Steve Edmunds brings a musician’s sensitivity and a wine-buyers palate (both of these jobs he has had) to his production of primarily, Rhône-style wines. As one of the early Californian interpreters of the Rhône dating to the 80s, he took an independent route, not succumbing to high alcohol, extractive styles. He also found that the wine he sought eschewed new oak, or much oak aging at all. His wife, Cornelia St. John provides business sense and conviviality when promoting the ESJ wines to the public.
Grapes are bought from high elevation vineyards (1,700-3400 ft.). Edmunds has a decades-long relationship with Ron Mansfield who farms the primary source for the grapes in El Dorado county. Ann Kraemer farms Shake Ridge Ranch in Amador. She uses all organic products in her regimen including predatory wasps and owl boxes. This is the source of the Grenache, Tempranillo, Mourvèdre and Graciano for El Jaleo.
The El Jaleo 2016 is a unique blend showing strawberry, plum and violet on the nose with a palate of dessicated fruits and a touch of licorice. ESJ wines show lively acids and good concentration. The Heart of Gold 2017 is a blend of Vermentino and Grenache Blanc, at 11.1 alcohol with a lifted floral and peach nose and almond pal- ate. The Bone Jolly Gamay 2017 has a fresh floral nose and berry fruit palate broadened by light tannins. The Bone Jolly Gamay Noir Rosé 2017 (Everyday wine) show rich aromas of orchard and berry fruit that continue on the palate. Both wines possess a distinct mineral influence. Happily, all of the wines come in at $30 or less making them deals in the extreme. Sadly, they may be difficult to find.