Chatom Vineyards from “A Long Pour”
Exerpt from A Long Pour, alongpour.com, read full story at: http://alongpour.com/0218/chatom-vineyards/
The winery, Chatom Vineyards, is the vision of the proprietor Gay Callan, who moved to the Esmeralda Valley in Calaveras County in 1980. A native of San Francisco, Gay has helped establish a name for both herself and the Sierra Foothills, even when others thought she was nuts. Chatom’s website comments that “the majority of the local ranchers thought she was completely crazy for planting a vineyard in the Esmeralda Valley”. Like John Sweazey of Anaba Wines who we profiled two weeks ago, Gay has a background not in agriculture, but technology and marketing, making here solo move to the remote region even more intriguing. However, over the years, the region has gained recognition with wine enthusiasts and Chatom has risen as one of the finest names in Sierra Foothill wines.
The road has been a long but rewarding one for Gay. The vineyard was first planted in 1981, but it was not until 1990 that she decided to add a tasting room and winery on the premises. A full winery facility would not be completed until 1998, allowing all of Chatom’s wines to be produced on the estate. Judging from what I tasted at Chatom’s quaint tasting room, the results were worth the efforts. My only regret with Gay’s wines is that I did not buy more.
The prominent role of women at Chatom has been a point of distinction and it was with this in mind that Chatom’s She Wines line was released in the early 2000’s. Starting with a white blend and later adding a red (of which I bought several bottles of the 2005 vintage), part of the proceeds go to breast cancer research as well as the fight against women’s heart disease, the number one killer of women in the US. The 2005 Red blend, was a masterful blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, petit syrah, and sangiovese and was full of fruit goodness and spice.
Over all, I was highly impressed with the region and am anxious to return. The long history of the region, the sweeping hills and majestic oak trees make for a wonderful tasting experience.
Currently, Chatom Vineyards works with 13 varietals planted on 65 acres, including Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, Sangiovese and others.
1969 Highway 4, Murphys, CA 95229