Truchard Vineyards in Carneros was founded in 1970s when Tony and Jo Ann Truchard started acquiring property with the hopes of someday starting vineyards. By the late 1970s they were growing grapes to some of Napa Valley’s premier wineries, but in 1989 they started producing their own wines. Today the 400-acre estate includes 280 acres of vineyards planted to a wide variety of grapes. Today the estate is run by Tony and Jo Ann’s son Anthony, and the winemaker is Sal De Ianni. Truchard produces a varied portfolio of wines from Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, to Roussanne and Chardonnay.
Carneros AVA, also known as Los Carneros, is at the southern end of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys at the top of the San Francisco Bay. The 8,000 vineyard acres are mostly planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both of which thrive in the district’s cool, marine climate. Carneros became an AVA in 1983 and it has attracted foreign wine companies along with local producers. It has been especially appealing to European producers of sparkling wines including the giant Spanish cava producers Codorniu and Frexinet, and the French Champagne house Taittinger. Codorniu in Carneros is called Artesa, and Frexinet’s Carneros brand is Gloria Ferrer. Taittinger calls its Carneros winery Domaine Carneros. The European producers also make still wines in Carneros.
The Merlot grape is such a deep blue that it is named for the blackbird. It’s an early ripening grape and one of the primary varietals used In Bordeaux. Merlot is also grown in the "International style," which is harvested later to bring out more tannins and body.