by Fred McMillin
for April 17, 1997

A Chardonnay That Came to Play

A successful investment banker, Bill Hambrecht's specialty was the wine indutry. So, you knew good things were bound to happen when he took over controlling interest of the Belvedere Winery eight years ago. with sound entrepreneurial instincts, he gave top priority to Chardonnay. Not a bad idea. Its popularity continues. The California Chardonnay crush of 1996 was 8% higher than in 1995. Its average price was $1,130 per ton, up a whopping 27% over 1995.

Winemaker Kevin Warren makes several Chardonnays, but I would start with his "twofer." By that I mean he has two sources for those grapes, the citrus-apple flavors generated in the cool Russian River Valley and the more mellow pear-melon tones from the warmer Alexander Valley. You get the TWO FOR ONE ten dollar bill if you buy our recommended "twofer," the Sonoma County Belvedere bottling using fruit from both districts.

1995 Chardonnay, Sonoma County (Alexander & Russian River Valleys)
Belvedere Winery
Healdsburg, CA

Category: Recommended (fine value)

Postscript: For more about Belvedere, see the March 4,1997 WineDay titled "Bradford Mountain Memories."

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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