Friday, September 24, 2010

Exploring Chatom Vineyards in Calaveras County's Gold Country

A few weeks ago I was up in the Sierra foothills and dropped in on a few wineries, the first was Irish Vineyards which I have been to many times (great wines!) and the second was Chatom Vineyards. The winery and tasting room are just two miles west of historic Murphys, off of Highway 4 and just up the road from Irish Vineyards. 

Although all their wines come from their estate vineyards, the vines are not located at the winery. The vineyard is in the breathtaking Esmeralda Valley of Calaveras County, in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California. 

The vineyard of Chatom Vineyards are owned by Gay Callan, who purchased the property in 1980. Her first varietals planted in 1981 were Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc and today she has 13 varietals planted on 65 acres including Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, Sangiovese as well as Portuguese varietals including Tinta Cão, Souzão, Alvarelhão and Touriga Nacional.

All of their wines were fine and I especially enjoyed the 2007 Semillon ($16) which I bought and had with dinner the following evening with some friends. It has distinct floral aromas with lemon and honeysuckle, crisp acidity and a chalky minerality.

I also enjoyed the 2007 Touriga Nacional ($24), the 2006 Zinfandel ($19) and I tasted side by side the 2005 Syrah ($23) which was barrel aged for 18 months and the 2005 Esmeralda Syrah ($34) barrel aged for 24 months.

For more information check out their web site ( or call them at: (800) 435-8852