Modern day Chardonnay is a combination of two grapes: an almost extinct grape called Gouais Blanc, and a member of the Pinot family of grapes. The Romans' penchant for travel was, more than likely, responsible for bringing the Croatian Gouais Blanc grape to France.
According to Dr. Carole Meredith of UC Davis in California, "…there was a crosspollination between a Pinot vine and a Gouais Blanc vine and, from the seed that developed, a single seedling sprung up in a vineyard somewhere. A farmer took a liking to it and multiplied it by cuttings."
It is thought that monks spread Chardonnay throughout France. In fact, it is through the Cistercian monks that we find the earliest reference to Chardonnay. In 1330, the monks wrote of building stone walls around their vineyard planted exclusively to Chardonnay grapes. While it is also thought that Chardonnay may have originated in Lebanon, there are no recorded references to the grape in that area until much later.
In the modern day Russian River Valley, Chardonnay flourishes. It is the most widely planted grape varietal in these appellations (although Pinot Noir is gaining ground). The cool climate, with the presence of fog during the growing season, makes the area eminently well suited to producing rich, complex, well structured Chardonnays.
Fall 2013 - Coming soon!
- 2011 Hawk Hill Vineyard Chardonnay
- 2011 Allen Vineyard Chardonnay
- 2011 Drake Estate Chardonnay