The Graff Family began working in Chalone in the early 60s, with Dick Graff as the driving force behind the Chalone Vineyard, building, with the support of his brothers and a gaggle of stockholders, the original 1919 planting to international fame. After selling the Chalone group and Dick’s untimely death in a plane crash, the family’s land holdings have shrunk progressively to just this 160 acre parcel, owned by Dave Graff and his children. On those 160 acres is a small 3 acre vineyard planted in 1989 to Syrah, Mourvédre and Melon de Bourgogne. The site has depleted, granitic soils. The Melon de Bourgogne in Chalone was originally thought to be Pinot Blanc. Dick Graff distributed cuttings of these vines as far as Oregon. In the 1970s, a visiting ampelographer correctly identified the vines as Melon de Bourgogne. These vines were selected from the older ‘Pinot Blanc’ planting and can legally be labeled as either (but we like accuracy).
The wine comes from a tiny parcel of 30+ year old Melon planted on depleted granitic soils. The warm days and cold nights of the Chalone AVA produce a perfect balance of concentration and acidity, which Ian Brand amplifies with a few days of skin contact. The pure aromas of light peach, pear and gardenia are slightly toasty on the nose. The palate is defined by lemon-skin and grapefruit-pith grip, with a touch of baked apple in the midpalate.