Schweiger Vineyards Chardonnay 2007
Situated at an elevation of 2,000 feet with rich volcanic soil and a unique microclimate, the Schweiger family realized the potential for successful wine production. The laboring process to clear the heavily forested property began in 1979.
During the two years of clearing, old redwood hand-split stakes were discovered spaced a meter by a meter, reaffirming the stories that the area was once a prime viticultural area in the 1880's. With a "hands on" approach, the Schweiger family laid out and planted the 34 acres of Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon in 1981.
Schweiger Vineyards was successful from the beginning with the first harvest in 1984 bringing great demand for grape contracts from Cafaro Cellars, Stags' Leap Winery, ZD, and other highly esteemed wineries. In 1994, Schweiger Vineyards received its bonded winery permit and kicked off their first release of Chardonnay in the fall of 1995. This was followed a year later with the release of the 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Schweiger Vineyards is a family operation, with each family member contributing different areas of expertise in the winemaking process. The family prides itself on growing, producing, and bottling their handmade estate wine with extreme measures of care.
Above the town of St. Helena on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains sits the Spring Mountain District.
A dynamic region, its vineyards, cut by numerous springs and streams, vary in elevation, slope and aspect. Soils differ throughout with over 20 distinct types inside of the 8,600 acres that define the appellation. Within that area, only about 1,000 are planted to vineyards. Predominantly farmed by small, independent producers, the region currently has just over 30 wineries.
During the growing season, late afternoon Pacific Ocean breezes reach the Spring Mountain vineyards, which sit at between 400 and 1,200 feet. Daytime temperatures during mid summer and early fall remain slightly cooler than those of the valley floor.
Spring Mountain soils—volcanic matter and sedimentary rock—create intense but balanced reds with lush and delicate tannins. The area excels with Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and in some cooler spots, Chardonnay.
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.
Tasting Notes for Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a dry, white wine. When Chardonnay grapes are planted on cool sites, the resulting wine's 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.
Perfect Food Pairings for Chardonnay
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.
Sommelier Secrets for Chardonnay
Since the 1980s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy this lighter style.