Chardonnay, Sonoma. 1981. Gundlach – Bundschu

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | October 1982

Jacob Gundlach left Bavaria for San Francisco in 1850, and came around the horn. Charles Pundschu arrived from Germany in 1862, and became a partner of Jacob in his 400 acre vineyard and winery near Sonoma. Their business grew rapidly and they soon had a bottling plant and warehouse at Second and Market streets in San Francisco. Their wines were immensely popular. They established an agency in New York and exported world-wide. Awards were won at lairs in Philadelphia, Paris, Guatemala and many other American cities.

Disaster struck on April 18,1906. the San Francisco earthquake and fire wiped out in one day what took 50 years to build. Fortunately the vineyard and winery were intact. By September a new enterprise was rising from the ashes, and within a few years they were again producing award winning wines.

In 1919 came the final crushing blow: Prohibit­ion. The winery was forced to sloe its doors, and the company was dissolved. 100 acres were converted to pears, and the rest of the grape acreage was farmed for the “juice grape” market, even after repeal.

The story of the winery picks up again on Halloween in 1970. The great-great grandson and two in-laws were chatting over a glass of home made wine, when they decided to reopen the winery. Their first wine was produced in 1973, and since then they have done their ancestors proud with the quality of wines being marketed in limited quantities. I was particu­larly impressed with this 1981 Sonoma Chardonnay.

The “homeland” for the Chardonnay grape or Pinot Chardonnay is Burgundy, France. (If such a derivation must be made). At its best, this noblegrape produces a white wine that is dry, full bodied, with a fragrant varietal character that has ageing potential. The complexities of age are butteriness and deep fragrance. A worthwhile quest.

Our wine is golden yellow in color. It has a typical varietal fruity aroma with depth to it. The taste is fruity to start, crisp, medium bodied, and soon shows the oak base. The flavor just lingers on. Serve with broiled or poached seafood, poultry. I also like it with Fettucine Alfredo.

Cellaring Notes: Will develop and become more complex in 3 to 5 years.

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