Château St. Jean ranks among the highest for quality Chardonnay. Just ask anyone who likes Chardonnay… Okay, I’m not a huge Chardonnay fan but I found many things to like at Château St. Jean. Perhaps it was the atmosphere or the congeniality. Perhaps it was because there is a sense of history or because I was weak and actually bought something from the gift shop. Whatever it was, I have a fine memory of my time at Château St. Jean.
Wine aside, the estate property is absolutely stunning. There are gardens that you have to walk through to get to the visitor’s center which offer many exceptional vantage points for photography or for simply relaxing by one of the several ponds. The “Château” itself was built by the Goff family in the 1920s and has been lovingly restored and is where some of the offices exist as well as the Reserve Room tasting area.
Apparently if you are part of the Reserve Club, you can have access to a private terraced seating area for individual, table-side service. This picture was taken through a window of the Château, as though I was a Peeping Tom, peering at two lucky recipients of a private tasting. I’ll be they also got to taste the wines I would have preferred to taste; Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Malbec, Viogner, and other Reserves…
The actual public tasting room is tremendously large and amply filled with a variety of products, much of the usual from clothing to wine-related gadgets. But I have to admit a confession. In my hundred-and-fifty-odd winery visits, this was the first time I actually bought something in a gift shop. In a corner, away from most of the expensive bounty, was a line of tin-and-enamelware kitchen gadgets. I purchased what looked like a pots de crème set, complete with rack (I say it looked like a pots de crème set, except that it wasn’t porcelain). It was $10.50 for the set and while not politically correct for real pots de crème, it will suit me just fine. Oh yeah, and I enjoyed the wine too.
2002 Robert Young Vineyard Chardonnay – Classic lemon and buttery aromas. Oily mouthfeel upon entry showing dark papaya and mango. Rich, with a hint of lemon peel on the finish. $35.00
2003 Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir – Dusty, exotic aromas of incense – akin to sandalwood with a core of red fruit. Red fruit dominates the mouth entry and brightens with acidity on the mid-palate. Smoky finish. $19.00
2002 California Merlot – Black plum and brambleberry display in the initial whiff but subside to demonstrate eucalyptus on the end. Chewy, tight mouth entry that is full bodied and thick. Tad harsh on finish. $15.00
Château St. Jean ~ 8555 Sonoma Highway (Highway 12) ~ Kenwood ~ 95452 ~ 707-833-4134