“I oftentimes think about the position we are in as a family,” says Matthews Winery proprietor Bryan Otis. “What can we do that would really delight people?” 

The answer to that question is Jaine, a new project focusing exclusively on whites, rosés, and sparkling wines from Washington. The name comes from Otis’s grandmother, Mary Jane. 

“She was a cowgirl,” he explains. “She and [my grandfather] Jack had a cattle farm out in Othello. When we started thinking about white wine, we wanted an inspiration of someone who was classy but also very powerful. That was Jaine. She was a remarkable human being.” 

There is also a direct connection to Mary Jane and wine. In particular, sparkling wine.

“She loved Champagne,” Otis says. “L-O-V-E loved.” 

The Jaine wines are made in an unadulterated style. The grapes are all hand harvested, hand sorted, and then fermented and aged in stainless steel. 

“There’s absolutely no oak used,” Otis says. “They are meant to be very fresh, very pristine.” 

In addition to seeing no oak, the whites also have modest alcohol levels (below 13%), with the goal of complimenting food. This restaurant and food-centric approach also informs the label design, which is striking and modern. 

“It’s like Jane, very classy,” says Otis. “Our goal was to make something that by the glass at restaurants would really stand out.”

The first of the inaugural Jaine wines is a Sauvignon Blanc. Lemon pith and herb aromas are followed by generous, intense flavors with a lot of texture and a mouthwatering finish. It’s everything you could want from this variety (Jaine 2019 Sustainable Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $24, 92 points, Editor’s Choice). 

The Chardonnay meanwhile comes from 1991 plantings at esteemed Conner-Lee Vineyard. Aromas of cantaloupe and pear lead to a palate with all of the freshness the 2019 vintage brings (Jaine 2019 Sustainable Vineyards Chardonnay Columbia Valley $24, 90 points). 

The Chardonnay’s stainless steel upbringing runs against the grain of most offerings of this variety in Washington, but the differences run deeper. 

“It’s not in a Chardonnay bottle. It doesn’t look like Chardonnay. But if you try it, it has beautiful acid and is crisp Chardonnay,” says Otis. “This is what Chardonnay is like if you ferment it in stainless steel and bottle it right away.” 

The rosé meanwhile is made from Grenache and brings plentiful aromas and flavors of strawberry and cherry (Jaine 2019 Sustainable Vineyards Rosé Columbia Valley $24, 90 points). Jaine’s sparkling wine? Don’t worry. It’s coming. 

Beyond Otis and winemaker Aryn Morell, who is also responsible for the Matthews wines, the rest of the Jaine team is female, from the brand strategist to the marketing manager to the designer and photographer. 

“They are the ones driving this,” Otis says. “My role is really to get all the soup ingredients together.” 

Jaine will have a tasting room, appropriately named Jaine’s Cottage, in what was previously the DeLille Carriage House in Woodinville’s Hollywood Schoolhouse area. The tasting room had a soft opening this month and will begin taking appointments in February. 

In the end, Otis says that the goal of Jaine is as straightforward as its crisp, white labels. 

“Jaine is really a love letter to Washington wine. Give me something that is around my perfect day. My perfect grilled steak. My perfect brunch with rosé. My perfect grilled chicken Caesar salad. That is Jaine.”

Pictures courtesy of Matthews Winery.