was with this new style of Chardonnay from KJ.   

The Avant has only a slight nuance of oak, the fruit is bright on the nose and the palate.  What I found intriguing about this wine is that on the palate it was both light and rich in fruit.  This wine has a perfect balance of fruit and acid, featuring mild tropical fruit of pineapple, tart apple, and my favorite Meyer lemon, the K-J Avant will pair nicely with shellfish, or any white variety of fish.  The K-J Avant really comes to life on the mid-palate as it is crisp, and delivers light fruit and acid.  The finish is delightfully crisp with subtle tropical fruit that lingers long, this is a very nice wine.

The Vintners Reserve Chardonnay has long been known as America’s Chardonnay after being recognized by winning the first Double Platinum Award ever presented by the American Wine Competition.

The Vintners Reserve Chardonnay has been the best selling Chardonnay in America for the last 20 years running, that’s a pretty strong indication from consumers how they feel about this wine that Randy and I tasted this week.

The KJ Chardonnay has beautiful golden color in the glass with visually perfect viscosity.  On the nose you are greeted with layers of crisp tropical fruits from the cool coastal vineyards, all from the Jackson Estate vineyards.  Chardonnay lovers will enjoy citrus and tropical pineapple, mango, and papaya complemented by a supporting role of perfect toastiness and slight vanilla.  The Chardonnay has velvety texture with a creamy flavor on the palate.  This wine is superb and is extremely food friendly due to the perfect fruit to acid balance.  The finish is lush and long, you must have another sip…    

The Vintners Reserve Riesling is crisp, refreshing, lush, and ripe.  Subtlety sweet and delightfully crisp with acidity this wine cleanses the palate with each and every sip.  Both floral and fruity with a hint of orange blossom and jasmine from the ever so slight supporting role of the Gewurztraminer, and don’t miss the hint of spice.  

This is a great Riesling that is nearly dry, very refreshing with study balance.  Beautiful aromatics and lush on the palate.  Rieslings pair well with spicy or Asian dishes but today I’m pairing this with a very simple dish that is a perennial favorite of mine.  The main entre is slightly salty and that is why this wine is a perfect accompaniment to this dish.

Double Stuffed Chops

Two double cut pork chops

Stove top stuffing

Preparation; preheat oven to 325°

Slice chops down the center on the meat side to open a pocket for stuffing.

Prepare stove top stuffing and insert into each of the pork chops, be generous.

Salt and pepper chops and lay in shallow baking dish and place on center rack of oven and cook for an 1 hour 15 minutes to 1:30.

Side Dishes

Brocoli steamed until done but still crisp. Melt a little butter and the juice of a slice of lemon. Pour over broccoli and serve on the plate with the chop.

Applesauce as your second side dish.

This is a perfect easy and inexpensive meal, take a bite of the chop followed by a sip of the Vintners Reserve Riesling and the rest is palatial history.  This is a perfect pairing Kendall-Jackson style.

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features the wines I have tasted today.  Be sure to stop by the very best of beverage and see my Kendall-Jackson wines I have selected for you.  Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

Join me next week for my last show in this series with Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom as we taste the KJ Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. To learn more about the Kendall-Jackson wine portfolio visit Until then, I’ll see you on the radio.  Salute.

To learn more about Jess Jackson and the history of Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson you can visit

Be sure not to miss next week’s show as WineMaster Randy Ullom will be sharing more of the Kendall-Jackson wines on the WineGuyMike radio show.  Sunday, March 25th at 10:00 AM  MST. 

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM at;  Extended show podcasts are available following each week’s show on my blog at;

"from my table to yours"


2 thoughts on “This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Tasting Wine Part Two with Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom

    • Sue,

      This next week I’m tasting the Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with Winemaster Randy Ullom. Kendall-Jackson wines are always consistent, and elegant. I have all of the wines that Randy and I tasted featured at Liquid Planet. Salute Sue.


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