French Colombard

Quick question - with the increasing interest of grapes from ‘yesteryear’, anyone know of anyone making a straight ‘French Colombard’ here in CA these days?


McNab Ridge Winery up in Mendocino. I believe their fruit is from the original Parducci vines. they produce a lovely dry Colombard.

I can remember when Beringer French Colombard was one of the biggest selling white wines on the market (late 70s/early 80s). And I mean ‘Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay’ big -

Parducci was right behind it. Doesn’t seem to be a lot of vines left -

Yannick Rousseau, a Frenchman from Gascony

Buena Vista makes a lovely Russian River Valley Colombard.

Well, Larry…most of the Calif Colombards you see these days are used in various old-timey blends.
The classic FrenchColombard was the Chalone OldVine from the CyrilSaviez vnyd up on the SilveradoTrail. It was pretty good…but nothing that would compel
you to plant Fr.Colombard. Probably should be able to track down a few btls. This was, of course, back when Chalone made some good wines under
Dick & Peter Graff.
Look to Carlisle & Bedrock for some of the better blends.
MattRorick/ForlornHope has planted (for him) some GreenHungarian in the SuisanVlly. Look for great GH in the future from Matt.

Thanks Ryan! We may have a few bottles left at the Historic Tasting Room.

Tom Blackwood
Buena Vista General Manager

It has been a few years since I’ve had one, but I remember this wine being very solid.

Woodenhead in RRV also does a French Colombard that they pour in their tasting room.

I was mistakenly thinking of the Berthoud Pagani Ranch Chassalas Doré…

bump: now I am curious

I don’t know any in CA but I did find one in Texas with grapes grown in New Mexico. McPherson Cellars has second label called Chansa they released a very tasty colombard. Unfortunately you’ll have to come to Texas to buy it, Texas can only ship Texas wine with Texas grapes out of state. Dumb laws.

There was a winery in Sonoma, up in the hills, that Chalone bought. I can’t think of the name. Chalone later eliminated the brand later. I think they used to have one.

Trail Marker Wines makes one from Green Valley Vineyard in Solano County:

Not CA, but worth trying trying the Aussie wine ‘La Biondina’ by Primo Estate. I do reckon the winemaker Joe Grilli must have a related business manufacturing silk purses from porcine offcuts!

My dad had a liquor store during the late 60s, early 70s, and was not much of a wine drinker. But the one wine he kept around for 'special occasions was the Weibel Green Hungarian. It was his favorite wine for thanksgiving turkey and the like.

And he always told the customer; “You will like this wine with Turkey, it’s nice and sour!”

So, when the store would get busy, me at the tender age of 12 would recommend it to all the customers - I would always tell them; “My dad says it’s nice and sour - perfect with turkey!”

Larry, a search in CT for California Colombard 2013 yielded this (Unfortunately I don’t have any personal experience with any of these):

2013 Buena Vista Colombard French Colombard Russian River Valley
2013 Buena Vista Colombard The Count’s Selection
2013 McNab Ridge French Colombard Niemi Vineyard
2013 Peju Province Winery French Colombard Carnival
2013 Trinafour French Colombard Casa Verde Vineyard
2013 Vintage Reserve International Colombard
2013 Vintage Reserve International French Colombard
2013 Vintage Reserve International Pinot Chardonnay Colombard
2013 Woodenhead Colombard “Halfshell White”
2013 Woodenhead Colombard Limited Reserve Wes Cameron
2013 Y Rousseau Colombard Old Vines

Happy hunting!

Carmenet, it was pretty tasty. I think Pam Starr was the winemaker there.

That’s the name I was trying to think of! Thanks. As I recall, it was some very old vines on someone’s ranch. Probably grafted to merlot in the 90s.[cry.gif]

Yannick’s is the best I’ve seen, and he’s been at it for a while. He’s got several very nice wines and is beginning to get the attention and success he has long deserved. Anyone going through Napa should seek him out while he’s still humble, self-effacing and available. I know how these things go…

FWIW, he was making the Colombard a few years before the oddball varieties became en vogue, I believe because of its attachment to his native lands. He also makes a very nice Tannat for the same reason. Great guy.


Jepson winery in Mendocino use to make a nice one. Now Jepson is Jaxon Keyes part of the Wilson group of wineries and don’t know if they make a FC. Second Woodenhead, very nice. Ravenswood also made one in the past but no recent knowledge. I have heard brandy makers (Germain Robin) covet FC and pay a premium for it.