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ProducerChateau St. Jean (web)
SubRegionSonoma County
AppellationSonoma County

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2005 and 2008 (based on 2 user opinions)

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 92.1 pts. and median of 92 pts. in 16 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by Anonymous on 3/30/2014 & rated 93 points: Very nice. Holding up well and will hold for at least a few more years. (210 views)
 Tasted by Mrbuzz on 8/21/2013: Super! Buy more if any come up at auction. (434 views)
 Tasted by Old Joe on 12/16/2012 & rated 94 points: It is a shame but this was the last of this wine (530 views)
 Tasted by WilliamF17 on 6/30/2012 & rated 92 points: Smooth and rich, substantial fruit remains, leather and tea on the palette. (433 views)
 Tasted by CamraMaan on 12/22/2011 & rated 92 points: This took a while to open up. On the PnP it was just bad. After 30 min it started to get palatable, 60 min to start tasting good, and 90 min before it started to sing! This was also a 1.5L that we opened. Once it opened up I thought it was quite good, impressive to say the least, but my friends were being little negative Nancy's because it tasted so bad on the PnP. No flavor profile to provide, but I would gladly buy and drink another bottle! (1007 views)
 Tasted by MicklethePickle on 11/20/2010 & rated 90 points: At home. A beauty, still with purple highlights. Very fine "winey" nose. Rich, thick-smelling. Big, rich, bold on the palate. Still showing plenty of grapey fruit at 9 years of age. Not much in the way of secondary characteristics, very straightforward fruit bomb, but very good. 5-12-16-7: 90/100 (143 views)
 Tasted by mtdv on 2/3/2010 & rated 92 points: Simply lucious and jammy. (1332 views)
 Tasted by Duce on 9/6/2009 & rated 93 points: dense color, chocolate and vanilla nose, still with great berry fruit, soft tannins. Outstanding!!93 to 94 points (1280 views)
 Tasted by mtdv on 4/24/2009 & rated 95 points: Wow! Dark and inky in color and filled with notes of chocolate and raspberry (1437 views)
 Tasted by lpk22 on 4/26/2008 & rated 93 points: Wow, this was excellent. Good balance & flavor. Raspberry, chocolate, a little toasty oak on the finish, a very complete mouth filling wine. Drinking nicely now, but shows no signs of aging... (1395 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 5/20/2006 & rated 92 points: [BBQ beef] Open with rich blackberry, plum, pepper, espresso. Decanted for 2 hours. Developed red fruit, pepper, smoke, and later some acetone on the nose. Drinking well now, very enjoyable. Have 2 more, but may try to purchase more (1910 views)
 Tasted by Mrbuzz on 4/30/2006 & rated 96 points: Dark blackberry syrup in color. Beautiful floral, dusty spiced nose, perfumed with fresh crushed berries, mocha, dried herbs. Soft in the mouth, with a wonderful mouthfeel of rich blackberry/plum/cherry/raspberry fruit; deep flavors of dusty floral spice, mocha, soft exotic wood, chocolate covered dried cherries. Intense in flavors, but not in style. The complex flavors just roll and roll, making the wine very easy drinking, and a pleasure! One of the best wines made at St Jean! (1756 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 5/27/2005: [$55] Concentrated raspberry, chocolate, and smoke. Will make a nice BBQ wine. Appearantly the only Reserve Malbec produced in CA for whatever its worth. Purchased 3. (1954 views)

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Chateau St. Jean

Producer website

Belle Terre Vineyard – Alexander Valley
For more than three decades, Belle Terre Vineyard has been synonymous with vineyard designation at Chateau St. Jean and, without question it is one of the most consistent and well-farmed vineyards in Sonoma. Belle Terre Vineyard, owned by the Dick Family, is located on the Russian River in Southern Alexander Valley. Chateau St. Jean has produced a Belle Terre Chardonnay since 1975. The terrain at Belle Terre consists of gently rolling land with well-drained, gravelly and sandy loam soils. In addition to a vineyard designated Chardonnay, Chateau St. Jean also crafts a Belle Terre Late Harvest Riesling and the Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the vineyard contributes to Cinq Cépages.


