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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 incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.
Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.
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.
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.
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.