Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tour of Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards

The other day, we were invited by our friend and real estate agent Sophie Ravel to a wine tasting and lunch event at Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards.

Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards is a small winery located in the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains above the town of Saratoga. It was founded in 1892 by a French immigrant named Pierre Pourroy but Prohibition quickly forced the Pourroy family to shut down production. Winemaker Daniel Gehrs bought the neglected winery in 1976 and was able to rescue the old Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc vines that were still growing on the estate. Eventually, Michael and Kellie Ballard purchased the property in 1996, naming it after their two daughters Savannah and Chanel. Two years later, the Chanel fashion house sued the Ballards forcing them to change the winery name to Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards.

The estate has 58 acres planted with Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, and Chardonnay. The Zinfandel plantings date back to 1910, and the Cabernet Franc plantings —California's oldest— date back to 1920. We didn't have the opportunity to taste the old vine Estate Zinfandel nor the Cabernet Franc but we were served an unoaked 2009 Chardonnay Monterey County that I particularly liked, It was refreshingly crisp with attractive aromas of grapefruit and lemon . I also enjoyed the tasty and peppery 2007 Syrah Coastview Vineyard, from a vineyard located at 2600 ft on a mountain top overlooking Monterey Bay.

It was a warm and sunny day and we had a nice lunch in the lawn and garden area in front of Pierre Pourroy's Mediterranean-style chateau and surrounded by tall redwood trees and hillside vineyards. There was also a raffle and I did win one of the three prizes, a set of 2 Riedel Burgundy glasses! But that's the subject of a future post.

The old redwood winery built in 1922 that now houses the tasting room

Inside the tasting room

Old Zinfandel plantings

View from the garden of a small hillside Pinot Noir vineyard

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1 comment:

Jim Barrett said...

My wife's Great Grandfather was Pierre...she remembers playing in the house when she was very young. Her Father worked in the vineyard when he was a young man. We visited the winery in 1999 and also walked down to the old ranch house where her Grandmother was born. Too bad the family sold the property in the 50's after Pierre died...