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Chateau St Jean Chardonnay
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Chateau St Jean Soiree
Chateau St Jean was founded in 1973 at the foot of the Sugarloaf Ridge in the Sonoma Valley near the area of Kenwood. Back in the early ‘70s, Sonoma County was just starting to be recognized for its wine producing areas. When I first visited the Sonoma area, they were known for producing very nice Chardonnays. That all changed when, in 1999, the Wine Spectator awarded the 1996 Chateau St Jean Cinq Cépages its Wine of the Year award.
Cinq Cépages is their flagship wine and is a blend of five red Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot). This wine helped put Sonoma red wines on the map. The award also produced Sonoma Valley’s first winner of Wine Spectator’s Wine of The Year award.
Margo Van Staaveren is their winemaker and started at the winery in 1980, after she graduated from The University of California Davis. It’s been said if you want to know anything about Chateau St Jean, ask Margo. She and her staff have the ability to produce outstanding wines in so many different styles. Because of this, the Chateau St Jean winery is one of California’s great wineries. Margo Van Staaveren was awarded The Wine Enthusiast Winemaker of the Year in 2008. If you get a chance, try her outstanding single-vineyard Robert Young Chardonnay, Belle Terre Chardonnay, and La Petite Etoile Sauvignon Blanc. In a different style, try her everyday easy-drinking wines, Soirée Red and North Coast Chardonnay. If you’re going to visit Sonoma Valley, put this incredible winery on your list.
Chateau St Jean Soirée is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Malbec. This is a wine crafted for everyday drinking with character, which is rich in flavor that is structured to drink now. You can pair this wine with lighter pork dishes, such as a tenderloin, red-sauce pastas and barbeque ribs. This wine retails for $12.
Chateau St Jean North Coast Chardonnay is a rich fruit-forward wine that is easy to drink. The wine is aged in French American oak and then blended with a small amount of stainless steel to help give the wine a crisp fruit flavor. It pairs well with chicken, fish, shellfish, scallops, Gouda cheese and pasta dishes with white sauces. This wine also retails for $12.
Chateau St Jean can be found at Acme Fresh Markets, Buehler’s Fresh Food, Papa Joes, Mustard Seed, 750ML, Riverside Wine & Imports, Reserve of Medina, Giant Eagle, Regency and Heinen’s.
Wine Wisdom: Read the wine label’s vintage date. The vintage date indicates the year the grapes were harvested. In order for a wine label to carry a vintage date, 95 percent of the grapes used in the making of the wine must have been harvested in that year. Remember: some years produce better grapes than others, primarily because of weather. Wine without a vintage date is referred to as a non-vintage.