Chardonnay: Articles on the Chardonnay White Wine Grape Varietal

Wildcat Mountain: Carneros' and Sonoma's Coolest Vineyard

When veteran winemaker Steve MacRostie went looking for a new vineyard to plant his chardonnay, pinot noir and syrah he discovered Wildcat Mountain in the Carneros/Sonoma region.  "I felt Wildcat would push the envelope, something untried.  The cooler climates, the stressful site, the thinner soils; this is not a safe place to set up a farming operation.  In a business sense it was probably rather stupid," he said plainly.

Tandem Wines' Greg La Follette on Terroir, Points, and Pinot Noir

Greg La Follette is one of the most revered winemakers in Sonoma County, if not the entire wine industry. His wines at both Flowers and his own label, Tandem Wines, have earned numerous accolades. In person, however, his prominence seems more like water under the bridge. Strikingly unpretentious and engaging, Greg La Follette shows far more interest in what you think about his wines today than he does about how they score or what critics say. IntoWine had the good fortune of chatting with Greg recently about winemaking, terroir, and the blessed curse of wine scoring systems.

Freeman Winery: A Tail of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Hurricane Gloria

It's almost like a Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film. A young man meets the woman of his dreams after his sailboat is chased ashore by a hurricane. Marriage and career success ensue and years later the happy couple end up running a Sonoma winery that just so happens to produce some of the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in all of California. Yes, Ken Freeman's life story may indeed be one of which movies are made. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Ken Freeman about his eponymous winery, Freeman Vineyard and Winery, as well as his unique path to becoming a revered wine maker.

From Chardonnay to Pinot Noir: Brice Cutrer Jones Discusses the Evolution of a Winemaker

Brice Cutrer Jones is virtually synonymous with California Chardonnay (Hint: Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay).

Jessup Cellars

The Vibe: 

Just up the street from the French Laundry, in the quaint Napa town of Yountville, Jessup Cellars sits in a modest strip. The winery’s namesake, Mark Jessup, spent years as a winemaker for Robert Mondavi, and was the first winemaker of Opus One. Today, you can try his own Bordeaux blend (Table for Four), zinfandel, merlot and chardonnay in a cozy venue. In addition to his wines, gourmet olive oil and works by artist Edmund Ian Grant are available for sale in the tasting room.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Jessup wines
  • Small, private tastings

 

Not good for: 
  • Large groups/buses
  • Tours
  • Weddings
  • Picnics
Known For: 
Table for Four (Bordeaux Blend), Zin, Merlot, Chardonnay
Pictures: 

Locations

6740 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599
United States
38° 24' 21.6036" N, 122° 21' 59.6268" W
6740 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599
United States
38° 24' 21.6036" N, 122° 21' 59.6268" W
Phone Number: 
7079448523

Whitehall Lane Winery

The Vibe: 

Simple, spare and an ode to good cabernet, fans of the highly regarded Whitehall Lane wines will appreciate the down to earth experience offered in the modest tasting room along the St. Helena Highway. Founded in the late 1970s, the tasting room building is a throw back to the “modern” look of a few decades past (though a new building is currently under construction on the property), and serves up tastings of the estate’s esteemed Cabernet, as well as merlot, chardonnay and pinot.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Fans of Whitehall Lane Cab
  • Quiet, involved conversation w/ friendly tasting room staff
Not good for: 
  • Events
  • Large groups
  • Tours
  • Picnics
  • Shoppers
Known For: 
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot

Locations

1563 South St. Helena Highway
Saint Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 30' 24.1452" N, 122° 28' 21.882" W
1563 South St. Helena Highway
Saint Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 30' 24.1452" N, 122° 28' 21.882" W
Phone Number: 
7079639454

V. Sattui Winery

The Vibe: 

