Chardonnay Estate Reserve
Chalone vineyards is located in the remote area of the Gavilan Mountain to the east of the Salinas Valley in Monterey County. Dick Graff fell in love with the beauty and isolation of the land in the 1960s but his main reasons for choosing this site were the soil and the climate, the ³terroir². The original vineyard was planted in 1919 by a Frenchman looking for a site that resembled the soil in his native country. There were additional plantings in 1946 and the first commercial wines were produced by Philip Togni in 1960.
The hills where the vines are planted and the winery now stands exist in an extremely dry climate and the sparse, shallow soil is marbled with limestone and is poor in organic content. Temperatures can vary up to 60 degrees in one day; summer months ranging from 40 degrees at night to 110 degrees at mid-day with as little as 7 inches of rainfall in a calendar year. However, these adverse farming conditions produce fruit characterized by intense, concentrated flavors and in turn, wines of extraordinary depth, flavor and varietal characteristics, with layers of complexity that express themselves more fully the more mature they become. At Chalone, wine is perceived as coming from the vineyards and the function of the winemaker is to help the grapes to achieve their maximum potential.
Wine making tecniques are based on traditional Burgundian methods and have been adapted , through careful experimentation, to the climate and soil conditions unique to the Chalone appellation, All of the white wines are fermented in French oak barrels in underground cellars and the Pinot Noir is aged in the same French oak for 14-16 months.
The 1990 Reserve Chardonnay is a medium yellow gold color with brilliant clarity. The 1990 vintage is likely the best vintage in decade for Chalone. This wine has an enticing bouquet of jasmine, honeysuckle, orange blossoms, and yellow apples. Inviting flavors of tasted coconut, apple custard, apricot and vanilla are accentuated by its viscosity and a soft supple texture. It is an elegant wine that is enjoyable now and will continue its development in the bottle, rewarding the patient cellarkeeper. We recommend enjoying this wine from 1995 until the turn of the century and quite possibly beyond. A limited production wine with less than 250 cases produced.
Michael Michael, Winemaker
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Last revised 3/29/97