Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Truchard Vineyards

Truchard Vineyards offers a wine cave tour with wide variety of very good, reasonably priced premium wines. Truchard Vineyards was established in 1974 when the Truchard family purchased 20 acres of land that had been an abandoned prune orchard. Truchard is a small friendly, family winery in north Carneros that has 270 planted acres with hills and valleys that present diverse microclimates and varied soil types, of clay, shale, sandstone, volcanic rock and ash.  This unusual mixture of microclimates and soil types allows them to grow ten different grape varietals.  They sold their grapes to other wineries until 1989 when they produced their first release.  80% of their grapes are still sourced out to other wineries.  They produce 16,000 cases a year.

Front entrance

Wine cave

Our tasting began with the Truchard 2010 Roussanne ($22).  Roussanne is uncommon in Napa Valley and is usually used in white wine blends and often made in to a late harvest desert wine.  Only one other winery in Napa Valley produces Roussanne, according to Napa Vintners, and that is a blend that has only 47% Roussanne in it.  I have tasted some Roussanne blends in the past and some late harvest Roussannes, but this is the first dry 100% Roussanne I remember tasting.  (Truchard also offers a late harvest version.)  One reason there is so little Roussanne grown in the U.S. is that it is a very difficult varietal to grow and is prone to various diseases.  The Truchard Roussanne is a fairly dry wine.  The nose is light apple, with a full bodied, well-balanced green apple and lemon on palate.  It has good acid balanced with a little vanilla and a hint of butter butter, making it smooth but layered.  It is something of a Chardonny or Sauvignon Blanc alternative.  Both of us liked it a lot.   

Winery buildings and cave


This was followed by the Truchard 2010 Chardonnay ($35) which has 30% malolactic conversion, and some French oak, just enough to help balance it.  The aroma is light lemon with green apple and some minerality on the palate.  This substantial Chardonnay presents a rich, full mouthfeel.  It was very nice.  The Truichard 2009 Pinot Noir was next.  This had a great nose and was not as thin as many Carneros Pinots.  The bright fruit was very nicely balanced with smooth tannins.  This was one of the most aromatic Pinots I’ve sampled recently.  The Truchard 2007 Tempranillo at $25 followed.  This nice Tempranillo would be better paired with food.  The Truchard 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($38) was very good by itself.  With a light cherry aroma, it had a complex red fruit presentation with well-integrated tannins and a good finish.  Often with Cabs, I think of food parings, but with this one I’d like to taste again under a variety of aeration and temperature conditions.  A very good Cab for the price.  Later I sampled some of the Truchard 2007 Late Harvest Roussanne which is $35 for a half bottle.  It is a delicious dessert wine with some botrytis to add to its presentation.  The wines I’d like to taste in a subsequent visit are the Cab Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot and, especially, the Reserve Cab.  It is amazing that Truchard Vineyard can produce so many varietals at such uniform high quality.

As with most small family wineries, Truchard requires an appointment for the tour and/or tasting.  The tasting fee is $15 but one fee is waived for each bottle of wine purchased.  With so many excellent wines offered, you will certainly find at least one you will want to purchase, so the tour should end up complimentary.  We enthusiastically encourage a visit to Truchard!

3234 Old Sonoma Rd
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 253-7153
Date of visit: 3/28/2012

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