Judy Jordan, daughter of Tom and Sally Jordan, owners of the well-known Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Alexander Valley, could have stayed in the family business, but elected to start her own winery in 1986. While Jordan concentrates on cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, Judy’s idea was to stay in Sonoma County but focus on the Russian River Valley and its potential for pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling wine. This vision succeeded admirably; while I have not tasted the full range of pinot noirs, certainly the J vintage Brut is one of California’s best sparkling wines. J’s winemaker is George Bursick.

It would be easy to assert that J’s venture into pinot gris is a side issue, except that it’s such an appealing rendition. The J Pinot Gris 2009, with a California designation, draws upon grapes from Russian River Valley (43%), Clarksburg, in the Sacramento Delta (50%) and Monterey County (7%). Made completely in stainless steel, the wine offers hints of apple and apple skin, baked pear and tangerine with undertones of almond and almond blossom. In the mouth, the fruit aims more toward the citrus direction. with slightly spicy, slightly creamy lemon and lime highlighted by crisp, tingling acidity and a touch of earthy limestone. A model of delicacy and decorum, lightly yet inextricably woven, and incredibly attractive, 14.3 percent alcohol. Drink through 2011 as aperitif or with light snacks and appetizers. Excellent. About $20.

A sample for review.