A Guide to Wine, Food & the Good Life


John Tilson • 9/29/21        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share


Recently Gavin Chanin brought some of his old wines for me to taste with a few other friends. As expected the wines were superb. Without question Gavin is making some of the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in California after learning the trade from the late pioneer Santa Barbara wine maker Jim Clendenen (to read an article about Jim click here and to read an article about Au Bon Climat, Qupé, and Chanin which was written just as Gavin was getting started click here and to read a recent article about Chanin Wine Company with a history and background as well as tasting notes on recent wines click here).

The wines we tasted included the first Chardonnay from 2008 and Pinot Noirs from 2007, 2009, and 2010.
My notes follow:

2008 Chanin Wine Company Chardonnay Bien Nacido
Bright yellow in color this Chardonnay has a stunning exotic floral perfume with great intensity and depth on the palate. Very elegant and lush with gorgeous fruit showing exotic tinges and beautifully balanced with a nice underlying crispness and a long finish this is everything you could ever want in an older California Chardonnay – Extraordinary.

2007 Chanin Wine Company Pinot Noir Bien Nacido
With a deep red color showing a tinge of amber at the edge this Pinot Noir shows a lovely perfume of plums with floral undertones. Lush, rounded, very supple and showing layers of plum like fruit with floral spice nuances this is a delicious Pinot Noir at its peak of perfection with the promise of a long life ahead – Outstanding Plus.

2009 Chanin Wine Company Pinot Noir Bien Nacido
This is a gorgeous Pinot Noir. It has a deep red color and a lovely cherry/berry perfume with exotic floral spice undertones. Lush, rounded, and supple with great elegance yet full of fruit and flavor this is showing beautifully now but should continue to evolve for many years into the future – Outstanding Plus.

2010 Chanin Wine Company Pinot Noir Bien Nacido
Without question this is one of the greatest California Pinot Noirs I have ever tasted. Tasting the wine from barrel I was very impressed and was able to get Gavin to bottle a case of magnums for me. I still have all of them and will begin to start drinking them soon. The wine is now showing all the potential that I encountered tasting it very early on. With a deep red color showing a tinge of amber at the edge the perfume soars from the glass with cherry and berry fruit and exotic floral spice nuances. On the palate it has great intensity and balance with layers of cherry/berry fruit accented by the floral exotic spice undertones and a long lasting finish. The wine is for sure a classic California Pinot Noir that will continue to evolve and provide great pleasure for many years into the future – Extraordinary.


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  • Anonymous says:
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    Those Chanins sound great. I’ve been drinking some older Williams & Selyem pinot noirs (when Ed was still in charge), and think most are really wonderful. Do you like the W&S’s or find them a bit hot? And do you think you’ll ever get back to reviewing the original Underground Wine Letters (South Pasadena days) to assess what you got right and what you got wrong? I thought those assessments were very interesting. Anyway, thanks for all the great reviews and information over the years. You’re a treasure! Bill
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