Nearly forty years since its first Chardonnay was produced, Chalone Vineyard is still considered the benchmark for California Chardonnay. Accompanied by stone fruit and lush ripe pear, the wines mineral flavors are derived from its distinctive limestone soils that is Chalones unique signature. The mineral component serves as the thread that binds the wine together, resulting in an ageless, as well as highly ageable, wine.
The Chalone Estate Vineyard is one of the most remarkable winery properties in California, and the sole winery within the Chalone AVA. The vineyard was planted in 1919, with the production under the Chalone Vineyard brand beginning in 1960.
Chalone wines speak to the unique terroir of this wild, isolated and high-elevation mountain plateau in Monterey County, located adjacent to the Pinnacles National Monument. The wines reflect a unique character that is attributed to the area’s granitic and limestone soils as well as the large daily diurnal shifts, ultimately resulting in wines with distinct minerality and balance between ripe fruit character and bright acidity.
California’s most praised white wine, Chardonnay is also the state’s most planted white grape variety. Diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredible range of wine styles.
Chardonnay planted in the cooler, coastal zones takes on bright characteristics like lemon zest, key lime, green apple and wet flint. For this style, look to the chilly Sonoma Coast, Carneros, Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Lucia Highlands and Edna Valley.
The inland zones of California’s coast, such as the Russian River, Sonoma, Napa and Livermore Valleys maintain a more Goldilocks-esque climate where both styles go. Early picking retains acidity and creates a leaner style but leaving the grapes to hang creates an approachable Chardonnay, balancing richness and finesse.