Las Jaras is the labour of love between California winemaker Joel Burt and cult-comedian, author, food-writer and gourmand Eric Warheim (of Master of None and Tim & Eric fame). While the gaze has been drawn to the wines largely due to Eric’s hijinks and off-beat comedy stylings, this is a serious wine project that shapeshifts each year with new cuvées offset by an approachable core range. We’ve been keenly following the project and suitcase smuggling the wines for years, but have the rare treat of, now, a second allocation making it onto our shelves. Thank you, yes. 


The gist of the wine project is to produce Californian wines that Joel and Eric like drinking. They’re typically ‘on the cleaner side of natural wine’, as they suggest, with their changing tastes in wine reflected in each new release. Dynamic, fun, cool is the idea. That they’re really well made, from organic fruit sources, is an bonus and delight. 


The first wine released was Sweet Berry Wine (2015) and we roll into 2019 vintage with this offer. It’s a combo of older vine carignan, zinfandel and charbono (bonarda) styled around old-school Cali reds. The result in the glass is a mellow, fuller figured red with svelte tannins and a come-hither succulence. It’s also the flagship wine of the Las Jaras stable. 


Alongside, we’re jazzed on the pink wine duo of 2020 Old Vine Rosé and 2020 Rosato. The former is mostly zinfandel so has a bit of heft and extra bandwidth in aromas and texture, while the Rosato is all crunch and sizzle of bright red berries laced with an almost vermouth-like herbal inflection. The good times roll, and a back-to-back comparison is a pretty fun way to get stuck into them. 


The 2020 Superbloom, found in just about every hip bodega, wine bar, steakhouse and juke joint in the US of A, is an homage to California ‘Table Wine’ – a few pay grades up from rosé, a chillable, bright and vivacious red of wild drinkability and charisma. It’s a zero-zero wine, so no SO2 gets waved around the ferment. 


Named for Joel’s daughter, the 2020 Cézanne Chenin Blanc is scintillating with its minerally charm, all saline and briny, but finds added dimensions in hazelnut savouriness and green apple tang. Delicious, medium weight and textural as an experience. Rounding out this offering is the inimitable fizz of the plainly named 2019 Sparkling Wine. It’s near amber coloured, offers bright lime and red apple primary fruit characters while threading through more complex layers of hazelnut, brioche and ginger. A good time indeed.

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