Varietal character (Appellation America)

One of the traditional “Bordeaux varietals”, Malbec has characteristics that fall somewhere between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. A midseason ripener, it can bring very deep color, ample tannin, and a particular plum-like flavor component to add complexity to claret blends. Malbec is a finicky vine whose fruit is prone to rot and mildew in the cool, damp coastal climate of Bordeaux. But ask a Bordelais grower why there’s no Malbec around, and you’ll more likely get a dismissive shrug and sniff than a viticultural analysis. It is known in much of France as Côt, and, in Cahors, also as Auxerrois. There are in fact hundreds of local synonyms, since Malbec at one time was widely planted all over the country. Sensitivity to frost and proclivity to shatter or coulure (a disease that results in premature fruit drop) is the primary reason that Malbec has become a decreasing factor in most of France. Although plantings in the Medoc have decreased by over twothirds since the mid-twentieth century, Malbec is now the dominant red varietal in the Cahors area. The Appellation Controlée regulations for Cahors require a minimum content of 70%. Malbec is also planted in Chile, and there’s relatively little and recent acreage in California and Australia. It is usually blended with other red varietals in these countries. But Malbec truly comes into its own in Argentina, where it is the major red varietal planted. Much of the Malbec vines there were transplanted from Europe prior to the outbreak of phylloxera and most is therefore ungrafted, on its own roots. Sadly, over the years the bug infested Argentina, too, and vineyards are being replanted on resistant rootstock. Happily, the vines thrive in the arid climate of the Mendoza region in the foothills of the Andes. Made in the context of this South American nation’s Spanish and Italian heritage, it produces a delicious wine that has almost nothing in common with Bordeaux except the color. Argentines often spell it “Malbeck” and make wines from it that are slightly similar in flavor to those made in Europe, but with softer, lusher structure, more like New World Merlot. Another difference is that where French examples are usually considered short-lived, Argentine Malbecs seem to age fairly well. Successful Argentine Malbec growers claim that, in order to develop full maturity and distinction, Malbec needs “hang time” even after sugar levels indicate ripeness. Otherwise, immature Malbec can be very “green” tasting, without its characteristic notes of plum and anise. Malbec in Argentina has come to be appreciated for a spicy white pepper characteristic, the aroma of violets, and sweet, jammy fruit. It is a seductive wine that is typically warm and generous in the mouth, with plenty of flesh, and very appealing when young. Almost always producing a ripe and fruity, even plummy wine, Malbec can take oak aging or show well without it; it’s juicy and quaffable when young but can benefit from aging, developing an intriguing complexity with time in the bottle. It can range in price from as little as $7 to more than $75. The true potential of Argentine Malbec, and indeed in the entire spectrum of Argentine wines, is demonstrated by the fact that many of the world’s most renowned winemakers have come to Argentina to make wine. Both the legendary California winemaker Paul Hobbs, and Michel Rolland of Bordeaux, one of the world’s most famous winemakers, have created very high-end Malbecs. It may be the Italian component in the country’s mixed Latin family tree that fosters the fact that Malbec is an exceptional companion with a broad range of food. Its well-balanced fruit-and-acid profile makes it a natural with rare beef (bear in mind that Argentina is cattle country), but it’s just as good with simple fare from burgers to fried chicken. With its natural balance, good pairings include: cajun cuisine, calzones, cannelloni with meat, poultry, vegetable couscous, steak creole, Greek cuisine, deviled eggs, hummus, Indian cuisine, leg of lamb, Mexican cuisine with meat, pâté, spinach soufflé, and hearty pasta. For cheeses, think of harder styles that are either waxed or oiled, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Ricotta Salata, Romano, Asiago, Pont l’Eveque, Gruyere, Manchego, Cantal, Comte, old Gouda, old Cheddar, Baulderstone, Beaufort, Leicester, aged Chesire, Chevre Noir, Wensleydale, Tilsit, Iberico, Mahon, Roncal, and Mizithra.


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California is one of the most diverse wine regions in the world, with almost 100 grape varieties grown in over 100 viticultural areas, including dozens of ­different microclimates and soil types, as well as a very individualistic set of ­winemakers, many with international experience, which adds to and deepens that diversity.

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