2013 Chalone Vineyard Estate Pinot Blanc, Chalone AVA
92 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Intriguing minerality draws you into our 2013 Estate Pinot Blanc, as does its full body and unctuous silky texture. Filled with pear, honeysuckle and almond notes, this beautifully balanced, dry wine neatly ties up all the elements on the long finish. “In addition to the wet stone minerality, I find a fresh note that brings memories of my grandmother’s linens drying in the sun,” says Winemaker Robert Cook. “I credit the limestone soils for this Pinot Blanc’s ability to become more complex with several years of bottle aging.”
Food Pairing Notes
Play with pairings for this wine. Our favorites include butternut squash ravioli with Marsala cream sauce; smoky, spit-roasted chicken; spice-rubbed pork loin; or herb-crusted sea bass on a bed of bacon-sautéed kale; Paired with Fresh Burrata with Compressed Watermelon & Verbena Salad. This Pinot Blanc has delicate, yet rich orchard fruits of Seckel Pear & Gravenstein Apple which pair wonderfully with the Watermelon & Verbena Salad. The Burrata is remarkably matched with the wine’s almond skin and sublime floral airs of honeysuckle. - Robert Smith, Master Sommelier
100% Pinot Blanc
September 12 and 13, 2013
9 months of barrel aging 60% in three to four-year-old French oak barrels 40% in stainless steel barrels
Barrel fermentation, with bâtonnage, enhanced this wine’s naturally rich, silky mouthfeel.
We hand picked the grapes at night under floodlights and immediately pressed the cool clusters to fully preserve their fresh, vibrant flavors. We fermented sixty percent of the juice in two- to three-year-old French oak barrels to develop rich, toasty aromatics and mouthfeel, with the balance in stainless steel barrels to retain lively fruit expression. The wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation because Robert prefers to keep its crisp, tartaric acid balance. We stirred the yeast (bâtonnage) until the wine completed fermentation, to further enhance the silky texture and flavor complexity, and then we barrel aged the wine for nine months. A warm, dry spring and nearly ideal summer temperatures followed a very low-rainfall winter in 2013. While we worried about water, these factors resulted in balanced vines, excellent fruit set and small, concentrated grapes. “We had perfect weather during the very condensed harvest,” says Robert. “I spent nights up at our mountain-top winery so I could begin crushing again at sunrise. All the varieties ripened at once! However, those brilliantly clear, cool nights—paired with optimum daytime temperatures—fostered beautifully balanced wines.”
The thin, limestone-rich soils of Chalone Vineyard produce low yields of grapes bursting with rich, intense flavors and impeccable balance. 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 name of the Chalone American Viticultural Area (AVA), like that of the winery, comes from the name of a tribe of Native Americans who once inhabited this isolated area.
Only 650 cases produced.