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by Fred McMillin
for March 30, 1998
The Killian Decision
There is no such thing as a typical Chardonnay. Cool-climate Chardonnay flavors are different from those of warm climates.
..."Chardonnay, Your International Guide," by Alan Young
Ed Killian, Chateau Souverain winemaker, couldn't agree more. He tells us the cool Carneros region Chardonnays have green apple and pear characteristics while the warmer Alexander Valley yields juicy ripe apple flavors...Alan Young would add "canned pineapple."
So which did Ed use for his '96 Souverain Chardonnay? Answer: He used both, and then added some French oak contact. The result is what he calls an "apple pie and spiced pear" Chardonnay. My 13 tasters loved it, voting it best white wine of the tasting. The competition included several bottles costing about twice the Souverain's $13.
'96 Sonoma County Chardonnay
As to the Alexander Valley, it is the longest of Sonoma wine districts, running north from Healdsburg to Cloverdale. It is named after the Rocky Mountain fur-trapper, Cyrus Alexander, who arrived in Healdsburg about 1840.
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