Backhouse Chardonnay 2020
Backhouse are a brand owned by O’Neill Vintners, one of California’s most successful producers of commercial Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They operate slightly differently to the traditional model of estate grown, small production, traditional winemaking. Their facility is built for scale and as such they’re able to produce extremely high quality and very good value wine at quantity.
Founded in 2004 by Jeff O’Neill, whose family have winemaking firmly in the blood, his goal when setting the winery up was to come at things a little differently. His wish was to create powerful and successful wine brands, where the onus was on creating incredible relationships, empowering a devoted workforce and building wines at any scale.
The Backhouse brand was created to pay homage to an old vineyard house that acted as an inspiration and getaway for writers, artists and vintners who needed to recharge. The wines are fruit forward and designed for the everyday, as opposed to the cellar.
O’Neill have access to a large selection of estate and grower vineyards, which allows their wines to capture the specific essence they’re looking for. With Backhouse, fruit ripeness, balance and elegance are key, and it’s amazing how varietal their wines are for the price.
As Jeff puts it…
“At the end of the day, we focus on building trust and creating strong partnerships. What we’ve found is the more we can empower people, the more we can accomplish, and the more we can take care of the consumer - the reason for our growth in a relatively flat industry is that we keep giving the consumer what they want - we’re constantly pushing to create the best wine possible”
The Backhouse wines are a perfect introduction to Californian winemaking - they’re round, ripe and very well made, and represent quite staggering value for money.