Top Notch Pinot From a Historic Cali Vineyard

Today’s Story: Chanin Wine Co.

I previously wrote about Chanin back in April and May when I reviewed the 2014 Duvarita Vineyard Pinot Noir and 2015 Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay. However, the Bien Nacido Pinot has been on my radar for some time and I am excited to taste it today.

Chanin Wine Co. was established in 2007 by winemaker Gavin Chanin, and his goal is to produce single vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Santa Barbara County. Gavin selected the vineyards to source his fruit based on their organic (or at minimum sustainable) farming practices while also seeking older vines. The current vineyard selections include Sanford & Benedict in the Sta. Rita Hills, Los Alamos between the Santa Maria and Santa Ynez Valleys, Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley, and Duvarita just west of the Sta. Rita Hills. Gavin eschews higher alcohol levels in his wines to foster balance and finesse, while practicing gentle winemaking methods and avoiding additives such as commercial yeasts, bacteria, and enzymes. All of Chanin’s wines are bottled unfiltered and the labels feature his own artwork.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 2015 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir is translucent pale ruby in color. Once this opens up, the nose showcases aromas of baked cherry, black raspberry, brambly strawberry, rose, forest floor, dried green herbs, and mint. Meanwhile on the palate, I get notes of ripe red cherry, crunchy cranberry, boysenberry, sweet tobacco, sous bois, underbrush, and cinnamon. This is light- to medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (-) tannins, and a medium (+) length finish. 17 barrels produced.

Price: $55. I’d call this wine very appropriately priced, with an inclination to say it punches above its price due to the gorgeous purity of fruit, balance, and elegance. While distinctly Californian thanks to the ripe fruit character, the Burgundian flair and more traditional winemaking help this shine versus the competitors.

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