VGS Chateau Potelle

JNVineyardsJean-Noel Fourmeaux, 3rd generation winemaker from Bordeaux, was an official taster for the French government in 1980 when the famous Judgment of Paris proved that California wine quality had become world-class.  The French A.O.C (Appellation d’Origine Controlee) sent him to California to find out what the New World winemakers were doing.  As he says, “I came, I stayed!” Rather than being constrained by the traditions that exist in France, he chose to be creative in making wine and became part of the California winemaking experience.

The original Chateau Potelle was founded on the Mt. Veeder sub-appellation of Napa Valley in 1980 and Fourmeaux built a reputation for high quality wines that are complex, layered yet balanced. Fast forward to 2007, when Fourmeaux sold that property and decided to become a boutique winery creating limited production wines.  Still focused on Mt. Veeder mountain grapes, the re-christened “VGS Chateau Potelle” wines include highly-acclaimed VGS Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Often philosophic, Fourmeaux is passionate about the source of his grapes. “Our vision at Chateau Potelle is to produce wines with style and character that are representative of their birth place. Like for each of us, our "roots" provide us with a unique culture, a set of mores and traditions...a style and character. Our job as winemaker is to respect and exploit the unique qualities of our "roots"... to craft wines with a sense of style and character.”

In April, 2013, Fourmeaux opened the VGS Tasting House & Garden in St. Helena. He invites his guests to “come to a place that reflects the style of our wines … elegant, restrained and extremely well done in all details. A place in which our attitude resonates throughout … fun, easy and sometimes irreverent but never pretentious.”  This newly remodeled “cottage,” with limited seating, showcases VGS wines paired with food bites from the Michelin star awarded La Toque Restaurant.  

His sense of humor is always in evidence.  The Illegitimate, a delicious red wine blend that is a favorite among his fans, is a perfect example.  “I had the audacity to blend Zinfandel and Syrah with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This is not done in France.  In fact, making such a blend in France is illegal!  Naming this wine ‘The Illegitimate’ seemed the right thing to do.”