Today The 12 Days of Pinot Noir goes into overtime. This was necessitated by a larger than anticipated number of tasty wines worth reporting on. The next stop is the Edna Valley. Chamisal Vineyards was the first winery that planted in Edna Valley that was back in 1973. Since that time they’ve seen a lot of changes. That included being dormant for several years, a renaming to Domaine Alfred in the early 90’s and more recently new ownership that rechristened it Chamisal Vineyards once again. Pinot Noir plays a large role in their production and today I’ll look at two of their current releases. First up is the Chamisal Vineyards 2007 Edna Valley Pinot Noir. This wine is produced using estate fruit. They have 10 clones planted, and 9 made their way into this offering. Barrel aging was accomplished over 14 months in French oak; 40% was new. 2,140 cases of this selection were produced and the suggested retail price is $38.
Black cherry and underlying spice notes are the most prominent characteristics to leap from the nose of this wine. The palate is layered with intense dark fruit that never stops coming and attacking your senses; but it doesn’t stray over the top either. Firm black tea notes, plum pudding spice and dark berry fruit that continues to echo, make up the generous finish. Velvety tannins and bracing acidity mark this wines structure.
What I like about this wine is that it’s a fine example of a bigger style of the Pinot that still retains the balance and varietal character that are both so important to this grape. This offering will drink well over the next 3-5 years.
The second wine today is the Chamisal Vineyards 2007 Califa Pinot Noir. This selection is made from estate fruit and limited to clones 114, 667 and Pommard. Beyond clonal selection, standout barrels are picked for this offering. The barrels that show the most opulence as well as best representing the sense of place are the ones used for this release each year. Barrel aging was accomplished over 14 months in French oak; 60% of the barrels were new. 580 cases of this vintage were produced and the suggested retail price is $60.
Violets, black cherry, plum, blackberry and flourishes of sage fill the expressive and outgoing nose of this 2007 Pinot Noir. A rich and intense core of fruit forms the berry filled palate. Chocolate Bosco sauce notes underlie the berry pie characteristics and form a self-indulgent explosion of flavor that also has hints of licorice. Intense flavors continue through the lengthy finish which showcases this Pinots solid structure, all framed by generous acidity.
As far as Pinot goes this is a pretty big wine. It’s New World in style to be sure and packs lots of flavor and punch. If you’re drinking this selection over the next 2-3 years an hour or two in the decanter is highly recommended. Time will soften the tannins a bit and allow this wine to open up. Regardless of when you drink it though this selection is built for immediate pleasure.
Both of these Pinot Noirs are good examples of more California style Pinot Noir. They retain varietal character and aren’t overblown, but they do tend towards the bigger style of Pinot. If that’s up your alley each of these would be fine additions to your cellar.