by Fred McMillin
for May 12, 1997

Meanwhile, Back at the Chateau

Prologue: Because there are so many good, different Chardonnay districts in the county, "the simple appellation of Sonoma County [indicating use of grapes from several areas] is to be sought after, not scorned." As to flavor, the districts share an "association with apples"...by eminent wine author Bob Thompson in his "Wine Atlas of California"

The Rest of the Story: Vice President Tom Peterson and Winemaker Ed Killian have spent a combined total of 18 years carefully crafting Chateau Souverain Chardonnays. They couldn't agree more with Bob Thompson's comments regarding the merits of blends and the presence of apple flavors. Their 1995 Chardonnay has that "simple appellation of Sonoma County." Its grapes came from three districts, each with its own apple flavors. The cool Carneros contributes green apples, the warmer Alexander adds ripe apples, and the Russian River Valley adds a spicy, applesauce dimension. My tasters had a fascinating time picking out the contributions of each. I believe you will, too.

1995 Chardonnay, Sonoma County
Chateau Souverain
An Alexander Valley Estate near Geyserville, CA
Phone (707)433-8281
$13 (good value)

Category: Recommended for those who enjoy a balanced, complex white wine

Postscript: Whence the name of the winery? Well, when Lee Stewart founded his winery in 1944, his daughter suggested "Souverain," French for "supreme." The Peterson-Killian team certainly is making sure the winery lives up to its name.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

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