Souverain’s history dates to 1944 when J. Leland Stewart harvested his first crop from his vineyard near Howell Mountain. Stewart focused on making Cabernet Sauvignon, and for several decades his Cabs were widely admired by those who believed that California could produce world class wine. Stewart sold the winery to investors in 1973, staying on for almost a decade as winemaking consultant. At the time of the sale, the estate moved to Alexander Valley, where it remains today. In 1986 the estate was sold to Beringer and the word “Chateau” was added to the name. Ed Killian was hired as an associate winemaker in 1992 and since 1996 he has been head winemaker. Souverain owns a 120-year old estate vineyard of about 280 acres. Souverain produces Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sonoma County is not an AVA, but it is a commonly used informal designation for wines made outside of more specific AVAs within Sonoma, which is a large wine producing region just west of Napa Valley. Though Sonoma is often overshadowed by its glamorous neighbor Napa Valley, it has a long history of wine production. The area specialized in jug wine until the mid-20th century, when Sonoma producers took a cue from Napa and started improving quality. Unlike Napa, where Cabernet Sauvignon is king, Sonoma specialized in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, though excellent Cabs are produced too. There are at present 16 AVAs within Sonoma County, and, like much of the West Coast of the United States, new AVAs are created in Sonoma County with regularity. Some Sonoma appellations, such as the Russian River Valley, are renowned for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
One of the most widely grown grape varieties, it can be found in nearly every wine growing region. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a hardy vine that produces a full-bodied wine with high tannins and great aging potential.