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

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

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Today’s Podcast Part Three(Current Week), Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot tasting with Winemaster Randy Ullom and WineGuyMike;

Part Two, Vintners Reserve Chardonnay and Riesling tasting with Randy and WineGuyMike;

Part One Avant Chardonnay

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines;

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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 loved farming, this began for him as a child on his Grandfathers ranch in Colorado where he realized that a handful of dirt had a deep meaning for him.  This was especially true in Sonoma County, Jess’ favorite place in the world.  His intimate relationship with the land that he loved and grew grapes provided him a sixth sense for the terroir, or sense of place of this area. 

As a grape farmer Jess was one of the first to recognize and understand that vines are like mountain goats, in that they thrive on mountain tops, ridges, hillsides and benchlands.  This farming method is difficult but Jess knew growing grapes this way would produce the richest fruit exhibiting intense character and flavor. 

This week’s show wraps up a one month series on the WineGuymike radio show with Jackson family Wines and Kendall-Jackson.  The first week we had a conversation with, VP of Communications Jason Hunke, and he provided the audience with a rich overview of Jackson Family wines and Kendall-Jackson.

The last three weeks I have tasted a variety of wines from the Kendall-Jackson portfolio with KJ Winemaster Randy Ullom.  This week I welcomed Randy back for what is our last tasting and the grand finale of this one month series. During this month I have had the distinct privilege to become intimately acquainted with Kendall-Jackson and Jackson Family Wines.

This week Randy and I tasted two beautiful wines from the KJ portfolio, the Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Grand Reserve Merlot.  Kendall-Jackson has always been dedicated to three things: respect for the land, their wines and the best interests of the consumer.  Both of the Grand Reserve wines Randy and I tasted this week exemplify the three key points that Jess Jackson founded the Kendall-Jackson winery on.

Both the Cabernet and Merlot were perfect examples of just how different wines grown and produced in Sonoma and the Napa Valley are.  As I was thinking of a comparison that someone could relate to it occurred to me that the difference really was about mouthfeel.  Comparing wines from Sonoma and Napa is like wearing silk or corduroy; they are both soft and comfortable yet have a very different texture.  This holds true of the palate, Sonoma wines are full of finesse and elegance while wines from Napa are weightier, bolder, and present the palate with prominent texture.

Both appellations are outstanding, just different.  The Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve wines Randy and I taste today are both fantastic examples of premier wine from Sonoma County.  

Winemaster Randy Ullom  oversees the entire Kendall-Jackson portfolio of wines while and Winemaker Matt Smith is responsible for the Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and the Meritage or red blends.

The KJ Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a mountain Cab that is sourced primarily from the Estate vineyards in Sonoma County, the majority of which are grown at over 1100 feet.

All the wines that go into the Kendall-Jackson Bordeaux portfolio are treated with care and attention to detail; however, with Grand Reserve level fruit, they employ additional artisan techniques like hand sorting, small-batch fermentation and additional cold-soaking to coax the finest expression out of our fruit.

The wines are selected based on the potential they showed in the vineyard and during the final stages before draining off the skins. The wines are barrel-aged in French oak, usually seeing 35-40% new oak.  When the final selections are made the wines from each individual barrel are tasted to make sure it belongs in the blend. The result are fabulous Grand Reserve wines.

The Grand Reserve Cabernet has dense, bold tannins and ripe blackberry, blueberry, black cherry fruit and a hint of cassis.  On the nose the aroma of mocha and nutmeg adorns your glass. The finish is earthy with smoke, cedar, and notes of tobacco, a very nice touch that stays with the palate.

This wine is elegant and focused, typical of great KJ Sonoma County Cabernet.  The fruit from Sonoma County mountain, ridge and hillsides presents black plum, cherry, currant and chocolate flavors while fruit from the Napa County mountain and benchland vineyards complement the palate with boysenberry, cedar and violet notes.

The Grand Reserve Merlot is rich with dark fruits of black plum, boysenberry and cherry.  The nose of this wine is beautifully subtle with notes of violet and rich dark fruit.  Silky tannins and nice firm structure greet your palate and the great balance of this wine makes it a superb food friendly wine. The palate delivers dark plum and berries followed with nice cherry.  The finish is an ever so subtle chocolate and cedar followed with a sense of light cleansing mineral, a real delight.

It has been my sincere pleasure to host Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson this past month.  I would like to personally thank VP of Communications Jason Hunke, and Winemaster Randy Ullom for taking time to join the WineGuyMike audience and share Kendall-Jackson and their wines with with us.  Please take the opportunity to taste this wonderful portfolio of KJ wines, they are sure to please.

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

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at;

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 the Kendall-Jackson wines I have selected for you.  Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

"from my table to yours"


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