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Flat front label of wine

Chateau St. Jean Belle Terre Chardonnay 2009

Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
  • RP89
14.4% ABV
  • RP90
  • RP91
  • WE90
  • RP91
  • RP93
  • RP91
  • WE90
  • RP93
  • RP90
  • WE90
  • RP90
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  • RP91
  • WS89
  • WS91
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14.4% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Very similar to the prior vintage, this popular medium-bodied Chardonnay opens with pleasing stone fruit, vanilla and floral spice aromas. On the palate, the wine is well-structured and perfectly-balanced. The 2008 vintage scored a 91 (The Wine Advocate) and this vintage should do just as well.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 89
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Chardonnay Belle Terre is a beautifully layered wine. Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren ages the Belle Terre in French oak barrels (55% new) and gives the wine full malolactic fermentation, both of which contribute to the wine’s multiple dimensions of fruit. This rich, creamy Chardonnay should be enjoyed over the next few years. It, too, delivers considerable quality for the money. The sumptuous, layered style works very well. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.
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Chateau St. Jean

Chateau St. Jean

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Chateau St. Jean, Sonoma County, California
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Founded in 1973 in the Sonoma Valley, Chateau St. Jean is the quintessential Sonoma winery. Chateau St. Jean produces an extensive portfolio of Sonoma County wines as well as vineyard designated wines, limited production Reserve wines, and the flagship Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren uses her more than 30 years of vineyard and winemaking expertise with Chateau St. Jean to continue the tradition of highlighting the best of each vineyard site to produce exceptional wines. Chateau St. Jean was the first Sonoma winery to be awarded the prestigious “Wine of the Year” award from Wine Spectator Magazine for its 1996 Cinq Cépages, a Bordeaux style blend of “five varieties” and has long been recognized as a leader in vineyard designated wines.

Sonoma County

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Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.

Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

RRM63441_2009 Item# 111845