by Fred McMillin
for August 14, 1997

Swing and Sway with Chardonnay


  • Washington State, with little fuss or fanfare, has crept into second position behind California in premium wine production in the USA.

  • The most widely planted premium wine grape in Washington is the Chardonnay. Recently, in one year, acreage increased 70%.

  • Washington's best Chardonnays are made with a light hand on the oak.

    ...from Jancis Robinson, Bob Thompson, and others.

The Rest of the Story: Winery President Peter Ansdell makes sure his Staton Hills Chardonnay shows that light hand on the oak. A Brit, he makes European-style wines and believes in bottle aging before release. The 1994 is now available at a bargain $12. My tasters preferred it over a much more expensive, heavily-oaked California competitor. For more info, contact Rusty Eddy at (707) 935-1519, fax (707) 935-6891.

1994 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington State
Staton Hills Wine Co.
Wapato, WA
Winery Phone Number—(509)877-2112
Food Affinities—Oysters, sole, steamed sea bass.

Postscript: Washington Chardonnay acreage is far exceeded by that of another wine grape. The last figures I've seen show Washington is the largest producer in the USA of a native American grape, the Concord.

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.

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