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In 1944, Chateau Souverain Winery founder J. Leland Lee Stewart harvested his first crop of wine grapes from his Howell Mountain property in Napa Valley. From the next vintage, he produced his own wines, surprising many by winning silver medals at the California State Fair for his Zinfandel and Pinot Noir. In the years that followed, Stewart used innovation and a natural gift for winemaking to establish Souverain as one of the great California wine brands. While the names, faces and location of the winery have changed, the tradition of fine-wine production continues at Chateau Souverain Winery today.
Nestled on a vineyard-covered hilltop overlooking the Alexander Valley, Chateau Souverain Winery was designed and built by architect John Marsh Davis in 1973. Constructed on 25 acres that now feature the winery’s estate vineyards, the inspiration for the design combined the feel of a French chateau with elements of the historic Sonoma hop kilns that were once common to the area. The design won Davis an American Institute of Architects Design of Excellence Award in 1974, and features two prominent towers. The first tower is home to the winery’s Tasting Room and gourmet restaurant, and presents exquisite views of the estate vineyards, the Alexander Valley and Mount St. Helena to the east.
The Alexander Valley is a grape growing appellation recognized as one of the top areas in the world for Bordeaux varietals, and provides Winemaker Ed Killian with fabulous fruit for his Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc wines. Killian chooses to blend fruit for his Chardonnay from the Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley and the cool-climate Carneros region to provide a rich wine that represents flavor profiles from those appellations within Sonoma County. The grapes for the Zinfandel are grown on old vines in Dry Creek Valley, with the exception of Chateau Souverain Winery newest addition to the family – the 2000 Alexander Valley Zinfandel Home Vineyard, which hails from an Estate grown vineyard in front of the restaurant.
With an acclaimed reputation for the restaurant and for his talent and flare for fine cuisine, Executive Chef, Martin Courtman offers a bistro-style menu that emphasizes all of the wine country’s elements in a single, unique dining experience. In his approach to pair Ed Killian’s wines with the menu, Chef Martin focuses on simplicity, while highlighting Sonoma County’s vast resources ranging from artisan cheeses, seafood, meats and free-range poultry, to locally grown fruits and vegetables. Chateau Souverain Winery invite you to sit back and enjoy the beautiful views as you savor Ed Killian’s wine paired with Martin Courtman’s culinary creations.
The 2000 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon shows a deep, ruby color with a purple rim and offers rich aromas of ripe blackberry, black cherry and vanilla on the nose. This well - structured wine fills the mouth with intense flavors of black cherry, coffee and spice that leads into subtle notes of vanilla and chocolate, which lasts throughout a long toasty oak finish.
Deep ruby in color with a soft purple hue, this Alexander Valley Merlot offers aromas of densely packed blueberry and ripe black cherry with a subtle back note of black pepper from the Petite Sirah. The 2001 vintage presents the beautiful and balanced fruit on the palate with a hint of brown spice, vanilla, caramel and roasted coffee, which comes from aging in oak barrels. A concentrated mouthfeel, together with a ripe tannin structure, is layered with moderate acidity that exudes the ripe fruit flavors together with a suppleness of oak that lingers throughout the long, velvety finish.
Deep ruby in color, this wine offers aromatics of plum, strawberry jam and hints of sweet tobacco and vanilla spice. In the mouth, the introduction of saturated fruit includes blackberry, plum and currant that mingles with back notes of cinnamon, clove and roasted coffee on the mid palate. As the fruit profile lingers through to the end, this structured wine delivers supple, round tannins for a long and complex finish.
The 2001 Sauvignon Blanc is a traditional Bordeaux-style wine offering aromatics of citrus and ripe green melon with a touch of mineral and dried herb notes. On the palate, this wine begins with crisp acidity and a zest of grapefruit that opens into bright floral and melon flavors. A well-balanced, juicy, mouth watering finish is complete with a soft, thick texture and slight oak spice.
This garnet red Zinfandel brings enticing aromas of raspberry, black cherry and red licorice to the nose with a hint of plum jam. As the fruit intensity transfers effortlessly to the palate, additional flavors of black pepper from the Petite Sirah, and mocha and brown spice from the 100 percent French oak hit the mid palate and mingle with the fruit as resolved tannins take this wine through a succulent and long finish.
Pale straw in color, exotic aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle and peach nectar release from the glass on the first swirl of this classic Rhone varietal. A light and elegant mouthfeel serves up delicate flavors of mandarin orange and ginger together with a slight back note of white peach that linger through the long, spicy finish.
Soft pink in color, this wine brings forward aromas of strawberry and rhubarb with a touch of citrus and floral notes in the nose. As the floral aromatics linger, the strawberry continues on the palate greeting ripe raspberry and crisp acidity that surround mineral and tangy citrus flavors that extend throughout a refreshingly dry finish.
Light straw in color, the 2002 Chenin Blanc offers a delicate nose reminiscent of sweet honeydew melon and rose petals. A hint of sweet pear and strawberry add to flavors that echo the fruity bouquet. This wine retains about 2% natural grape sugar, which adds a sweet depth and softness to the forward fruit, but is balanced by adequate acidity to lend a crisp impression to the finish.
The 2002 Sonoma County Chardonnay offers aromas of pear and citrus with a hint of smoke. Flavors of white peach from the Alexander Valley, pear from the Russian River Valley and citrus from the Carneros region blend harmoniously and transition to flavors of crème brûlée and cinnamon spice on the mid palate. The long, complex finish offers layers of honeycomb and spice as the lingering flavors of pear stay to the end.