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TomHill

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WTN: Chalone Chard Estate '14...(short/boring)

by TomHill » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:11 pm

Saw this on the shelf at ArroyoVino Sat, so thought I'd give it a shot for old-time's sake. Opened it w/ very low expectations:
1. ChaloneVnyd Chard Estate Chalone (EG/HeritageVines; 105 Fr.oak brls/31,200 btls; www.ChaloneVineyard.com) Soledad 2014: Med.dark gold color; strong toasty/Fr.oak/toasted coconut/ZagNut bar very strong melony/Chard/slight Monterey celery seed some complex nose; quite tart very strong melong/Chard/celery seed/lemony/lemon curd rather toasty/Fr.oak/toasted coconut rich/lush/balanced some complex flavor; very long/lingering rich/lush fairly tart/balanced strong melony/Chard/lemon curd strong toasty/Fr.oak/toasted coconut some complex finish; quite a good fairly oaked rich/lush Chard but good acid & balance and carries it off well; a very/very good example of Calif Chard and far/far better than I expected; very fairly priced at $29.00 (AV)
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A wee BloodyPulpit:
1. Alas, I cannot say that I followed Chalone from the very start, but way/way closer than most folks here on the InterNet.
The original vines (Chard/CheninBlanc/PinotBlanc/PinotNoir) were planted back in the 1890's. I very much doubt that any of those old vines still exist on the property. The property was brought back from the dead in 1964 when it was purchased by new owners (don't know their names). That original winemaker was Philip Togni. Under the guidance of Dick Graff, and along w/ Phil Woodward, the Chalone Wine Group was founded and investors were solicited. The yearly Chalone Investor parties at the Estate were the stuff of legends.
Chalone was one of the original Calif cult wineries and very difficult to find. Because Darrell Corti was an investor, I was able to access them fairly easily. Probably the greatest Calif Chard I ever had was the '68 Chalone, tasted in the late '70's.
With the death of DickGraff in a plane crash and the departure of PhilWoodward in 2001, the Chalone Group sorta floundered about, and expanded their wineries thru the '90's. The wines in the '90's-early '00's were nowhere near as good as their early ones. Finally, Chalone was purchased by Diageo in 2004, which was pretty much the last nail in the coffin for Chalone. The number of (non-Estate) wines were greatly expanded, were not very good, and that was pretty much all she wrote for Chalone. What a sorry end for a once-great Estate.
But...wait..the story ain't over yet. Chalone was purchased from the evil Diageo in early 2016 by Bill Foley. That didn't particularly excite me. Even though this '14 was made under Diageo, this recent release is a Foley wine. When I saw it on the shelf at ArroyoVino, I interpreted that as a good recommendation for the wine and, against my better instincts, bought a btl to try because the price seemed reasonable (last time I saw the Estate Chard on the shelf, it was in the upper $40's). Glad I did...this was darned good Chard. Maybe, just maybe, Bill Foley is on the way to resurecting Chalone from the dead.
Tom

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