Known as one of the limited number of Napa wineries that have county permits for picnics, V Sattui offers mid-day tasters a chance to buy some bread and cheese and sit for a spell in the shade. While patrons cannot bring their own fixins onto the grounds, the on-site deli offers sufficient varieties of meat, cheese, bread, dips and oils to satisfy the most discerning of palates. The wines are not particularly noteworthy, but the three rooms of foodstuffs and other items are something of a shoppers’ paradise.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Picnics
  • Shoppers
  • Weddings
  • Corporate Events
  • Private tours and tastings
  • Self Tours
Not good for: 
  • Kids
  • Pets
  • Boutique wine-seekers
Known For: 
White Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat
Pictures: 

Locations

1111 White Lane
Saint Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 29' 20.4936" N, 122° 26' 57.1452" W
1111 White Lane
Saint Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 29' 20.4936" N, 122° 26' 57.1452" W
Phone Number: 
7079637774

Raymond Vineyard and Cellar

The Vibe: 

Home to Napa’s oldest continuing winemaking family, Raymond enjoys a history with deep Napa roots. Their story dates back to ties with the Beringer legacy, with co-founder Roy Raymond Sr. starting work in the Beringer cellar in the early 1930s. By the end of the decade, he was married to Martha Jane Beringer, and they had two sons, Roy Jr and Walter, with whom Roy Sr. founded his namesake winery in 1971. Today, Raymond yields a high production but maintains a small, family run feel, that’s reflected in the down-to-earth vibe of their tasting room.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Tours (offered daily at 11)
  • Groups
  • Chardonnay fans
  • Napa history buffs
Not good for: 
  • Picnics
  • Weddings
Known For: 
Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay
Pictures: 
Entrance to Raymond
The Tasting Counter
Shopping, perfect for gifts
Outside Raymond

Locations

849 Zinfandel Lane
St. Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 29' 5.028" N, 122° 26' 22.8048" W
849 Zinfandel Lane
St. Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 29' 5.028" N, 122° 26' 22.8048" W
Phone Number: 
8005252659

Merryvale Napa Valley

The Vibe: 

With lots of shopping, a wood-centric décor, mini art gallery in the back and an extensive tasting bar, the Merryvale winery clearly caters to the Napa tourist. The building has the distinction of being the first winery erected after the end of Prohibition, so Napa history buffs will appreciate its legacy, and those planning a private or corporate event will find the cask room, lined with a double tier of century old, 2,000 gallon wooden casks, utterly charming. Foodies are more likely to appreciate that this tasting room is located right across from the original Taylor’s Refresher.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Shoppers
  • Napa History buffs
  • Events (rehearsal dinners; corporate events; up to 118 people)
  • Seminars
Not good for: 
  • Picnics
  • Weddings
Known For: 
Chardonnay, Profile (red blend)
Pictures: 
Outside Merryvale
Merryvale Tasting Counter
Merryvale Art For Sale
Merryvale Shopping
Merryvale Shopping

Locations

1000 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 30' 5.9868" N, 122° 27' 53.2692" W
1000 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 30' 5.9868" N, 122° 27' 53.2692" W
Phone Number: 
7079637777

Markham Vineyards

The Vibe: 

Another historic property in the heart of Napa Valley, the roots of this winery date from the late 19th century. Current owner Bruce Markham came along in the late 1970s, producing his first vintage in 1978. In addition to traditional style wines, visitors to the tasting cellar can enjoy the rotating art installation and a selection of for-sale items.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Art buffs
  • Napa history buffs
  • Tours (by appt only)
  • Private events
  • Corporate events
Not good for: 
  • Tour busses
  • Weddings
  • Picnics
Known For: 
Reserve Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon
Pictures: 
The Entrance to Markham
Markham Tasting Counter
Inside the tasting room
Markham Gallery
The Markham Gallery
Shopping at Markham Winery
The entrance to Markham Winery

Locations

2812 North St. Helena Highway
Saint Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 30' 18.828" N, 122° 28' 13.2276" W
2812 North St. Helena Highway
Saint Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 30' 18.828" N, 122° 28' 13.2276" W
Phone Number: 
7079635292
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