Truchard Vineyards: Wines from Carneros

By Robin Alix Austin

The Truchard story is a story about farming. Tony Truchard is a farmer, first and foremost – as described by his son Anthony, who visited Atlanta in March for the High Museum Wine Auction.

Truchard VineyardsDirt-coated fingernails, a pickup truck and long hours planting, tending and pruning – Anthony paints a vivid picture of his father. Even in his 70s, Tony is still out in the vineyards as often as possible, truly committed to the quality of his grapes.

Tony and Jo Ann Truchard were among the pioneers of grape growing in the Carneros region of Napa Valley. They purchased a 20 acre parcel of land there in 1974, and in 1989 established a winery producing wines made from estate-grown fruit. Today Truchard Estate Vineyard is 400 acres of which 270 are planted; in addition to making their own wine the Truchards sell grapes to more than 20 Napa Valley wineries. Winemaker Sal De Ianni joined the team in 1998.

Farming has always been a family affair. From the age of 10, Anthony and his brother John (who owns John Anthony Vineyards), were out in the vineyards with their father. This connection – to farming and family – is felt when you speak with Anthony. After sharing a glass of wine with Anthony and his wife Suzanne, you’ll feel like you’re a part of the Truchard family.

As any winemaker will tell you, good wine starts in the vineyard. The Truchard family puts as much care into crafting their wines as they do cultivating the grapes. Each bottle tells a story – of the terroir, the technique and the hands-on approach to making wines.

Among the many delicious Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that were tasted during the High Museum Wine Auction, the ones from Truchard Vineyards stood out.

Truchard ChardonnayThe 2011 Chardonnay is fresh and bright, with flavors of golden apple, ripe pear and Meyer lemon. Oak adds soft layers of vanilla and baking spices. The finish is crisp, with lingering citrus. ($30, 13.9% alcohol)

The 2010 Pinot Noir is supple and silky in the mouth, with berry aromas that expand on the palate. Plum, raspberry, strawberry and cherry cola mingle with flavors of black tea and vanilla, supported by gentle tannins and well-balanced acidity. ($35, 13.9% alcohol)

Following the High Museum Wine Auction, I had the opportunity to taste Truchard’s Syrah and Cabernet Franc.

Truchard Pinot NoirThe 2010 Syrah has rich flavors of blackberry and boysenberry, with cedar and earthy notes adding depth. Present tannins give the wine a pleasant mouthfeel, and the elegant finish has lingering vanilla and allspice. ($30, 14.3% alcohol)

The 2010 Cabernet Franc draws you in with intense black fruit and spice aromas. Mouth-filling flavors of black currant and plum give way to tobacco, black pepper and vanilla, culminating in a long and satisfying finish. ($35, 14.2% alcohol)

Deep ties to Carneros, a passion for farming and a dedication to expertly-crafted wines – the Truchard family’s story can be tasted in every bottle.

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Images from Truchard’s website