Meet the Winemaker, Ondine Chattan
May 07, 2020
Meet the Winemaker Ondine Chattan, Head Winemaker of
Winemaking remarkably encompasses nature, science, technology, literature, art, culture, design, cuisine, fashion, and compassion—all disciplines I love. Wine is also about making connections. From vineyard to cellar to bottle to shelf to table, wine brings people together and ties both producer and consumer to the earth, the cycles of time, and the seasons. This is what drew me to winemaking.
I am a wanderer, and the Share A Splash sourcing ideology aligns well with my sense of adventure and discovery. In addition to our Sonoma home region, we source from diverse appellations throughout California with a particular focus on coastal territories that share our Sustainable Sonoma philosophy.
From the benches of Mendocino to the slopes of Lake County, the rolling hills of Livermore to the highlands and valleys of the Monterey basin, and the cuestas of Paso Robles to the glens of Solano, we find alluring parcels and experienced growers and suppliers who share our Sustainable Sonoma philosophy and mindset. Working across multiple regions gives us an excellent perspective on the California wine industry, keeps us abreast of emerging industry developments and trends, and provides us a broad knowledge base to draw upon. It also allows me to seek out and share with consumers the strengths and unique aspects of these varied localities.
On a personal front, making connections around the state is rewarding and gratifying. I frequently bump into a fellow Sonoma winemakers while walking the expansive vineyards of San Benito or elsewhere afield. It’s a welcome, bonding experience. It’s also a treat to immerse in the local color, traditions, dialects, and even myth and folklore of various regions within the state, and I aim to incorporate these experiences into my winemaking. An example of this is our sourcing Cabernet for the Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon from regions as far-flung as Mendocino and Paso Robles. The welcoming, disarming, boisterous, and generous nature of the Paso Robles grower translates into the full-bodied, juicy and textural components of the wine while the understated, easygoing, quietly confident persona of the Mendocino farmer is expressed in the wine’s refined structure and graceful tannin finish.
At Share a Splash, we endeavor to collectively tell a story, share a perspective, and encapsulate that sentiment in a bottle. Getting the wine into the bottle is only the beginning of forging the connection to our amazing consumers and devotees. Reaching the consumer is the completion of the cycle and the culmination of our efforts.
When you see Cannonball or Angels & Cowboys or High Dive on the shelf or wine list our hope is that our fun-loving, inclusive, artistic, attainably indulgent point of view is conveyed and entices you to try the wine. In the bottle, our stylistic message is one of distinctive, luscious, juicy, fruit-driven wine laced with the elegance of French oak and framed in refined tannins. It aims to deliver an engaging and gratifying tasting experience as well as extend an invitation to accompany us in the lifestyle and mindset of Share a Splash.
Q: What is a day like being head winemaker?
In a word, magical. I live in an exquisite pastoral environment and work among like-minded individuals. Any given day presents opportunities to taste wines in various stages of production, strategize on blends and wine concepts, enhance style through trials, visit with growers, walk the vineyards and provide input into their cultivation. I also assist in the creation of the brand message, taste and share our story with clients, meet with vendors to learn about new products and technology, visit new potential vineyard sources, assess laboratory results, and even balance inventory against demand. It is a diverse profession that allows for a wide range of responsibilities.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration from?
Several places for sure but most importantly, from my winegrowing community. In Sonoma County, we enjoy a mutuality and certainty of purpose where we embrace sustainability and authenticity. I aim to share a sense of the place where we grow the grapes and make the wine and a sense of our community’s collective consciousness. I am also inspired by the purity of flavors in the grape varieties themselves and endeavor to present those flavors in various ways: be it bold and direct—no translation needed-or subtle and layered, unfolding slowly.
I am reminded daily that wine itself is a living, ever-changing product. Being part of that entire lifecycle and driving significant portions of it is very fulfilling and romantic. Ultimately our brands are a deep reflection of the vision of all those who participate in making them, an amalgam of people, places, and time.
CANNONBALL ELEVEN SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY 2017
“…Opens with ripe white peach, baked red apple, lemon meringue and toasted almonds with leesy notes. Medium-bodied with ripe savory fruits and a honey-nut character in the mouth, it has a creamy-textured, flavorful finish.” – 91PTS, Wine Advocate
CANNONBALL CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017
“Soft plum nose; juicy and savory with bright plum fruit and a hint of ripe sweetness; smooth, lush and long with balance and style.” – 90PTS, Tasting Panel
ANGELS & COWBOYS ROSÉ 2019
The bouquet opens with ripe mango and citrus zest aromas with enticing savory herbs. These aromas lead to flavors of white peach, nectarine, and fresh raspberry with lingering notes of lavender and Granny Smith apples. The weight is delicate and light with a subtle creaminess to balance enticing racy acidity.
ANGELS & COWBOYS PROPRIETARY RED 2017
“Deep ruby color; juicy, fresh and luscious with crisp acidity and generous, rich fruit and smooth texture; long and balanced.” – 91PTS, Tasting Panel
HIGH DIVE BORDEAUX BLEND NAPA VALLEY 2015
“Soft and luscious with elegant, tangy blackberry and cassis; smooth, rich, and deep with an exquisite velvety texture; an impressive, complex blend of all the Bordeaux varieties, save Malbec.” – 95PTS, Tasting Panel
ASTROLABE MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018
“Vibrant and powerful lemon, freshly grated ginger and Key lime notes are succulent and juicy on a smooth frame. Fresh acidity turns up the volume on the pure fruit flavors.” – 90PTS, Wine Spectator
New from New Zealand: Astrolabe Design Refresh
“With a new generation now involved, we felt it was time to make an update. We don’t have a hierarchical range with entry, reserve and premium, but rather each wine is made in a different style or from a different terroir. We wanted the labels to better tell that story. Astrolabe has always been a small family producer, but now we have made that clearer by including ‘Waghorn family wines’ on many of the labels as well as returning Simon’s signature, which was on the first release of an Astrolabe wine. Our goal was to ensure that the packaging reflects the high quality that we have become known for.” Pictured: Simon and Jane Waghorn with daughters Arabella and Libby.