“Over the years, a number of outstanding wines have been issued from the old-vines at Chamisal vineyard, especially Pinot Noir… In fact, quality here has been on a steady rise in recent years. This set of new releases is probably the best I have yet encountered here.” -Josh Raynolds, Vinous
In 1973, Chamisal was the first winery to plant vines in what today is the well-known Edna Valley of the Central Coast. It’s always been a beautiful vineyard where world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grew, but now far less of the fruit is getting sold to other wineries, and instead it’s in the magical hands of rising star winemaker, Fintan du Fresne.
The son of a New Zealand wine journalist, Fintan du Fresne grew up submerged in the wine world, and in a pretty incredible environment for learning. His education took him to Burgundy before it landed him an apprenticeship with the all-time greatest Central Coast winemaker, Josh Jensen of Calera, before he started his own thing at Chamisal. Since taking over, he’s lit a fire in this once sleepy winery, with Chamisal seeing the big scores every year that were once reserved for their neighbors.
I had the opportunity to taste both, but I think what sets the 2020 release apart from the 94-point 2019 edition is that it’s a more intricate, nuanced version. It’s complex and concentrated, yet the flavors just absolutely dance on the palate and you get a long, focused finish with exotic cherry, raspberry, cinnamon and clover notes.
Such a good Pinot Noir for the holiday, and we haven’t touched a California Pinot Noir at this price with this level of quality since Chad’s early days sourcing Anderson Valley Pinot.