The Chalone American Viticultural Area (AVA) is located in the counties of San Benito and Monterey in California. Consisting of over 8,000 acres, this California AVA is characterized by its distinctive soil, made up of limestone and decomposed granite. This soil, combined with the arid climate, creates some very distinctive wines. Less than 300 acres of the Chalone AVA are planted with vineyards, but the grapes that are grown here are superb, partly due to the high daytime and low nighttime summer temperatures. This California wine region grows Chenin Blanc, Grenache, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and other grapes, and is considered by some to be a viticultural splendor. For information on the wines and vineyards of the Chalone AVA in California, as well as the wineries that produce them, see below.
Chalone Winery. This is the only winery that is located in the Chalone AVA, but its unique climatic and geographic features produce wines that are fully capable of competing with the best. This California AVA is very dry, with less than fifteen inches of rain each year, and the temperatures during the growing season can swing wildly (90 degrees during the day, dropping to 50 degrees at night.) All of these climate characteristics make for wines that you will find are unique to this wine region of California. The vineyards of this Chalone winery are located on the Gavilan Mountain Range, which is 1,800 feet above the Salinas Valley. This is the oldest producing vineyard in Monterey County, where the first wine making activities took place in 1919.
This Chalone AVA winery produces Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc, and other wines. Be sure to sample their 2008 Chardonnay, a rich white wine that many red wine drinkers may enjoy. It has aromas of green apple and mango, and flavors that include pineapple and stone fruits. Also try their Pinot Blanc, which is aged in French oak barrels. It has aromas of pears and citrus fruits, followed by flavors of mango and peaches. For more information on this Chalone AVA winery and its California wines, click here.
Others Wineries That Produce Chalone Wines.
Graff Family Vineyards, located in Sonoma, California, uses grapes from the Graff and Antie vineyards in the Chalone AVA to create Pinot Blanc, Viognier, Mourvedre and other wines. A portion of the profits from the sale of these wines goes to the Woodward/Graff Wine Foundation, a non-profit corporation that awards scholarships for students for wine, food and hospitality education. Be sure to try their 2007 Viognier, which has aromas of vanilla and tangerine, followed by flavors of apricots and oak. Also try their 2007 Pinot Blanc, which is fermented and aged in French oak. It has aromas of melons and hazelnut, followed by flavors of almond and vanilla. For more information on this California winery and its wines, click here.
Roessler Cellars, another Sonoma, California winery, also creates wines from the grapes of the Chalone AVA. For an excellent Chalone AVA wine from this winery, try their 2006 Pinot Noir, an outstanding California wine with aromas of black plum and blackberry, followed by flavors of black cherry and pepper. For more information on this California winery and its wines, click here.