Wine Talk

Snooth User: dmcker

Yea how the mighty have fallen

Posted by dmcker, Oct 21, 2015.

Dick Graff's plane-crash death in the latter '90s and lesser successors to him both in vision and winemaking skill made Chalone's sale to Diageo last decade unfortunate but not too surprising. Diageo, of course, doesn't seem to care about vision and great winemaking, or winemaking at all for that matter, and is currently getting out of the business. Treasury down in Oz recognized an opportunity and had the cash.

But wait! Diageo had ground Chalone into such small grist (cheaper winemaking, overproduction, assbackwards management and myopic vision) that even Treasury doesn't want it amongst all the other Diageo CA properties--one assumes because its marketing 'brand' had fallen low, compared to many others that have been resting on their laurels for decades but still kept the brand fresh (didn't hurt that those others are in Napa while Chalone's off alone in the Pinnacles, down Monterey way). Certainly the terroir and plants haven't lost their potential, but perhaps Treasury isn't interested in relatively light rebuilding work but only in supposedly sure, easy-marketing labels, even though they've historically been lessers to Chalone.

One of the absolute top fingers-of-one hand-wineries in CA back in the mid '70s thru early '90s, who helped create the reputation and demand for all CA wine, has now dropped to the level that the boys and girls from Oz can diss it. What's wrong with this picture?

Here's a nutshell summary of the story. Lots it doesn't tell, of course...



Reply by JonDerry, Oct 22, 2015.

Not many more opportunities to buy the old Chalonepinot Pinot's I see. Though I did notice an '83 Pinot on winebid, and a good friend of mine put up an encouraging note on CT back in 2010.

Reply by dmcker, Oct 22, 2015.

Last vertical I had was '80 thru '84 PN reserve, five and a half years ago. They showed little sign of flagging then, far from it, and a couple were not yet near their peak. Haven't tasted any since then, unfortunately, because that was the last of my stock.  :-(

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