Thursday, November 9, 2017

Chateau St. Jean/Treasury Wine Estates

This week we got in ten cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay from the historic Chateau St. Jean of Sonoma Valley, California.  Established in 1973, St. Jean has been a legendary producer of Chardonnay in particular; but also, courtesy of generous Wine Spectator magazine accolades, the Cinque Cepage Meritage Red has now become the winery's primary attraction.  None of this is really relevant though considering our ten cases are lower tier wines probably made from co-op juice at a facility unconnected to St. Jean.  It's all marketing, ya know.

Treasury Wine Estates is the current owner of Chateau St. Jean as of 2015.  Who are they?  Well, Treasury is an Australian company that basically owns all of the Australian wine labels marketed in this country excepting those owned by our own multi-national wine conglomerates.  Treasury also owns Beaulieu Vineyards, Sterling, Provenance, Sbragia, Rosenblum, Beringer, Stags Leap Winery, Etude, St. Clement and a whole lot more that are not household names.  A w-h-o-l-e lot more.

In 2015 Treasury basically bought the entire book of California wines belonging to Diageo, the English equivalent of Treasury.  Curiously, they bought the Acacia name but not the winery or vineyards which is what I thought was normal and customary for transactions on this scale.  Treasury did buy the vineyards belonging to most of the wineries listed above and that speaks well for them.  In fact Treasury has made a statement with this purchase.  They obviously believe in the future of our higher priced domestic wines in the world market.  Treasury intends to market heavily to Asia.

They also believe Diageo, a liquor company primarily, didn't exactly hoe the row properly in the wine business and having attended a Diageo tasting or two where all of the wines in the room tasted remarkably the same, I wholeheartedly agree.  This, of course, is the problem with mass marketers.  The wines all taste the same.

So Treasury plans to utilize two wineries to produce most of their wines.  Twenty dollar-plus wines will be made at Beringer in Napa while under twenty dollar wines will be made in Paso Robles.  Treasury Wine Estates, itself, is headquartered in Napa.  The great estate wines of Beaulieu and Sterling will continue to be made on the respective properties.

On Saturday November 11th from 1 to 3pm Brian Espanol holds court here with a tasting of California Red Blends.  On Thursday the 16th at 5pm Bob Reynolds does much the same and then on Saturday the 18th at 3pm David Rimmer returns with new French wines for us to sample.  Please join us for the tastings.

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