“Chalone isn’t a label; it’s a place on earth.” The wines speak to the limestone and decomposed granite soils that are specific to this wild, isolated mountain plateau in Monterey County. The low-nutrient soils make the vines struggle and give the wines unique minerality; the diurnal temperature swings and cool winds retain acidity; the intense sunshine builds flavors and tannin structure; and the age of our vines enhances the wines’ concentration, complexity and ageability.
The thin, limestone-rich soils of Chalone Vineyard produce low yields of grapes bursting with rich, intense flavors and impeccable balance. Year after year, our Estate Pinot Noir exemplifies the impeccable structure and flavor complexity imparted by old vines budded to heritage clones; and, the 2016 vintage is no different. This Pinot Noir hails from the Vista and Reservoir blocks of our estate vineyards. 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.
After several years of drought, the 2016 vintage started out with an average amount of rainfall (about 13 inches) in winter. Weather remained cooperative throughout budbreak and bloom resulting in a good set and even ripening. Ample sunshine during the summer months delivered ideal grapes full of flavor. We harvested the fruit for this wine from August 31 – September 6, 2016.
Our 2016 Estate Pinot Noir is bright ruby red in color and known for its layered flavors and complexity. It opens with juicy ripe raspberry and plum notes balanced out by hints of forest floor and warm toasty baking spice on the finish. A unique minerality neatly ties up all of these elements as a result of mature vineyards and ancient limestone soils that run through the Chalone AVA. Pair this wine with herb encrusted lamb or creamy mushroom risotto.