Happy Hour Wine Tasting with Chalone Winery

Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 06:00 PM

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"To buy very good wine nowadays requires only money. To serve it to
your guests is a sign of fatigue."  - William F. Buckley, 'Harpers Bazaar,' Sept. '79



When you can serve excellent Pinot Noir to your guests for under $20 you don’t have to get anxious. 


After the success of the last few week’s “Happy Hour” tastings, we have decided to carry on this casual event over the summer and this tasting is a belly up to the bar, hang out with your friends and the food is casual, this is not a sit-down dinner- a true “Happy Hour” style event… but with GREAT Wines.  Tonight, we have our good friend Tom Carroll from Foley Family Wine Estates here to talk about the wines if you want .

This tasting starts at 6pm and chef Toni will be making some appetizers to accompany the tasting wines.  The fee for this tasting is $55 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com


This is one of the first cult Pinot Noir producers from California, Dick Graff was a man on a mission to find the best terroir for this Burgundian varietal and when he stumbled upon this property 1,800 feet above the Salinas Valley in the Gavilan Mountain Range, he thought he struck gold and the early California  critics agreed as his first wines made by the great Philip Togni were considered to be the new standard for this varietal in the new wrold.  I remember when I visited Chalone 25 years ago I could not believe someone would go all the way out here to start a winery but the gold that Dick found was limestone, the perfect soil type for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.


The Chalone brand has been bought and sold several times since then but since Bill Foley purchased the brand a few years ago they are back in top form and the 2017 Estate Pinot Noir is shockingly good for the $$.  Check out all of the other wines from Chalone, they also make some of the best Pinot Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay that you will find at any price!!


The Gavilan Mountains in the Distance With A Valley in the Foregrounf

Happy Hour Wine Tasting with Chalone winery
 The first Calfornia Cult Pinot Noir
Thursday June 17th 2021



Chalone Vineyard Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2017 - 750ml – Craft & Curd


2017 Chalone Pinot Noir Estate Grown Chalone AVA
Price: $26.50   Sale $19.00


A beautiful bouquet of black raspberry fruit, dark cherry, brown spices and pretty floral notes on the nose with a nice touch of earth coming out on the second day even more complex.  This wine has a lovely silky-smooth texture on the tongue with a touch of spice and a distinct earthy quality to the finish lots of minerality, a light wine but not light in nuance.  Finish 45+    Excellent +


Chalone Estate Pinot Blanc 2013 | Wine.com

2013 Chalone Pinot Blanc Estate Grown Chalone           
Price: $25.00   Sale $17.50

A good amount of ripe tree fruits, Asian pear, pinepple and hints of white flowers and vanilla spice to compliment the fruit on the nose.  Rich and layered with fruit on the tongue, a nice freshness to the chalky mineral nuance on the finish.  Finish 45         Excellent +     


Chalone Estate Chardonnay 2018 | Wine.com

2018 Chalone Chardonnay Estate Grown Chalone Appellation
Price: $25.00   Sale $17.50

A good amount of that chalky limestone minerality here similar to a white Burgundy with a flinty note coming out on the second day, a good amount of lemon drop candy fruit, green apple and this wine goes into 20% new French oak.  This wine needs some time to open up but has a good concentration and richness in more of an old world style with layers of minerality lengthening the finish.  Finish 35+ Excellent        




Image result for chalone winery


Perched in the remote Gavilan Mountain Range, 1,800 feet above California's Salinas Valley, this rugged vineyard sits at the base of an extinct volcano bordering the Pinnacles National Park. Chalone Vineyard is one ofthe few wineries in the U.S. growing grapes in limestone-based soils, the same as in Burgundy. The spare, well-drained ground, limited rainfall and low crop levels attracted Dick Graff, who wanted to make top-flight Burgundian-styled Chardonnay. Graff made his first vintage under the Chalone Vineyard label in 1966, producing what became a benchmark for California Chardonnay.

The first wine produced under the Chalone label was made in 1960 by Philip Togni, in what had been a brooding shed for chickens. Daily trips to Salinas for ice, which at that time was an hour and a half away, provided the cooling needed for the wine cellar.

In 1964, Dick Graff, a Harvard music graduate and former naval officer, tasted a Windsor Vineyard wine made from Chalone grapes. He was immediately entranced and after visiting the remote winery, was determined to own Chalone. In 1965 Dick embarked on what has now become a part of California winemaking and viticultural history, attending University of California, Davis to learn winemaking and then he and his mother, Estelle, saved the Chalone property from imminent bankruptcy. Almost single-handedly, Dick was responsible for introducing California winemakers to the intricacies of malolactic fermentation in white wines as well as the now widespread practice of fermenting and aging white wine in small oak barrels. He was also one of the first persons to import and sell barrels from Burgundy in the United States.

In 1966, the first commercial vintage was produced by Dick Graff under the Chalone Vineyard label.

By 1970 Chalone was planting more vineyards. In 1971 Dick was joined by Phil Woodward, a fellow wine enthusiast, who was working for the accounting firm of Touche Ross and Company. As president, Phil took over the financial and marketing aspects of running the winery and, together they began what became the Chalone Wine Group. In 1973, winemaking moved from the chicken shed to a new building just above the former winery. In the meantime, two of Dick's brothers, John and Peter, each served a stint as winemaker.

In 1984, caves were created to store Pinot Noir but conditions were still rustic. The sole means of communications was a radiotelephone in one of the pickup trucks, power came from one of several generators and water was carried up 3,000 gallons at a time by truck. In 1986, the company strung its own utility lines and constructed its own eight-mile long pipeline to bring water to the winery.

An extensive updating program began in the vineyard. Much of the vineyard was replanted using the latest research on rootstocks and clones for the site and the entire vineyard was retrellised. For the first time at Chalone, Syrah was planted.

Today the Chalone estate is comprised of almost 1,000 contiguous acres, of which nearly 250 are planted to vines. It is the only winery in the Chalone appellation. Although the estate has grown, as has our winemaking and viticultural expertise, our unique terroir remains unchanged.




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