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2012 Chalone Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir

2012 Chalone Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir

92 Points - Wine Enthusiast
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Unctuous texture and vivid fruit flavors suggest wild cherry and cranberry. Scents of fragrant hibiscus flower and mountain sage mingle with complex earth and mineral notes from old vines rooted in Chalone Vineyard limestone terroir.

92 Points - Wine Enthusiast. "Smashed black plums, mulberry and alpine strawberry show through the crushed rocks on the nose of this bottling that is lifted by a tarragon spice. Tangy blackberry and elderberry show on the palate, where wild thyme, oregano and peppercorns contribute to an intriguing sense of depth." -MK
Winemaker Notes
“Voluptuous, ripe and complex” is how Winemaker Robert Cook describes the 2012 Estate Pinot Noir. The unctuous texture and vivid fruit flavors, suggesting wild cherry and cranberry, come from the cool growing season that ended in warm Indian-summer days. Scents of fragrant hibiscus flower and mountain sage mingle with complex earth and mineral notes from old vines rooted in Chalone Vineyard 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 cedar-plank-grilled salmon all pair with this versatile Pinot Noir. Paired with Pan Roast Brined Chicken, Sorrel Salad, Shallot-Glazed Purple Dragon Carrots, Warm Brown-Butter Sage Vinaigrette This Pinot Noir showcases focused red fruits of pomegranate and cranberry combined with subtle rose petals, sage bush and dry tea leaves. Its savory undertones pair well with the Pan Roasted Chicken, while the Sorrel Salad and Dragon Carrots are a nice complement to the Pinot Noir’s concentration, intensity and refinement. - Robert Smith, Master Sommelier
100% Pinot Noir
Wine Specs
Pinot Noir
Chalone AVA
Harvest Date
August 31 to October 2
6.3 g/L
9 months of aging in 100% French oak, 15% new barrels
Alcohol %
Wine Enthusiast
Production Notes
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. The 2012 vintage was just about perfect in every way. It gave us both good quality and normal yields, rewarding us for our struggle through the two previous vintages, both challenging. The growing season began with a frost-free spring and excellent conditions for flowering and berry set. Our Pinot Noir vines ripened their clusters slowly and evenly through the season’s moderate temperatures, which led to exceptionally ripe fruit flavors with outstanding balance.
Vineyard Notes
Our 2012 Estate Pinot Noir celebrates the structure and flavor complexity imparted by old vines budded to heritage clones. Robert 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.

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