Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.



Chamisal Logo




I noticed I have had a high percentage of Pinot Noirs as my wine of the week lately.  That’s probably due to me actively tracking down Pinots that have attractive pricing to potentially add to my cellar.  A local wine store had this wine on sale for about half suggested price, which made it easy to grab a couple bottles.  It’s been a few years since I last had a Chamisal wine, so I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.



The Winery


Our Historic Vineyard

In 1973 Chamisal became the first winery to plant vines in Edna Valley, a gamble that paved the way for one of the most revered wine regions of California.  Our Central Coast vineyard is named for the native, white-flowered Chamise plant that thrives on the property.  In the early 1990’s after a period of dormancy, the vineyard was replanted and the estate was renamed Domain Alfred, but when we took ownership in 2008 we restored the original name – Chamisal Vineyard – to honor its place in Edna Valley history.  Now planted to five grape varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah and Pinot Gris, this exceptional estate vineyard is the centerpiece, source and inspiration of Chamisal’s bold and distinctive wines.


Winemaking Philosophy

At Chamisal our winemaking philosophy encompasses an approach that is all about bringing out the natural characteristics of our estate-grown fruit in the wines.  All vineyard work is done by hand.  During harvest, we take as many as four passes through each block to ensure the grapes are picked at ideal ripeness.  We ferment and age each lot separately, tailoring our winemaking, such as the kind of French oak we use, to highlight the characteristics unique to each particular vineyard block.  From our painstaking work in the field to the careful handcrafting of our wines, our style is about allowing each varietal to shine, expressing our Edna Valley vineyard’s naturally bold and complex flavors.

More information on the winery and their wines is available by clicking here.






2011 Chamisal Vineyards Pinot Noir Edna Valley – $19.99 (SRP $40)

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir made using seven clones of the grape, all from the estate vineyard in the Edna Valley.


The different clones were harvested at night over the course of 19 separate picks.  After hand sorting, each pick was fermented separately with a small percentage of grapes left whole cluster.  The grapes were subjected to a pre-fermentation cold soak of three to seven days.  A combination of native and cultured yeasts was utilized for fermentation in small open-top fermenters at low temperatures.  After 10 to 14 days of fermentation the wine was racked to French oak barrels (35% new) for seven months.  At that time, the wines were blended and aged an additional four months in barrels.


The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There were 3,020 cases of this wine produced.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose has black cherries, warm baking spices, crushed stones, earthy underbrush, dark chocolate and dried flowers.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and great acidity.  Cherries and spices jump out quickly on the palate with minerals and underbrush coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note entering the picture.  This is a very easy to drink and enjoy Pinot.  (91 pts)

2011 Chamisal Vineyards Pinot Noir Edna Valley




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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.