2012 Chalone Vineyard Estate Pinot Blanc, Chalone AVA
The steady, relaxed 2012 harvest season was a winemaker’s dream. “Ideal ripening temperatures gave the grapes abundant fruit character, which is reflected in our Pinot Blanc’s exceptionally generous layers of pear, nectarine and honeysuckle,” explains Winemaker Robert Cook. “Complex nuances of toasted hazelnut and wet stone minerality mingle with an intriguing note that I like to describe as freshly washed linens drying in the sun.” This wine’s full body and unctuous, silky texture set it apart.
Food Pairing Notes
It goes with many foods: Spice-rubbed, roasted chicken or pork; paella with shrimp and fennel sausage; and smoked salmon ravioli are a few of our favorites.
100% Pinot Blanc
8 months in 50% French oak and 50% Stainless Steel
We picked the grapes at night under floodlights and immediately pressed the cool clusters to fully preserve their fresh, intense flavors. We fermented half of the juice in three-year-old French oak barrels to develop rich, toasty aromatics and mouthfeel, with the balance in stainless steel barrels to retain vibrant fruit expression. The wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation because Robert prefers to keep its crisp acid balance. During the first month of eight months of barrel aging, we stirred the yeast (bâtonnage) to further enhance the wine’s rich, silky mouthfeel. The 2012 vintage was just about perfect in every way. The growing season began with a frost-free spring and excellent conditions for flowering and berry set. The resulting normal-sized crop was welcomed after the very small yields in 2011. Our Pinot Blanc vines ripened their clusters slowly and evenly through summer’s moderate temperatures, which led to rich, ripe flavors with balanced acidity.
To protect our unique mountain-plateau site, we farm it as naturally as possible. We believe that the key to sustainable farming is the number of footprints in the vineyard, and our wine quality reflects this constant care. This wine comes from a 12-acre Pinot Blanc vineyard that we planted in 1991, using budwood taken from a spectacular 1946 planting on our mountain estate. The thin, limestone-rich soils produce low yields of grapes bursting with rich, intense flavors and impeccable balance.
Only 650 cases produced