Chardonnay. Originated in Burgundy, no one knows exact origin. There is a village in the Macon named Chardonnay, but it was probably named after the grape. Chardonnay is also known by the names Aubaine , Beaunois , Melon Blanc , and historically, Pinot Chardonnay .
1st brought to Cali by J.H. Drummond in 1880
When it arrived in Livermore Wente took chardonnay to the next level. In 1938 it was the 1st “pinot chardonnay” to receive acclaim.
1953 D Zellerbach planted Chardonnay in Hanzell Vineyards and fermented in small barrique barrels. He showed that a Burgundian style could be made in California. He inspired many winemakers to take on that style
In 1976 Mike Grgich with Chateau Montelena won the Paris tasting and surged it’s popularity
Chardonnay became the FAD, 1990 there was a total of 170,000 tons and in 1997 500,ooo tons were produced
The best Chardonnays are made of clones from cooler climates
There are about 1,000 producers of chardonnay the majority are clumsy, buttered toast and high alcohol
ACIDS & Fermentation
Acid is measured by pH levels. Distilled water is a pH 7. Anything lower indicates acid. California wine runs at about pH 3.0-3.5.
Addition of tartaric acid raises the pH levels
Problem in early California history was the formation of acetic acid which would make wine taste like vinegar. This was solved by adding sulfur dioxide.
There is a tendency for wine to take on a second fermentation where Malic acid turns into lactic acids. In the early days the process was not understood too well and many wines spoiled in the bottles.
Malo-lactic Fermentation: the addition of yeast to turn malic (tart) acids into lactic (soft) acids. Most popular in red wines to lower acid levels. In California became a trend to do with Chardonnay where it lowered the inherent fruit flavors of Chardonnay and create a more buttery and softer texture.
Cabernet Country but still make stellar Chardonnays
Some of the best Chardonnays: Chateau Montelena,Grgich Hills, Patz and Hall and Ramey
Characteristics: Appley, tropical, toasty vanilla tones, balanced acidity good depth
Some of the best Chardonnays come from Carneros, Russian River and Alexander valley
Cooler climate region which allows the Chardonnay to show it’s acidity
Some of the top producers are: Kistler, Rochioli, Hanzel and Landmark
Characteristics of citrus, apples, pears, muscat & bright acidity
Most common appellations for Chardonnay are Monterey, chalone, and Santa Maria
Cool climate and Limestone soils give Burgundy a run for it’s money
Top Producers: Morgan, Chalone vineyards, Mt. Eden, Byron, Talbot & Mer Soliel
Characteristics: Green apple, pears, citrus and toasty notesCalifornia
Hosted by English Wine merchant, Steven Spurrier, to show the superiority of French wine.
A jury of 9 French renounced wine tasters conducted a blind tasting.
1 United States - Chateau Montelena 1973
2 France - Meursault Charmes Roulot 1973
3 United States - Chalone Vineyard 1974
4 United States - Spring Mountain Vineyard 1973
6 United States - Freemark Abbey Winery 1972
5 France - Beaune Clos des Mouches Joseph Drouhin 1973
7 France - Batard-Montrachet Ramonet-Prudhon 1973
8 France - Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Domaine Leflaive 1972
9 United States - Veedercrest Vineyards 1972
10United States - David Bruce Winery 1973
Contest was said to be rigged so that French would win, however results showed California ahead
It was a monumental event, which showed that the French were not the only ones capable of producing great wines
The Great Chardonnay Showdown, held in the spring of 1980, was organized by the wine columnist for the Chicago Tribune newspaper with help from three Chicago wine stores.
A total of 221 Chardonnays from around the world were selected for the blind wine competition.
The winning wine was the Grigch Hills Sonoma County Chardonnay 1977, which was the new winery's very first vintage. It was declared the best Chardonnay in the world.
Argyle Williamatte Valley '04
Chateau Ste. Michelle "Indian Wells" Columbia Valley WA '05
Gold South Australia '06
Wolf Blass"Gold Label" Adelaide Hills, AU '04
Cloudy Bay Marlborough New Zealand '05
Chablis Domaine Louis Moreau Burgundy '04
Chassange-Montrachet Ramanet Burgundy '03
Mersault-Blagny Louis Latour Burgundy '02/'03
Pouilly-Fuisse Louis Latour Burgundy '04
Puligny-Montrachet Louis Latour "Folatiers 1er cru" Burgundy '03
Bernardus Monterey '04
Carpe Diem "Firepeak" Edna Valley '04
Edna Valley Paragon Vineyard Monterey '05
Fallbrook "Sleepy Hollow" Monterey '03
Mer Soliel Monterey '04
Morgan "Highland" Monterey '05
Sanford Santa Rita Hills '03
Summerland Santa Barbara '05
Taz Santa Barbara '05
Villa Mt Eden "Grand Reserve" Santa Maria '05
Acacia Carneros '05
Beringer Private Reserve Napa '04
David Arthur Reserve Napa '99
Far Niente Napa '03/04
Franciscan Cuvee Sauvage Napa '04
Grgich Hills Napa '03
Groth Vineyards Napa '05
Jarvis Unfiltered Napa '04
Newton Unfiltered Napa '04
Patz and Hall "Hyde Vineyard" Carneros/Napa '04
Ramey "Hyde Vineyard" Carneros/Napa '04
Stags' Leap Napa '05
ZD California '05
Bannister Rochioli-Allen Russian River '03
Belvedere Russian River '04
Chalk Hill Estate Sonoma ’03
Chateau Souverain Alexander Valley '05
Chateau St Jean "Robert Young" Alexander Valley '04
Clos Du Bois Reserve Russian River '04
Domaine Chandon Carneros '04
Dunah "Tre Cuvee" Sonoma Coast '03
Ferrari Carano Alexander Valley '04
Jordan Sonoma '04
Kistler "les Noisetiers" Russian River '04
Rochiloli Russian River '05
Rodney Strong "Chalk Hill" Sonoma '04
Simi Reserve Russian River '03
Stulhmuler Alexander Valley '04Our Chardonnays by Appellation