Chateau St. Jean — yet another cellar staple in my house. But I have to say it’s Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay that made me fall in love with this Sonoma County wine producer. It has everything I look for in a casual daily drinker with the added benefit that it can certainly double as a date night delight when paired with the right meal. It’s fun, versatile, easy drinking. So, Cheers to Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay!

About the Wine: For those who may not know, Chateau St. Jean is a major estate in Sonoma County wine country. Founded in the early 1970s when there was a bit of resurgence in the winemaking industry, it’s no wonder their library is so vast. Chateau St. Jean boasts several wine collections including reserve wines — the pride and joy of winemaker Margo Van Staaveren and available exclusively through the winery; single vineyard wines — made from specific vineyards in Sonoma County; estate wines — made from various vineyards throughout the Sonoma County; and their California collection, which contains wines made from various vineyards throughout the state.

The 2013 Chateau St. Jean North Coast Chardonnay is of that last collection. No specific vineyard, nay not even a single region is specified for the grapes used to create this wine. Yes, this is what is going to give the wine its financial accessibility, it’s true. But don’t for a moment think that it makes the wine any less valuable — in taste or enjoyment. In fact, the combination of the various vineyards’ terroirs and climates is what gives this wine its subtle complexity, its balance of flavors, and its undeniable culinary versatility.

Chateau St. Jean North Coast Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes harvested from various California regions including Mendocino, Solano, and Sonoma County.

13.4% ABV

Flavor Profile: The 2013 Chateau St. Jean North Coast Chardonnay is a luminous yellow in the glass. Initial aromas speak highly of new oak aging with its caramel-covered apple meets salted-butter popcorn scent. It’s certainly warm and inviting. So take a sip you must. The mouth feel is quite lush as the soft, roundness of the oak attaches itself to your tongue straight away, so does the acid give its kick just as swiftly. You’re immersed in that rich creaminess with calming flavors of vanilla just as much as you’re enveloped in the lively fruit flavors of summer time like green apple and lemon zest. And the aftertaste — with a bit of effervescence — leaves a lingering, if subtle, spice feeling on the palate.

Food Pairing: With a bit of sweet, salty, and spicy, you could easily pair this wine with a wide variety of cuisine from a simple appetizer of fresh oysters to a spice-filled Thai dish. I would recommend enjoying this wine with a meal that encompasses this broad spectrum such as a veggie or seafood pasta with a cream-based sauce, a mildly spiced fish curry, or even a blackened catfish sandwich with a fresh aioli spread. You see where I’m going with this?

More Info: Chateau St. Jean is certainly a cellar staple, so I know you’ll be hearing more about them from me. Of course, I will mostly be posting about what’s available at my local shops (ie: the California collections). This wine I found at Safeway (Sale Price: $8).

Chateau St. Jean is probably my number one stop the next time I’m in wine country — so I’ll be sure to post about that if/when it happens and the more…interesting…wines I’m sure to try. In the mean time, please do visit the Chateau St. Jean website for more details about their available wines.


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