Jesse Katz had a childhood we dream about- traveling with his photographer- father, Andy Katz, around the world. The senior Katz has photographed beautiful vineyards for a dozen coffee table books, as well as album covers for high-profile musicians like the Doobie Brothers and Dan Fogelberg.
Inspired growing up around great wines, Katz traded a degree in business for one in oenology. He is now winemaker and co-owner with his father at Aperture Cellars in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. The in-demand wines are Bordeaux-style blends that evoke timeless elegance. Katz produces a critically acclaimed 100 percent Malbec wine at Devil Proof Vineyards, drawing upon his time working with the varietal in Argentina. Its been referred to as a “cult wine.”
Katz’s winemaking pedigree is impressive and includes hands-on experience working at Petrus in Bordeaux, Bodega Noemia and Paul Hobbs’ Viña Cobos in Argentina, and Screaming Eagle, Robert Foley Winery and Lancaster Estate where he orchestrated the building of the new Roth winery, production facility and tasting room. Under his watch, the Roth lined underwent 800 percent growth. Not bad!
Still in his 30s, Katz has 17 harvests under his belt and a few notable accolades, including Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40, Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 and Wine Spectator Rising Star. His pals Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel asked him to create a special wine for their wedding. Imagine what the future will bring.
Both of the two wines we tasted feature Andy Katz’s photography on the label. It’s art on the inside and out of the bottle.
Aperture Cellars Red Blend 2016 (62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 11% Malbec and 7% Cabernet Franc) aged 20 months in 50% new oak. An elegant, balanced wine with complex and deep flavors. These days the term “red blend” can refer to some pretty jammy-style red wines. Not here. This wine is solid sophistication and not liquid candy, but it is a real treat at $50.
Aperture Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot grown in volcanic soils) ages 20 months in 50% new French oak. This wine’s softer tannins and rich fruit deliver ballet slippers rather than a tar heel kick on the palate. $70
We did not have the chance to taste the wine from Devil Proof Vineyard. It’s limited release and high demand means it you may want to consider joining their wine club and getting on the mailing list.
“Our friend Jesse Katz is one of our favorite winemakers. His new projects prove yet again that he makes the most delicious cult wines in the industry. His wine has been a part of our cellar and enjoyed on countless occasions.”
— Jessica Biel & Justin Timberlake