CHATEAU ST. JEAN

by Sergio Sismondo


This superb winery is located on the east side of the Sonoma Highway (Route 12), at Kenwood. It is a splendid architectural complex, with gardens, fountains, and colonnades. The tasting room is spacious, cool, quiet, and generally very inviting. To the marvelous wines is added a large selection of accessories, wine books and cook books for visitors to purchase. Managers Sharon Anderson and Philippe Thibault, and wine experts Bob Beck and Larry Gundrum are winery guides, and they ably take visitors from one wine to another with all the pertinent information. Most of all, the staff at this winery makes visitors feel welcome and relaxed. The magnificent quality of the wines, the beauty of the natural setting, and the splendid architectural complex make a visit to this winery an absolute must for any serious follower of wine.

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OUR CHOICES.

We sampled a wide variety of wines, both red and white, including Cabernet Franc, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Fume Blanc, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Blanc, Syrah and last but not least, three different varieties of Pinot Noir. All the wines tasted we found to be excellent and we rated all of them in the very upper eighties and nineties. Following is a table with our ratings for the recent and current releases.


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Liane Sismondo, Sergio Sismondo & Philippe Thibault
Cabernet Franc, St. Jean Estate Vineyard, 2000 92
Cabernet Franc, St. Jean Estate Vineyard, 2001 92
Cabernet Franc, St. Jean Estate Vineyard, 2002 92
Cabernet Franc, St. Jean Estate Vineyard, 2003 92
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cinq Cèpages, 1996 92
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cinq Cèpages, 2000 93
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cinq Cèpages, 2001 95
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cinq Cèpages, 2002 95
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cinq Cèpages, 2002 95
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cinq Cèpages, 2003 94
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cinq Cèpages, Sonoma County Reserve, 2001 94
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Sonoma County, 2001 90
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Sonoma County, 2002 89
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Sonoma County, 2003 90
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Sonoma County, 2004 91
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Reserve, Sonoma County, 1995 90
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Reserve, Sonoma County, 1999 94
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Reserve, Sonoma County, 2000 93
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Reserve, Sonoma County, 2001 91
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Reserve, Sonoma County, 2003 93
Chardonnay, Belle Terre Vineyard, 2001 91
Chardonnay, Belle Terre Vineyard, 2002 90
Chardonnay, Belle Terre Vineyard, 2005 89
Chardonnay, Robert Young Vineyard, 2000 90
Chardonnay, Durell Vineyard, 2003 88
Chardonnay, Reserve, Durell Vineyard, 2001 92
Chardonnay, Reserve, Robert Young Vineyard, 2001 92
Chardonnay, Reserve, Robert Young Vineyard, 2002 92
Chardonnay, Reserve, Robert Young Vineyard, 2003 91
Chardonnay, Robert Young Vineyard, 2002 90
Chardonnay, Reserve, Sonoma County 2001 90
Chardonnay, Reserve, Sonoma County 2002 93
Chardonnay, Reserve, Sonoma County 2003 95
Chardonnay, Reserve, Sonoma County 2004 93
Chardonnay, Sonoma County 2003 88
Fumé Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc), La Petite êtoile Vineyard, 2000 90
Fumé Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc), La Petite êtoile Vineyard, 2001 89
Fumé Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc), La Petite êtoile Vineyard, 2002 89
Fumé Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc), La Petite êtoile Vineyard, 2003 90
Fumé Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc), La Petite êtoile Vineyard, 2004 91
Gewurtztraminer Sonoma County, 2005 89
Gewurtztraminer Sonoma County, 2006 91
Johannisberg Riesling Sonoma County 2004 88
Malbec, St. Jean Estate Vineyard, 2000 89
Malbec, Reserve, St. Jean Estate Vineyard, 2001 90
Malbec, Reserve, Sonoma County 2002 93
Malbec, Reserve, Sonoma County 2003 94
Merlot, St. Jean Estate Vineyard, 2001 91
Merlot, St. Jean Estate Vineyard, 2002 92
Merlot, St. Jean Estate Vineyard, 2003 92
Merlot, Sonoma County, 2001 89
Merlot, Sonoma County, 2002 88
Merlot, Sonoma County, 2003 89
Merlot, Sonoma County, 2004 90
Merlot, Reserve, Sonoma County, 1997 95
Merlot, Reserve, Sonoma County, 1999 93
Merlot, Reserve, Sonoma County, 2000 93
Merlot, Reserve, Sonoma County, 2001 93
Merlot, Reserve, Sonoma County, 2002 93
Pinot Blanc, Robert Young Vineyard, 2002 90
Pinot Blanc, Robert Young Vineyard, 2003 88
Pinot Blanc, Robert Young Vineyard, 2004 89
Pinot Blanc, Robert Young Vineyard, 2005 88
Pinot Noir, Reserve, Carneros, 2001 92
Pinot Noir, Durell Vineyard, 2001 93
Pinot Noir, Durell Vineyard, 2002 91
Pinot Noir, Durell Vineyard, 2005 92
Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, 2002 89
Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, 2003 88
Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, 2004 89
Pinot Noir, Grace Vineyard, Sonoma, 2005 89
Pinot Noir, Reserve, Sonoma County, 2001 89
Pinot Noir, Reserve, Sonoma County, 2002 90
Syrah, Durell Vineyard, 2002 91
Syrah, Durell Vineyard, 2003 91
Syrah, Durell Vineyard, 2004 91
Viognier, Sonoma County, 2002 89
Viognier, Sonoma County, 2004 90
Viognier, St. Jean Estate Vineyard, 2005 90

To mention one favorite among the great red premium and reserve wines of this vineyard would be unfair to the others. Cabernet Franc, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir, all excell in their own particular ways. While the Pinot Noir from the Durell Vineyard, 2001, is perhaps the most interesting among them, all the ratings speak for themselves. The 2001 vintage was excellent, especially for Cabernet-Sauvignon in Sonoma and Napa Counties. The Cinq-cepages of 2001, 2002 and 2003 will be among those wines we will still be talking about many years hence.

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  • For a white wine, our choice for the best "value for money" goes to the Chardonnay, Robert Young Vineyard, 2003, which is priced at $25 and received our rating of 91.
  • For a red wine, our choice for the best "value for money" goes to the Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, 2002, 2003, 2004, which are priced at $19 and received our ratings of 89. This wine was the winner of a Silver Medal at the 2003 Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
  • The Pinot Noir wines which we tasted are included in the extensive Pinot Noir listing in this web site, in the section "Wine Listings / West Coast - Pinot Noir".

RETROSPECTIVE.

This year we sampled a range of white and red wines, Fume Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet-Sauvignon and a Johannisberg Riesling. All the wines were very fine, and we rated them in the upper 80's and 90's.
  • Our preference for a white wine goes to the Chardonnay, Belle Terre Vineyard, 2000. It is a great bottle of wine, priced at $22, and which we rated 92. A bargain, in our opinion.
  • Our choice of the best red wine tasted in 2003 was the Cabernet-Sauvignon, Kenwood, Sonoma, 2000, which is priced at $27 and we rated 89.
  • Our "Best value for money" choice goes to the Fume Blanc, Sonoma County, 2001, which is priced at $13 and which received our rating of 88. This wine received the distinction of a Silver Medal at the 2003 Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
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There is a 10% discount for purchases of 6 to 11 bottles, and a 15% discount for purchases of 12 or more bottles.

For more information, visit: www.chateaustjean.com

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