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Peirano Estate Chardonnay 1999
My mission is to make the best wine to ever come out of the Lodi Appellation.
My great grandfather, Giacomo Peirano, arrived in San Francisco in 1879 from his home in Genoa, Italy. By 1881, he started farming in Lodi, and year by year he steadily gained a place for himself pioneering vineyard and orchard development. Planted in the early 1880's, Peirano Estates was one of the first vineyards in Lodi. Located in the very heart of the Lodi Appellation (granted in 1986), Peirano Estate Vineyards grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and has perhaps the largest single block of old, head-trained, natural-rooted Zinfandel left in the state of California.
Nestled between the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Lodi has an ideal Mediterranean climate with deep, rich, sandy-loam soils and abundant, quality water. These factors combine to make Lodi a major producer of quality wine grapes.
Beginning with the hard work and inspiration of Giacomo Peirano, five generations have grown and harvested grapes from our vineyard for over 100 consecutive years. Knowing that great wines must begin with the greatest grapes, it has always been our belief that wine should reflect the character of the fruit and the land. We also know that in the past Lodi has been associated more with quantity than quality.
With that in mind, we have strived to carry our five generations of commitment to the land through to our wines. Rather than destroy these beautiful old Zinfandel vines to make way for larger-yielding, more economically advantageous vines, we have decided to harvest the meager two tons per acre production. It is our goal to produce wines of bold varietal character with this fruit, vintage after vintage.
At Peirano Estate Vineyards we make wines that we enjoy. We hope that you, too, will find pleasure in our wine. It is our commitment to deliver that enjoyment at fair prices.
Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredible range of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from tiny, family-owned boutiques to massive corporations, and price and production are equally varied. Plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Valley area, while Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.
Each American Viticultural Area (AVA) and sub-AVA of has its own distinct personality, allowing California to produce wine of every fashion: from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate vineyard acreage. Sonoma County is best known for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône Blends blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with cool climate varieties such as Pinot noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, any wine lover will find something to get excited about here.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
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. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.