Over the last few years I’ve become very fond in general of the wines from Clos LaChance. Their focus on high quality fruit, combined with a multi-tiered approach that offers cuvée style wines as well as single vineyard and sometimes block designates is conceptually appealing. But more importantly they execute very well on that idea and are an excellent producer for a wine lover who wants multiple options at different price points. This is fun for comparative tasting as well as it is for those who may start drinking at a general tier and eventually move on to higher end wines. Having a reliable producer you know to purchase a bottle aimed at a special occasion or gift is also important. Taking that into account, it certainly made sense for me to taste some wines from Clos LaChance for The 12 Days of Pinot Noir. The first selection is the Clos LaChance 2007 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir. This wine is produced exclusively from Santa Cruz Mountains fruit. Barrel aging was accomplished over 14 months in French oak; 40% was new, 60 % was used. 1,960 cases of this offering were produced and the suggested retail price is $32.
A lovely black cherry hue makes an impression when this wine is poured. The nose is loaded with aromas of wild strawberry and vanilla gelato. Crushed red and black fruit along with light mushroom and nutmeg spice notes make up the palate. Black tea leaves, sour cherry, dusty earth, light espresso notes, cinnamon, cardamom and touches of cola make up the generous finish of this Pinot Noir. Fine tannins and firm acidity frame this offering. It drinks quite well on its own and will pair with roast pork loin, grilled chorizo or a host of other foods.
The second selection is the 2006 Biagini Vineyard Pinot Noir. The fruit for this selection comes from Ted Biagini’s 11 acre vineyard. 4 clones of Pinot were planted there in 1998. Barrel aging was accomplished over 14 months in French oak. The suggested retail price for this selection is $50.
Dark fruit notes waft invitingly from the nose of this single vineyard Pinot Noir. Strawberry, raspberry and black cherry characteristics are all apparent in the palate along with an underlying hint of cranberry. White pepper, black tea, hints of licorice, cherry cola and chicory are all part of a long, lingering finish punctuated by spice notes until the very end. This Pinot has excellent structure and firm acidity.
What I really like about these wines is that they are each full flavored and balanced. This has been a hallmark of the Clos LaChance wines I’ve had and one of the things I look for and count on in their wines. Both of these selections will drink well for a number of years. The Biagini is particularly suited to aging and I expect it will improve over 6-7 years and drink well for several more after that. Clos LaChance has become a go to producer of fine wine for me. I hope you too give them a chance and I suspect you’ll find a winery that consistently produces lovely wines at a fair price.