Founded in 1978 by Steve Kistler, Kistler Vineyards produces some of California’s most admired Chardonnay. Located in the Russian River Valley, Kistler’s Burgundian style Chardonnays have achieved a “Cult Chardonnay” status because of their traditional style and extraordinary, Grand Cru character. Recently Kistler Vineyards has also won accolades for its Pinot Noir, which Robert M. Parker Jr. predicts may eventually be even more profound and admired than the winery’s Chardonnays. But whether they are making Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, Kistler Vineyards’ wines are always highly rated and hard to acquire. The winery owns 210 acres, which it plants to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Annual production is generally under 10,000 cases. Kistler wines are usually available only through its mailing list.
Sonoma Coast AVA runs from San Pablo Bay in the south to Mendocino County in the north. It includes 7,000 vineyard acres and earned AVA status in 1987. Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean means it gets double the rainfall of nearby inland appellations and the ocean gives the appellation a relatively cool climate. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir can thrive in these conditions, and there are numerous producers making critically acclaimed Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
This white variety originated in Burgundy, but is now grown around the world. Its flexibility to thrive in many regions translates to wide flavor profile in the market. Chardonnay is commonly used in making Champagne and sparkling wines.