2013 Chalone Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir, Chalone AVA (1.5L Magnum)
92 Points - Wine Enthusiast
This vintage’s perfectly ripened grapes gave our 2013 Chalone Estate Pinot Noir its vivid fruit character—reminiscent of wild cherry and blueberry—with fragrant hints of rose petal, hibiscus flower and mountain sage. Enticing undertones of earth and mineral come from old vines rooted in Chalone Vineyard’s limestone terroir. Integrated spices from French oak barrels add even more complexity, while the silky tannins and balanced acidity provide graceful structure.
Food Pairing Notes
Braised lamb shanks with cumin, pork tenderloin with sage stuffing and grilled salmon are fabulous pairings.
100% Pinot Noir
10 months in 100% French oak, 20% new barrels
The grapes were hand harvested at night and destemmed into small stainless steel tanks. The must was cold soaked for five days for gentle extraction and then fermented at 85° F, with punch-downs to resuspend the cap of skins. Extended maceration brought the total skin contact time to 18 days. Following pressing in an enclosed membrane press, the wine was transferred to French oak barrels for in-barrel malolactic fermentation and nine months of aging.
Year after year, despite the differences in weather patterns, our Estate Pinot Noir exemplifies the impeccable structure and flavor complexity imparted by old vines budded to heritage clones. Winemaker Robert Cook selected 25 percent of the blend from an estate vineyard that was planted in 1972 and budded to our heritage Macwood Pinot Noir clone. The Macwood clone brings hints of earthiness and elegant structure to the wine, which Robert says contributes an Old World complexity. The balance of the vineyard blocks—all of significant age—includes more plantings of the heritage clone, as well as several Dijon and Pommard clones. The Dijon clones contribute brightness and pronounced fruit character, while the Pommard clone adds hibiscus-flower notes and structured tannins. 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.”