Napa Valley winery reviews, recommendations, and photos from our weekly visits to wineries. Periodic reviews of interesting wines from around the world. Occasional musings about classical music as related to wine. Now Partners with Google Field Trip.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
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.
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 Truchard2007 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
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!